A look back at musical fashion over the last 50 years.
Fashion and music have become conjoined twins. If you try to surgically remove one from the other, the inspiration from each will bleed out slowly leaving us with a sad and far less colorful version of both.
This is especially true today since many musical artists having their own fashion lines. These lines reflect the lifestyles of their listeners, or at least are a reflection of the lifestyle that their listeners aspire to (Note: with the release of Kanye’s new line, the above statement may not always be true).
Let’s take a short stroll through the last half century and note how music has greatly influenced the audience’s fashion expression.
These artists spoke of individuality and not bending to the conformists.
The 60’s: This was the time when love and peace took center stage with artists like The Beatles, The Doors, Bob Dylan, and Jimi Hendrix. These artists spoke of individuality and not bending to the conformists. The slogan for this era was, “Make Peace, Not War,” and with this powerful message came flower headbands, tie-dye, short shorts, and bell bottoms. The 60’s would have definitely been way less “far out” if the style of dress hadn’t have been so carefree and individualized.
The poster child for this beautiful creation would be David Bowie.
The 70’s: Rock & Roll and Disco were on the main stage during this decade and made a gorgeous little baby named Glam Rock. The poster child for this beautiful creation would be David Bowie. With artists such as Donna Summer, Stevie Wonder, The Ramones, and The Bee Gees leading the way we saw a lot of tight pants (today’s skinny jeans), chest exposure, sequins and color, color, and more color! Making a loud statement with your fashion and standing confident was the result of the artists of this era.
The 80’s was inspired by hip hop and pop…
The 80’s: Bright colors, multiple ear piercings, baggy pants, Adidas, and Cosby sweaters. The 80’s was inspired by hip hop and pop artists like LL Cool J, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and Run DMC. With the 80’s being the premiere decade for MTV, we were able to see a better relation between music and fashion through music videos.
Whatever you wanted, the 90’s had it for you.
The 90’s: New Jack and Jill Swing, Grunge, Hip Hop, R&B, Punk Rock, and pop! Whatever you wanted, the 90’s had it for you. With groups and artists like MC Hammer, Boys II Men, TLC, Nirvana, The Spice Girls, and No Doubt, listeners had a plethora of ways to express themselves. Miniskirts, baggy pants, sweats, tracksuits, Air Jordans, glam, sequins, Hammer pants, and of course, flannel shirts. The 90’s was a hodgepodge of influence, and people couldn’t get enough.
New artists have of course added a new flare to make these styles feel new and relevant again.
The Present: Have you ever heard the term, “history repeats itself”? The same is certainly true for fashion. We have seen thus far the return of neon colors and the domination of Jordans. Skinny jeans returned for a while and now the new “Hammer Pants” have been coined Harem Pants. New artists have of course added a new flare to make these styles feel new and relevant again. But we can thank the musical pioneers that came before us for the fashion foundation that we will continue to build on for the rest of our lives.
What was your favorite or most regrettable fashion style from any of the decades above? I would love to hear from you in the comments!