From platform shoes to scrunchie hair ties and everything in between, old fashion trends are making their way back on the racks and back into our hearts decades after they were popular.
There’s an old saying that “fashion runs in cycles.” Connie Marsh, a fashion forecasting professor, said every seven to 10 years fashion trends cycle in and out of popularity. So, it’s no surprise when trends from the ‘70s, like platform shoes and bell-bottom pants, and trends from the ‘90s, like tracksuits and overalls, show up on your Instagram feed in 2019.
Some students say they remember seeing older trends and thinking they were strange until they started to show up on their social media pages and in their favorite stores. Vanessa Gresley, a senior public relations major and fashion media minor, remembers a time when she reflected on her mother’s sense of fashion only to find out it’s now considered stylish.
“When I was younger, I would look at pictures of my mom and wonder why she would wear jeans that went so high on her waist,” Gresley said. “Now they are considered trendy and hang in my closet. They say history repeats itself for a reason.”
Though some of these retro items are back in style, they aren’t necessarily used the same way they used to be. Younger people often search the racks of secondhand stores looking for vintage additions to their more modern wardrobes while high-end designers borrow ideas from the past and put a new spin on things.
“They have to keep recycling,” Gresley said. “Designers and brands have to constantly be thinking of new takes on old ideas. Like boot cut jeans with frayed hems were super trendy during the ‘90s grunge era and now skinny jeans with frayed hems are considered trendy. It’s a modern twist on something old.”
There is a way to predict when these older trends will be back on the runways and in stores known as fashion forecasting. But it takes more than just liking fashion to be able to forecast these trends Marsh said. You have to be truly engaged, observing what’s going on in the world, people’s interests, pop culture, even politics and the economy.
“Often times when trends come back, they are trends that are featured at a museum or in a movie that just came out,” Marsh said. “Sometimes, it stems from peoples’ nostalgia. For example, students today didn’t get to participate in ‘70s, ‘80s or ‘90s style. When trends come back, they can.”
Even though she only experienced life in the 90’s for a few months being born in 1999, freshman fashion merchandising major Natalie Strimpfel said she loves the oversized look of ‘90s fashion.
“My favorite vintage outfit would include high-waist jeans with a looser fit and a big, oversized sweater you might see my grandpa wear,” Strimpfel said.
Just because something went out of style a while ago, doesn’t mean it won’t ever be cool again. Whether it’s an old choker necklace or conductor-style hat, Marsh suggests holding on to pieces of fashion that spark you joy no matter how old they become. You’ll need them someday.
Sophia Iannelli is a fashion reporter. You can contact her at [email protected]