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View Poll Results: Were the 80s & 90s really that bad?
Yes, I shudder when I think of shoulder pads. 2 18.18%
No, it was classy and timeless in a way that will never be repeated. 9 81.82%
Voters: 11. You may not vote on this poll

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09-06-2014
  1
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The 90s were the worst decade for fashion. Do not revive.
So, Alexa Chung claims in an interview that 80's fashion basically sucked. Yeah, well, like her opinion should carry any weight.

I loved the 80s and 90s stuff.

Article is from the Guardian Newspaper.

Quote:
I read the other day that the 90s are having a fashion comeback? What does this even mean?
Adelaide, by email


Indeed, Adelaide, what does it mean? The apocalypse, surely. Because the 1990s were, like, just five years ago, right? I'll tell you something I head the other day that actually blew my mind: students who are taking their finals at university right now were born in 1993. How can people who were born two years after the release of Smells Like Teen Spirit be graduating from university now? Seriously, I think we have fallen into some kind of space-time continuum.

What it means for fashion is that we have definitely entered the apocalypse because the 90s was the worst decade ever for fashion. Yeah. I said it.


I recently read an interview with Alexa Chung in which the young miss decreed the 80s the worst decade for fashion, but this is what happens when you ask youngsters for advice. Contrary to popular perception, youth is not the be-all and end-all. In fact, I would call it the meh-all. When asking for advice, what you want is someone with experience and, let me tell you, I have experience of both the 80s and 90s, and I can tell you with certainty that the 90s had the far worse fashion, even the worst fashion of any decade, ever. And yes, I am including the 1970s in this statement.


You see, the divide isn't between good and bad fashion – it's between fashion and no fashion, and whereas, the 80s definitely had fashion, the 90s had none.
Seriously, think of the 90s. Remember them. Remember them well. I see fashion magazines now trying to pretend that we should all look back fondly on that decade and what is the fashion trend that they all cite as the one (and only, apparently) that we should all try to emulate again? Slip dresses. Slips. As evening wear. I'm not saying it was a terrible look – although, let's be honest, it was kind of stupid and a bit Miss Havisham-esque – but when that's the best the fashion world (an industry that is predicated on making people regularly buy weird clothes) can offer, then you know you're in a bad decade for fashion.
How were the 90s terrible for fashion? Oh, let me count the ways, perhaps in a series of haikus:

Look! My Hypercolour T-shirt changes colour where I sweat
Like my mood ring
The point? I know not.

My hair, ironed so flat
And then blown out, like Rachel's
Better than copying Ross, I guess.

Dungarees! So full of sass
But the one strap must be undone.
That's what makes them cool. According to Will Smith.

Sportswear is sexy!
That's what we claim, putting on our tracksuit bottoms
And cropped tops. Just like Britney. And Mel C.

Denim – oh! So much denim.
Jeans now cost £200. Who would have thought?
Pull your thong up over the waistband. Awesome

Slip dress, slip dress, it's just a little slip of a dress
Worn with giant Dr Martens.
Because I'm such a badass. Anyone got a cardigan?
That's enough culture for one day, but I feel my point is made. The 80s had bad clothes – no question – but the clothes were at least deliberate statements, from batwings to shoulder pads, and they often related to sociological and cultural issues, whether it was feminism or music. In the 90s, there were fashion trends that had connections to what was happening in the music world (well, grunge anyway. B*witched is no excuse for the 90s obsession with denim so don't even try that). But mainly what we all wore in the 90s was inexcusable crap – not fashion, not statements, just crap. Skirts over trousers? Floral dresses over jeans? Pierced tongues? No excuses for any of it, I tell you, not one.

You want to know how bad the 90s were for fashion? Even I don't sentimentalise them, and I sentimentalise everything, from crap 80s Chevy Chase comedies I saw as a kid to crap 1990s film soundtracks I liked as a teenager (Lisa Loeb, Sixpence None the Richer, the Cardigans – you are not forgotten).


The 90s is when I was a teenager. I had my batmitzvah, moved out of home, went to university, had my first boyfriend, and started working all in the 90s. By rights, the 90s should be the decade I cling on to with a talon-like fierceness out of a misguided fondness for my youth. And to a certain degree, I do. Put it this way: if you come to one of my parties, you will at some point be dancing to Boom! Shake the Room.


But even my soppy eyes are clear enough to see that 90s style was a decade-long mistake that desperately does not need reviving. Unlike 80s fashion, there was no sense of fun in it, just a jaded, "I'm too cool to try, and that's why I'm wearing my shapeless slip dress over my bad jeans". Seventies fashion was ugly, 80s fashion was ridiculous, but 90s fashion was just a long sigh of mehness, and I will always take ugliness and silliness over mehness. It's like the difference between a deliciously bad film such as Showgirls and an utterly nothing film like Tom Cruise's Edge of Tomorrow. You know you want to see a one-star film but a two-star film? You'd rather eat your hair. Or your Carhartt combat trousers.

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09-06-2014
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People who voted "classy" and "timeless" clearly do not remember the 90s. It was a bad mix of disco revival and grunge, which doesn't strike me as timeless. Maybe classy is a matter of opinion.

