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On The Racks Today: Fashion Through The Decades

Jasmine Kianfard |
November 19, 2015 | 4:38 p.m. PST


The image of the ideal woman has walked a lot of different runways over the years. Pop culture now decides fashion icons and social media helps create candidates for the title. 

Currently, the key word in fashion is "plural." TV Celebrity Fashion Stylist, Anya Sarre, says that fashion icons no longer come in singular form. 

“There isn’t just that one person anymore ... the trends are set by certain people who are pop culture icons, who wear the trends, who people want to emulate,” says Sarre.

While the number of fashion icons has changed, the size worn on the runway — surprisingly — has not. When it comes to body image, for the most part, runways are still sticking to sample sizes. 

However, fashion has changed through the decades on and off the runway. We embraced tiny waists and large chests shown off in circle skirts in the 1950's and wanted petite, slender models like Twiggy in the 1960's. Synthetic fabrics like spandex and polyester became popular in the 1970's to show off a lean torso.

By the 1980's, models like Naomi Campbell and Elle MacPherson made long legs a runway sensation. Jane Fonda created the era of fitness during this time as well. By the 2000's abs were highly encouraged for women and midriffs dominated the runways. Yet by 2010, Kim Kardashian and Nicki Minaj made the "booty" a highly coveted fashion accessory. 

While body seems to be the focus throughout the decades, this is not to say that designers are necessarily discriminating against women due to size. 

“A lot of designers have done a plus-size line, they just don’t talk about it," said Sarre. "Some of the designers, their fear, is that if they do dress someone plus size, then they’re gonna be known as a plus size designer when that’s not their brand.”

Size may have continued to stay the same on the runway, but off of the runways, style certainly has not. Through the decades, somehow fashion has become more relaxed and dare we even say ... lazy? 

“People used to dress up to go on planes, now people wear literally the most slouchy sweatpants and sneakers ... it’s gotten a lot more casual,” says Sarre. 

Since designers are still putting out elaborate couture designs, who is buying these styles? 

“It’s gotten very separated about who’s actually buying couture, because it’s so expensive, and who’s buying the knockoffs,” say Sarre. 

There is no longer just one store to go to or one icon to follow. We are now presented with an almost overwhelming number of choices, both when it comes to designers and icons. 

This may or may not be a fashion faux pas, but one thing is for sure. As we have moved through the decades, fashion has trickled down from being a celebrity-only luxury and celebrity driven world. Today’s pop culture and fashion have now become intertwined. 

Reach Contributor Jasmine Kianfard here



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