Some style trends just keep coming back to our closets. Susie Sheffman explains why we can't give up our favourite fashions from decades past.
History repeats itself—and fashion is hardly exempt from the rule. Think flared jeans, animal prints and neon colours. They go away for a few years only to show up again on runways and mannequins and hot lists. Susie Sheffman, fashion stylist and creative director, spoke to us about why certain trends are back in—and which one she’s most excited about.
“I think the things that come back the strongest are the pieces that we have a certain nostalgia for,” says Sheffman. An older designer might want to relive a period they consider their heyday, recapturing an era that felt right to them. Or a younger designer might want to experience an older time period for the first time through that decade’s clothes.
The second reason is more straightforward—convenience. The styles that come back often work best with our existing wardrobes. “It’s their versatility,” says Sheffman, the wider variety of ways for something to be worn, the greater the chance it will make a comeback. For example, animal prints can be dressed up with a statement coat or dressed down with a pair of boyfriend jeans without too much trouble and without looking too dated.
Flared jeans, $78, freepeople.com . Flared jeans, $70, express.com
Fashion is constantly evolving, so many of our new styles are the result of designers—and consumers—being bored of what’s out there. “A perfect example is the skinny jean,” says Sheffman. “We’ve had it for years now, so to make denim feel fresh again—and to shock the eye a little bit—we are taking it more to a flare.” In other words, we want to shake things up.
Past meets present
The styles that come back aren’t usually straight replicas of their older versions—they’ve been updated. “The more time that goes by, the more time we have to play with different decades,” says Sheffman. She calls this “decade-hopping.” Designers take the best of each decade and use all that history to create a contemporary wardrobe.
What’s Sheffman’s favourite comeback trend for spring? The slip dress. And it’s not the first time this piece has resurfaced. “It was the ultimate symbol of glamour in the 1940s and 1950s,” says Sheffman, and was worn with a fully coiffed look. Its revival in the 1990s was antithetical to glamour: The grunge style movement meant pairing the slip dress with combat boots, or layering over t-shirts or under plaid buttondowns. This spring, you’ll see a different style still—it’s more relaxed and undone. Wear it casually with sneakers, add some edge by throwing on a bomber jacket or go free-style with loose, flowing hair.
Camisole slip dress, $46, zara.com . Slip dress, $64, asos.com
Whatever the reason for a returning trend, if it’s back in business, it’s a chance for you to experiment with fashion’s history while sprucing up your personal style.
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