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10-06-2014
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The problem with all this revivals (besides an incredible lack of imagination) is that they are trying to recreate something that existed as part of a particular context that cannot in any way or form be recreated. And this cannot be truer for the 90s.
90s fashion, particularly early 90s, was a reaction against the values of the 80s, against the excess, against the greed, against the decadence. It's a new generation rebelling against a corrupt era. It was meant to be non fashion or at least the polar opposite of the 80s. It was like a massive hangover, in a time of a serious recession. The fact that it became fashion in itself, and pretty quickly i might say, and people are now trying to assert it's value in purely fashion terms is one of those ironies that fashion feeds from.

Grunge in particular was a great equaliser,and for a some years in the early 90s, clothes did not differ much for boys and girls, a pair of jeans, converse and a t-shirt was like the universal uniform, simplicity was king and i do believe that it brought a type of camaraderie and respect between sexes never seen since. That's the type of things i look back fondly, i have no particular intention of ever recreating a typical 90's look again.

Said , the 90s presented in 2014, bear no resemblance to the original thing, and are meant to be worn by kids, i do not understand why the journalist seems so outraged by it, for kids the 90s are so remote that it can only be fun to wear a style that was originally worn by teenagers like themselves and that they perceive as "new".

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10-06-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les_Sucettes View Post
The problem with all this revivals (besides an incredible lack of imagination) is that they are trying to recreate something that existed as part of a particular context that cannot in any way or form be recreated. And this cannot be truer for the 90s.
90s fashion, particularly early 90s, was a reaction against the values of the 80s, against the excess, against the greed, against the decadence. It's a new generation rebelling against a corrupt era. It was meant to be non fashion or at least the polar opposite of the 80s. It was like a massive hangover, in a time of a serious recession. The fact that it became fashion in itself, and pretty quickly i might say, and people are now trying to assert it's value in purely fashion terms is one of those ironies that fashion feeds from.

Grunge in particular was a great equaliser,and for a some years in the early 90s, clothes did not differ much for boys and girls, a pair of jeans, converse and a t-shirt was like the universal uniform, simplicity was king and i do believe that it brought a type of camaraderie and respect between sexes never seen since. That's the type of things i look back fondly, i have no particular intention of ever recreating a typical 90's look again.

Said , the 90s presented in 2014, bear no resemblance to the original thing, and are meant to be worn by kids, i do not understand why the journalist seems so outraged by it, for kids the 90s are so remote that it can only be fun to wear a style that was originally worn by teenagers like themselves and that they perceive as "new".
Thank you for writing your thoughts. I found what you said really interesting. I love hearing about other people's takes on different decades.

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11-06-2014
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Here's a 15 year old girl's take.
I admit to being a cliche, but I'm a late bloomer that needs to become a pretty flower. That said, I don't really get soft grunge and the 2014 definition of the 90s, which includes:
*Nirvan-uuh* (Kurt died 20 years ago, get over it. Even Vogue hated grunge!). Clueless (I love this movie tho). Leo DiCaprio. Twin Peaks. Fresh Prince (see Clueless). Wednesday Addams. Johnny and Winona (there are better 90s couples than that, and Johnny was apparently abusive to her and everybody else including Kate). TLC's Creep. Watching Disney movies ironically For The Nostalgia (though yes I was a Disneyoholic in the early and mid 00s as a nipper, and I've seen Frozen and liked it).

I think we should bring back - and most of these we are bringing back - the following, not just in fashion but in everything else:
Babydoll dresses worn with gym shorts underneath. Jelly shoes with the glitter inside (I have a primark pair which doesn't fit my feet ) Bindis and body gems. Dark lipstick. Calvin Klein-style minimalism. **** it, Calvin Klein itself. Dungarees with one strap down AND condoms attached ! Eurodance. Bantu knots. VHS tapes (I own about 50). Hilfiger. Cut-off dresses. Double denim ironically. Erotic thrillers not for the prudish. Comedies that aren't stupid and have clout. In fact, original ideas in movies altogether. Henna. Tongue piercings. The Organ 2 and 909 house music. Those rings which are attached to bracelets. Shittily dressing like you're a contestant on Win, Lose or Draw whilst hoping people fancy you.
I happen to be bland like that.

I'm about to go shopping for some clothes in 10 days at the Westfield in Stratford (which is a few stops from where I live on the Jubilee) and I'm about to do a 90s fashion revival. But not shitty plaid-shirt-and-flower-crown cliche. They'll include a lot of things from the above list. The clothes are for my little rendezvous at Glasto and then they'll last me the whole of the summer then I'll get out my old sweaters again...

I also don't really get Alexa Chung. I think she's really bland and past her sell-by date. (Jameela Jamil is the queen of T4 presenters and for a short while, my style icon).

