Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Trendy City




My husband said this to my daughter and I the other day, “Seventy-five years ago women didn’t worry as much about what they look like as much as they do now….women are much more focused on clothes now than they were before”.  I mulled that over for a few seconds and then I said, “Women have always cared a lot about how they look.  Women all through the years have wanted to look their best.  The difference is that now there’s more a focus on being “in style” and trendy than ever before”.

Seventy five years ago was around 1935.  Women in that era wanted to look just as good as women of our day.  The difference is that there was limited media influence.  They tended to emulate what they saw on the great Silver Screen and, of course, there were magazines that women flocked to to read articles on what the star of the moment was wearing. Celebrity influence, at the time, was certainly a reality.  The story goes that when Clark Gable took off his shirt in It Happened One Night and revealed a naked chest, sales of undershirts plummeted the next day!  When Gloria Swanson sported her short do sheened to her head, women everywhere began shearing their lovely locks and slicking the remains to their scalps.  Without a doubt, celebrities sparked the trends. 

Certainly celebrities spark trends today as well.  But now, there’s a much broader definition of celebrity and those deemed famous are given a much louder voice than 75 years ago.  Our fashion influence today is not only from film stars, but from television, music industry, models, a plethora of fashion magazines, blogs (burgeoning influence here….we now have blog celebrities), websites, entire channels devoted to style and fashion, reality television and I'm probably missing a few.  Everywhere we turn the media-proclaimed fashionable tell us what to wear so that we can be fashionable too.  We’re literally bombarded with ever changing styles and trends.  And why wouldn’t they be ever changing?  If styles stayed the same from one season to the next, why would we purchase new clothes?  We purchase to keep up with “the latest” and get our sense of how attractive we look from how well and how often we wear the latest styles. 

I took my daughter shopping at the mall the day after Christmas.  That’s when it really hit me.  There are racks and racks of cheap clothing.  Seems the rule of thumb everywhere is “Trendy rules, trendy sells and trendy is disposable”.  Quality’s not the name of the game.  Who’s got time for that?  Current trumps quality every time.  Who cares how long the clothes last?  If I can buy what Gwen Stefani was wearing in her last video, it’s the look that I’m purchasing, NOT the quality of the garment that we’re paying for.  What sells today is what was seen in Glamour or on MTV last week.  The message is, “Get it quick, because it’s going to change next week and it’s sooooo cheap (er...affordable..but actually cheap) to be in style today!”

Women of 1940 wanted just as much to look good as women of 2010.  There’s nothing new about a woman’s vanity.  They just weren’t as visually and socially bombarded as we are.  They HAD to value quality as they didn’t replace their clothes every couple of months.   In our rotating celebrity culture, it’s big business for an instant celebrity to set an instant trend for instant profit.  Clothes are disposable, but so is the self esteem gained by keeping up with a passing trend.  What are we producing today that will be tomorrow’s classics?  Is there even such a thing as classic anymore?  What’s being produced today for the average working person to buy that will stand the test of time, and that we’ll be thrifting as vintage ten years from now?  Will the cheaply but rapidly manufactured fashions of today even last over the next few decades?  I welcome your input!

Regarding today's ensemble....I LOVE THIS! This outfit really captures ME! I know. I know. Serene, really? Are you serious? Again with the black? Morticia called and said you're wearing too much black!!!!

I don't care! I love it!!! I can't give it up and I won't...what can I tell you? It SPEAKS to my inner mournful soul! or maybe it just makes me look thinner....hmmmmmm.....

JACKET: Vintage Doncaster Tanner, inherited from my mother (MAN! That woman had great taste!!)

SKIRT: White House Black Market , had for a few years

BOOTS: Thrifted


  1. Fabulous outfit. Bold and pretty.

    And you're right -- of course women cared about how they looked back then. The advent of cheap clothing came when we started to send manufacturing overseas (mostly to China). Even though women in the early part of the last century had to get more use out of their clothes, they still tried to look their best -- and usually did.

