When procrastinating, I often fall down a YouTube rabbit hole of watching trends by decades videos. Produced by sources like Glamour, Vanity Fair, and Allure, retrospectives on fashion, make-up, and style trends have become a booming section of online content that shows the transition and growth of women over the last century.
Videos like, 100 Years of Hemlines, created by Glamour, highlight how fashion has evolved to give woman more freedom to express themselves through personal style and wardrobe choices. In my option the transition of hemlines, the inclusion of pants into mainstream wardrobes, and the variety patterns and colors are interesting reflections on major moments in women’s history. These changes illuminate how new opportunities for women opened and have had opened doors for the modern woman. From the era of Rosie the Riveter, with her pants and bandanna, to the convenience and artistic expression of the 70s jumpsuit, fashion tells the story of women.
But, it also highlights the pressure that women are under to remain youthful, beautiful, and topical to be worthy of attention, which I must point out, is the attention of male society, not our fellow women. Red carpets, in who wore it best magazine articles, and social media posts demonstrate the competitive culture that the fashion industry thrives upon.
We are expected to be on trend and be symbols of beauty, rather than people who happen to be dressed. We translate the emphasize on trends we see in the media and marketing into our daily lives as the belief that we will not be worthy of attention without the clothes and styles that we are told are worthy of notice. Of course, these are constantly changing with the seasons and influence of brands creating a constant turnover in our wardrobes, stress in our wallets, and more waste clothing in our landfills.
I consider my style classic, which helps me feel comfortable investing in ecofriendly brands, which often come with higher prices tags than conventional clothing lines. I my wardrobe, I stick to solid colors, traditional cuts, and simple hair and makeup. I also dress for my level of comfort with my body: shorts that have a defined inseam, shirts that don’t show my middle, and necklines that scoop rather than plunge. But I feel the pressure every day to buck these ideas in order to be pretty, as if I cannot be with my current style.
It’s something I struggle with; do I dress in what feels like me, or do would I rather be beautiful? I believe that for environmentally-friendly fashion trends, both in clothing manufacturing and in secondhand shopping, to truly catch on, fashion must become more about our personal choices and level of comfort in our cloths than about the trends that we are told to follow and the pressure we feel to be beautiful.
For more information check out the hashtag #SecondHandSeptember and #NoToFastFashion on your favorite social platform.