Fashion through the decades

Throughout the past century, there have been many iconic and inspiring fashion statements. With each passing decade, the trends of the previous ten years metamorphosed into an entire new bevy of inspiring and innovative clothing styles expressing the ideals and spirit of the current generation. Because of the craze towards particular trends or fads, each decade has indeed seen chaotic instances propelled by fashion "madness."
The fashion of the 1950s was heavily influenced by the simplistic elegance of Grace Kelly and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The classic 1950's look of wearing a thin scarf tied at the neck with a tight long-sleeved shirt tucked into a poodle skirt was utterly destroyed by the fox head collar fad. Many women began wearing dead, stuffed foxes and minxes around their necks where the simple scarf had once been.
Adrienne Dalton, senior, poses
in attire befitting of the 1950s,
winged eyeglasses and minx
scarf included. Photo by Larisa Karr.
    The 1960s were a decade in direct opposition to the conservativism of the 1950s. While a craze for all things psychedelic didn't initially begin until the mid-1960s, the influence of the decade previous was still prevalent. One example of such influence would be culottes. Culottes were a pair of knee-britches (like shorts) that included a pleated skirt.
    However gaudy culottes may have become, few horrifying fashion calamities can ever compare to the atrocity that was the polyester leisure suit. Available in pink, green, red and bright yellow, the suit became an iconic staple of the 1970s after John Travolta's leisure-suit-bedecked performance in Saturday Night Fever. A staple of cheesiness, the leisure suit fell out of popularity in the 1980s but still retains its position as being eternally associated with the decade of disco.
    While big hair, Molly Ringwald, neon colors, hair metal and rubix cubes all conjure up images of only the '80s, this particular decade appeared to be the melting pot for several items of unfortunate popularity. From leg warmers to denim overkill, the 1980s have themselves been called the ultimate fashion disaster. Originally used to accessorize an outfit, shoulder pads soon grew from an issue of practicality to a huge fad. Worn by everyone from Joan Collins to Melanie Griffith, shoulder pads exploded in demand until their inevitable death in the 1990s.
    The 1990s were a decade of drastic change and preparation for the upcoming millennia. From the Kurt Cobain-inspired grunge of the first half of the decade to the insatiable need for spunky teen pop in the latter half, the fashion and culture was unpredictable and oftentimes contradictory in every sense. While not as atrocious as the perhaps the polyester suits of the '70s, the Hawaiian suits and ties previously known as a convenient tourist-spotting vehicle themselves became a major fad in 1999. The cornea-searing palm tree print combined with the additionally horrific trend of pink capri pants has thankfully appeared to have lost much of its popularity.
Dalton is captured revisiting 60s
fashion in a paisley blouse
and corderoy culottes. Photo by
Larisa Karr. 
Upon entering the new millennium, our current generation has seen a plethora of subcultures, most notably Scene, Indie and New Rave. Undefined and indescribable as it may seem, there were a few fads, such as grills (gold, platinum and silver decorations solely for the mouth) and colored Timberland boots with matching hoodies, that have left and still continue to leave many recoiled in horror.
    With the beginning of a new decade upon us, time will only tell what unusual and bizarre fashion revolutions will lay ahead. An always-evolving trend, the desire to perfect fashion in and of itself can drive a person mad. Indeed, while analyzing and critiquing fashion mishaps may seem entertaining, it does not propose any solution. Karen Palmer of Brevard, NC works at The Shop of St. Phillips and fronts her own vaudeville troop in her spare time. Herself a fashion aficionado, Palmer said, "Every generation takes fashion too far. To me, opinion does not count. It is not about opinions but about the experiences one can have in certain outfits. Certainly, it appears that developing an individual sense of style while incorporating unusual, unexpected accessories in a wardrobe is truly the ideal way to achieve a happily clothed medium.

The original version of this article was published in The Broadcaster.