Gender & Identity, Life

Everything comes back in style, even those awful trends you always hated

2017 definitely feels way too much like 2000.

I loved spending time in my mother’s closet growing up. Trying on her shoes and going through some of the clothes that she held on to from college was one of my favorite things to do. Sometimes I would tease her for the styles she used to wear: embroidered and flowy items from the seventies, bold color schemes from the eighties, and what I thought of as silly high-waisted skirts.

How could people possibly have worn these things, and why did my mother hold on to things emblematic of old trends?

She would tell me that, while my young mind was immersed in the styles of 90s and early 2000s at the time, trends inevitably come back around. My mom had witnessed her mother’s investment in classic items pay off in that she never seemed to go out of style. And, by finding the balance of not giving in too fully to trends and holding on to quality clothes, my mother ensured that her own wardrobe would remain stylish and that those items that were pushed to the back of the rack would eventually find another heyday.

Now that I’m in my twenties, I have seen my mother’s predictions come true. Sure enough, those silky blouses came back, as did the floppy hats and even crop tops. 

woman in crop top as example of trends being cyclical

Certain things I thought would never come back from my childhood — nineties chokers, off the shoulder shirts, crop tops, and more — are all the rage this year. Styles from the seventies and eighties have found new markets, too. I, personally, am delighted by the return of overalls. And while I am not surprised because of my mother’s lesson of holding on to what might seem obsolete, there are some things I wish would stay in the annals of history and not come back to the public. 

I used to think that only the good stuff from a generation would come back to the forefront years later, with the embarrassing aspects left to the past. But now I know that not to be true. With the resurfacing of tiny backpacks and chunky heels, I would not be surprised if those odd stretchy shirts from the 90s also came back into style.

In my opinion, certain trends should never have happened in the first place. Who thought it was a good idea to put neon and neon together? Perhaps it was a designers attempt to make humanity visible at nighttime. Either way, it didn’t work. Not for me.

Back in the day, we used to cover ourselves in glitter before going out, and while I thought that was a thing relegated to the past, from the looks of music festivals, there’s a resurgence even in the glitter department.

I’ve even seen some college-aged boys wearing bucket hats! They think they’re trendy now and certain “bro” brands are carrying them and charging through the nose. There are some things that should really stay dead in the fashion world.

woman wearing choker and vest as example of cyclical nature of fashion

While I am currently lamenting the return of those odd black stretch chokers and platform soled shoes, I am truly grateful for the cyclical nature of style and (certain) trends. If it weren’t for the rediscovery of things past, my personal identity and style would be radically different. And it’s not just in fashion – music, food, and other fields also fall into cyclical patterns.

Thanks to the rereleasing or remastering of old classics, I discovered a genuine interest in soul music and Americana. Thankfully, most of the music from the nineties that I listened to hasn’t come back. Those old boy band CDs were given away long ago, thank goodness. But it has surprised me that it is in the past five to ten years that 90s hip hop has become popular again, and grunge and alt-rock have also found interested new young audiences today.

Some celebrities today look more like they get their clothing from thrift stores than they do from trendy new designers. While I am grateful for the cycles of taste for the development of my own identity and style, I really wish people would do more than blindly follow popular trends and discern what were the quality and tasteful aspects of a decade.

Alas, I am beginning to sound crotchety. I am resigned to just wait this one out and hopefully these chokers will just be a flash in the pan. Let’s just hope hair teasing and blue eye shadow don’t come in style next year.