Colgate Couture: The Fashion-Forward Look Backward

Colgate Couture: The Fashion-Forward Look Backward

Fashion is dynamic and always changing. Yet this does not necessarily imply a strictly forward motion. It simply suggests that the industry functions by shaking things up just enough to make people a little shocked and uncomfortable, thereby keeping them interested. This effect is achieved not only by the creation of completely novel ideas, but also, and more often, by reach­ing into the past and resurrect­ing trends that people assumed were long gone.

I sometimes like to think of trend patterns as similar to the path of a pendulum. In fashion, a concept will prog­ress and develop to its fullest, at which point people have become so conditioned to it that it is no longer quite as intriguing. Then, the fashion world’s attentions slowly begin to swing back in the opposite direction, towards the other end of the spectrum, and ev­eryone else (at first warily, but then enthusiastically) follows suit. This season, the hottest looks are a great example of this phenomenon, with a lot of older trends resurfacing.

This spring’s penchant for the wide-leg trouser is one case in point. For years now the skinny pant has reigned supreme, but, of course, there was a time before this style was even on the map. Thinking back on our youth, you will remember that our pants were not of a ta­pered cut at all, but rather flared. This look soon grew old (as all trends do) and people wanted something totally different. The slim silhouette was the answer, and thus the skinny jean boom was born. When people became accustomed to the new fit and wanted to take it to the next level, they turned to the legging (a similar transition took place between the 70s to the 80s). The skinny style has had real staying power until now, as people are starting to crave something different; cue the wide-leg pant. So, taste has swung from one extreme to the other and now it is going back again.

This spring, the skinny look was conspicuously absent from the runways and in its place stood billowy, flared slacks. Dries Van No­ten, Monique Lhuillier, Celine, Derek Lam, Marc Jacobs and Tory Burch all showed this type of trouser. Major retailers like Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales are suddenly offering a large selection of “flare” and even “bell-bottom” styles. These pants come in all types of material, from cotton to crepe and denim to lamé. Some are high-waisted and some sit on the hip. They can be pleated or flow loosely. But no matter the particulars, it is clear that there is a “new” look in town.

Another exciting blast from the past is the revival of the long maxi skirt trend. Admittedly, this hails from the more recent past, a major trend just about five years ago. I remember being a sophomore in high school and loving this look. Alas, it was soon overshadowed by a newer, more evolved interpretation. With the advent of the maxi dress, the maxi skirt was largely thrown to the wayside, a piece that was seldom found on the racks. Now, how­ever, it is back with a vengeance. And a calf-length edition is even being added to the mix. Elegant silk or gauze are the new materials of choice for this piece. Check out examples from Rag & Bone or the Row to get a good idea. Pair it with a simple solid tee.

Finally, one more trend that is a fun rerun this season is the bold and bright look. Vibrant colors for the spring is not a novel concept. It has been done for years and years to celebrate the season’s sentiments, but I think this spring we can have a particu­larly special appreciation for it. Of late, the talk has been about sand tones, beiges and tans. Thus, color’s return is twofold, not only reissued from spring of last year, but also rebounding after the neutral fad.

So, perhaps the moral of the story is to not be too hasty to clean out your closet. You never know when it will come back to bite you.