  2. The cape is so cool and it looks really warm!!

  3. Serene, your mother did have great taste! I cannot tell you how much I love this jacket!! I would love to see it with a great pair of jeans or a pencil is amazing.
    I think women have more fun with fashion than they did 75 years ago..not only do they want to look great, but there are many you see on the blogs who are just having fun with it and view it as a creative art.
    What saddens me is that many women my age seem to NOT care and have shut down...I hope to inspire some to re-enter the game!! I also hope to find a way to draw those types of women to the blogosphere so they can see how much fun and confidence-building fashion can be.
    You look so great in this outfit!

  4. Great post! The fact you inherited this jacket from your Mum and it still looks stylish today is a testament to its quality. I doubt the cheaply made, fast fashion knock offs of celebrity outfits will last long enough to become vintage for the next generation.

  5. I completely agree with you: womwn always wanted, and want to look good.Perphaps the difference is that nowadays we want to be inspired more tha copy cats.
    You look fantastic in black an white. Love your skirt, of course, and your belt wowwwwwwwww.

  6. this outfit is FIERCE!!! it reminds me a little bit of cruella devil, in the very best of ways, that is! =)

  7. I really like how you paired this jacket with the long skirt. It looks a bit edgy and bohemian all at the same time.
    No Guilt Fashion

  8. Dude - women have been suffering for fashion for the longest time. Hello, corsets, heels, hobble skirts, et cetera...

    I do think your right about how fast we move through fashion trends - things have definitely become more disposable than in the past.

  9. I am in love with that belt.
    I agree about women always wanting to look their best. Heck even back in the 1800's they were obsessed with fashion.

  10. Ooooh, I love this skirt! I'm thinking, but drawing a blank about what could possibly become "vintage" in our 'fast fashion' world.

  11. Serene ~ this jacket is fabulous! I love it with the belt. I'm seriously coveting that belt. I love that this was your mother's. It's always fun to be able to incoporate items into your wardrobe (or your home for that matter) that belonged to family. You look super chic! ~ Susan

  12. Goodness! You're mom's jacket is heavenly! I adore it belted with that full skirt. And, I can speak for my grandmother -- who definitely had a thing for fashion - in 1930 and in 1990!

  13. Shy...Thanks so much! That's my point, women of 75 years ago purchased quality. Clothes were not as disposable as they are now.

    Pam, I think alot of times, after so many years of being wife and mother, women lose sight of themselves. It's sad to see that light fade, but it's never too late to get it back!

    Veshovius & Terri, EXACTLY, what will we be wanting from this generation of clothing in the next decade or two?

    Silver & Fancie Pants, if I ever get rid of this belt; I'll let you two draw straws for it! :) I love it too!

    No Guilt, thanks for the follow!

    Vanessa, I have no doubt that you have some fashionable genes in your physiology!

    Sacramento, I agree! We want to be creative, not copies of someone else.

    Law Mama, I had forgotten about those painful contraptions!

    Henar and Hope, thanks for the comments! Heading over now to check out your blogs!

    Tons of love to all of you! ~Serene

  14. Women have always cared about how they look. I think a lot of my most precious items are vintage or look vintage. I think that we as consumers do not have to take in this trend mentality. I never have. A salesperson came up to me in the mall a while back and complimented me on my necklace which happen to be turquoise and said that's in now. I laughed because I had bought that necklace two years prior.
    I have always had to make my pieces work and remix them.

    Your mom has great taste the jacket is beautiful.

  15. I love your sweater and you resemble Kate Middleton! I am with you on the loathing of fast fashion. Almost everything I buy lasts five years or more before I pass it along (and it is of a quality that it is still in great shape by then). My wardrobe is 10 per cent trendy and 90% timeless. That's the best way to be eco-friendly in my opinion: investment dressing.

  16. You look fabulous...because you can tell you FEEL fabulous.

    Black and white is ALWAYS chic.


  17. Great belt... I'm loving it!!!
    Just came across your blog and loved it.
    Do drop by mine sometime!!!
    Fashion Panache

  18. An excellent analysis of the topic - it's such a shame that so much of our clothing is so quickly discarded. Once you start on that route, it is also very difficult to disembark - we are mollified with talk of 'investment pieces' and 'staple wardrobes' while being manipulated by the turnover of fashion.


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! ~Serene