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12-06-2014
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I remember 90s fashion as being great! Although grunge is what is remembered - it was just a short moment in time. I live in the tropics so dressing grunge was never an option for me but the music was phenomenal & is still the best! My style icons where Winona Ryder (granny chic); Tea Leoni; Melrose Place & Friends. One more thing I was a teen during the 80s with big hair; pink frosted lipstick; shoulder pads; Princess Di & all the other shockers - so the 90s where a breath of fresh air with floral dresses; custo tshirts; crop tops & flick out hair. I still wear a variation on this style but just more modern. As a teen you are more likely to wear the fads -so I completely understand Alexa Chung hating the 90s - her style would have been very childish back then.


Last edited by kelles; 12-06-2014 at 03:05 PM.
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12-06-2014
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I think what I dislike about Alexa Chung and all these fashion experts is how they are so quick to judge. It's like saying, well, you know, the Victorians or people in the 1950's were so poorly dressed.

The problem I find with younger people and fashion is that they are so quick to judge - only when they're older do they realize that fashion is cyclical anyway.

Remember when furs were out? Yeah, everybody found a conscience for about one season.

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Last edited by Mai Iwano; 12-06-2014 at 03:01 PM.
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12-06-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les_Sucettes View Post
The problem with all this revivals (besides an incredible lack of imagination) is that they are trying to recreate something that existed as part of a particular context that cannot in any way or form be recreated. And this cannot be truer for the 90s.
90s fashion, particularly early 90s, was a reaction against the values of the 80s, against the excess, against the greed, against the decadence. It's a new generation rebelling against a corrupt era. It was meant to be non fashion or at least the polar opposite of the 80s. It was like a massive hangover, in a time of a serious recession. The fact that it became fashion in itself, and pretty quickly i might say, and people are now trying to assert it's value in purely fashion terms is one of those ironies that fashion feeds from.

Grunge in particular was a great equaliser,and for a some years in the early 90s, clothes did not differ much for boys and girls, a pair of jeans, converse and a t-shirt was like the universal uniform, simplicity was king and i do believe that it brought a type of camaraderie and respect between sexes never seen since. That's the type of things i look back fondly, i have no particular intention of ever recreating a typical 90's look again.

Said , the 90s presented in 2014, bear no resemblance to the original thing, and are meant to be worn by kids, i do not understand why the journalist seems so outraged by it, for kids the 90s are so remote that it can only be fun to wear a style that was originally worn by teenagers like themselves and that they perceive as "new".
Perfectly said! Fashion is nothing without context! Otherwise, we're talking about simulacra.

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14-06-2014
  9
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wowee zowee...

setting aside the useless choices set up for the poll- though they are amusing...

this thread is actually full of interesting and intelligent insights...
and there's even some wit and humour thrown in, to boot...

...

talk about nostalgia?!
this feels like the old days of tFS when one could have a meaningful and intelligent conversation about the relationship of fashion to society and the influences and interactions of the two...
and have fun while doing so, rather than just getting so serious that everyone loses interest...

bravo/a...
...

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15-06-2014
  10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Les_Sucettes View Post
The problem with all this revivals (besides an incredible lack of imagination) is that they are trying to recreate something that existed as part of a particular context that cannot in any way or form be recreated. And this cannot be truer for the 90s.
90s fashion, particularly early 90s, was a reaction against the values of the 80s, against the excess, against the greed, against the decadence. It's a new generation rebelling against a corrupt era. It was meant to be non fashion or at least the polar opposite of the 80s. It was like a massive hangover, in a time of a serious recession. The fact that it became fashion in itself, and pretty quickly i might say, and people are now trying to assert it's value in purely fashion terms is one of those ironies that fashion feeds from.

Grunge in particular was a great equaliser,and for a some years in the early 90s, clothes did not differ much for boys and girls, a pair of jeans, converse and a t-shirt was like the universal uniform, simplicity was king and i do believe that it brought a type of camaraderie and respect between sexes never seen since. That's the type of things i look back fondly, i have no particular intention of ever recreating a typical 90's look again.

Said , the 90s presented in 2014, bear no resemblance to the original thing, and are meant to be worn by kids, i do not understand why the journalist seems so outraged by it, for kids the 90s are so remote that it can only be fun to wear a style that was originally worn by teenagers like themselves and that they perceive as "new".
This is exactly how I feel about the whole 90s revival, but could never state so eloquently. I was a teenager then, and whilst I absolutely loved certain looks (ie grunge) at the time, I have absolutely no desire to revisit that decade sartorially. Fashion does nothing but look back on the past, and each new generation takes it upon themselves to revive the looks they missed out on the first time round. It's just a shame that there is nothing genuinely new, that has grown out of various sub-cultures in society, as all the iconic fashion movements of the past did- instead we seem to just be doomed to recycle fashion history every 10-20 years.

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4 Weeks Ago
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if you're only going to trivialise each decade by a couple little absurd trends then you're completely missing out on the wonderful things we saw and what eventually influenced the decades to come. i question the legitimacy of so-called experts or designers who refuse to see beyond the surface. if they were truly experts in the analytical sense they would understand and celebrate all the barriers that were broken down in each decade which would continue to remain a very intrinsic part of this industry. and why this industry isn't as one-dimensional as people make it out.

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