If you wore a trend the first time around — say, high-waisted jeans, leg warmers, or any of the styles described below — you might think it age-inappropriate or otherwise untoward to re-introduce the trend to your repertoire decades later. We disagree. In fact, with experience, you can rock the trend even better on round two. Perhaps you were too timid in your youth to try mixing bright colors or feather earrings? Now is your chance, with the experience and confidence that comes with being a little older, to channel your inner honey badger. Here are some of our favorite flashback styles strutting down runways and sidewalks in recent seasons.
Previous life: In the 80s, we just called them shoulder pads. They came pre-installed on big, boxy blazers. Gowns and dresses were also festooned with giant, puffy shoulder adornments. Think Linda Evans or Joan Collins on Dynasty, or David Byrne in his Stop Making Sense oversized suit.
Reincarnation: Christophe Decarnin of Balmain and his stylist (now editor-in-chief of Paris Vogue) Emmanuelle Alt made bold shoulders all the rage again when he sent them down the runway in 2008. The modern version is fitted and rock and roll-ish versions are more flattering than the 80s styles, and the trend, which has made it all the way to Forever 21 and H&M, shows no signs of stopping.
Thoughts: Bold shoulders make our waists looks small. We approve.
Read more about the current bold shoulder trend at New York Magazine.
Photo via New York Magazine.
Past life: They’ve had so many, haven’t they? In the 40s, Lauren Bacall, Marlene Dietrich, and Katherine Hepburn wore trousers with this silhouette. The hippies of the 60s and 70s favored both high-waisted and “hip hugger” versions. In high school I remember reading with horror, as I sat it class wearing stirrup pants, that bell bottoms were coming back in style. Little did I know I would soon embrace the silhouette.
Reincarnation: They’ve made several appearances in recent decades, but they seem to be back with force for spring 2011, with high-waist, wide-leg pants and jeans figuring prominently on designer runways including Derek Lam and Catherine Malandrino.
Thoughts: To us, they were never out (once we got past the stirrup pants).
Past life: Flowered clothing brings to mind flower children of the late 60s and early 70s, as well as some really weird flowered pajama-ish pants and jumpsuits from the early 90s (I think I purchased mine at Express). They figured prominently on Friends, most commonly on Phoebe Buffay.
Reincarnation: Shockingly, those really weird flowered pajama-ish pants and jumpsuits are once again seeing the light of day. Refinery 29 recently posted an article about how to wear them without looking like you’re actually wearing your PJ’s. Topshop’s got them, here’s a pair by Emma Cook from Net-a-Porter, and in the photo above is an amazingly Phoebe-esque jumpsuit from Forever 21.
Thoughts: There’s a fine line between chic and Mrs. Roper. Walk it bravely.
Previous life: The 80s were the heyday of tops that were somehow oversized and cropped simultaneously. Madonna championed the look with midriff-baring graffiti t-shirts, and I and all my high school friends did our best to emulate her. There was a spate of midriff-baring looks in the 90s as well, which were distressingly paired with low-rise jeans.
Rincarnation: Cropped tops have been creeping back into our lives for the past few years and like their logical partners, high-waisted jeans, are now entering the mainstream consciousness.
Thoughts: We’re making sure our belly buttons aren’t showing.
5. Bright Color Blocking
Past life: The 60s loved color blocking. Twiggy’s A-line minidresses, patent leather applique flowers and sunny eyeshadow shades come to mind. The 80s embraced color with the advent of neon, the rise of Cyndi Lauper and Wham and Bill Cosby’s sweaters.
Reincarnation: Bright blocks of color were simply everywhere on the runways for both spring and fall 2011.
Thoughts: We’ve never met a bright color combination we didn’t like.
Check out Shopbop’s “Bright Separates” lookbook.
Previous life: This special shade of blue deserves its own section if only because Yves Klein went to such great lengths to create it. My Hang Ten catalog in 1984 called it cobalt blue, and I was obsessed. I had square plastic earrings, a coat incredibly similar to the Karen Walker above, and pleather flats all in the shade.
Reincarnation: Lucky magazine devoted a page to it in their April issue, Refinery 29 named it a top trend from the Fall 2011 runways, and Anna Della Russo wore a blue Costume National suit to the fashion house’s fall 2011 runway show in Paris (and she called it cobalt blue!).
Thoughts: We’re on board with everything from nail polish to make up to clothing in this divine hue.
Image via Style.com.
Previous life: In the 80s we called them roach clips. Actually, they *were* roach clips repurposed as hair ornaments and sold at the local fair, but we were too young and naive to understand their original purpose back then.
Reincarnation: Everyone from Vanessa Hudgens to your friendly neighborhood hipster has been spotted wearing feather earrings, headbands, or other feather accessories. They can range in size from a couple inches to nearly a foot long in some cases.
Thoughts: Feather earrings can be boho and fun, but they can verge dangerously close to cat toy in your hair or Kesha territory, especially if you pair them with war-like face paint. Tread cautiously.