The Pendulum is Wearing Pearls!

“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.”

Coco Chanel

I don’t know if any of you were cringing with me a few years ago, when it became obvious that “bling” and “flossy” were going to become regular verbage in pop-culture and style vocabulary.  Not so much the words themselves, but the cultural laws of gravity and attraction.  This same force is responsible for bell-bottoms, Farrah Fawcett wing-hair,

the lace and leather phenomenon of the Madonna-80’s, stirrup-pants and leggings (which have come back in style, somehow,)

dark and dramatic make-up of the Knots Landing era,

the ultra-modern/Eurythmics (love her by the way)/too-sharp-to-touch haircuts,

the Stone-Temple-Pearl-Chiles grunge era, and the list goes on…

There are entirely too many avenues of discussion concerning the implications of this force in terms of socio-economics, gender, the uniqueness of it to modern society as opposed to 150 years ago, and of course the psychology that drives it.  That is much more college-paper friendly than blog-friendly, so I’m going to give my unabridged opinion on the matter.  As history proves, each one of these trends caused someone, somewhere to cringe and refuse to partake; that is, until over time it had become such a permanent fixture that they succumbed and exhibited at least some variation of that which originally made them want to up-chuck.  For me, it was bling and the ticky- tacky thing that overtook fashion for a while.  And I personally rejoice at this particular trend exiting the stage.  Now, we can go back to saving our money for the real thing, rather than the faux. 

As we are finding in magazines as well as the rest of cultural media, classic is back.  Thank Newton!

Please observe the upcoming looks for the fall:



I prefer timeless fashion over trendy, loud fashion for the same reasons I prefer black and white photography.  Without the color in the image, you are forced to look closer at the subjects and really examine the photo instead of getting caught up in color schemes.  Not that color is the enemy, but black and white photography evokes a different type of response.  I believe the same to be true about fashion.  When a woman is wearing something mature and timeless, you tend to see more of the woman; not the clothes.  Again, that is not to say that a statement making piece isn’t a blast sometimes.  But when you choose to wear something loud with quality and poise, the statement is ‘yes, I realize this sweater is Chartreuse, and I chose it with confidence.’  Not ‘the patterns on my shirt are giving you a seizure, so I must be doing something right.’ 

This seems to be where fashion has been hovering for the past few years.  Granted, there have been the J. Crews and the Ann Taylors out there.  Because let’s face it; what we see in high-fashion magazines is nearly unattainable to the masses until it makes its way into consignment shops, thrift stores, or other after-market destinations.  So that said, I’m welcoming the change back to the classic.  Perhaps now, age-appropriate clothes are back and I can stop trying to stuff my back-side into low-rise pants…which by the way are NOT made for women who have had kids.  Wait.  Maybe they aren’t made for women at all.  Or walk around in shoes that are really the equivalent of trying to stand on knitting needles covered by a piece of wood.  Now let me qualify: I love my pointy-toed heels.  I don’t love the pink patent leather stacks that I’m seeing on mothers waiting in the check-out line at the grocery with their kids.  They are impractical at best. 

Additionally, I’ve been excited to see where this is going in home fashion as well, given that apparel and home décor are sisters.  Inevitably the one influences the other. 

Readers, what fashion trend makes you cringe?  And what continues to be your favorite timeless trend?

7 thoughts on “The Pendulum is Wearing Pearls!

  1. Anything 80s makes me cringe. I am all for classic! My mother worked for Conde Nast in the late 40s. “Classic” is in my genes. She even “Vogued” for a 1947 issue of Glamour, and kept that same photographed figure (5’6″, 110 lbs) her entire life. Two kids and all. [insert bad word about my mother] Me? I can’t get even one of my big ***thighs into those low-rise pants (for which all humankind should be grateful). My mother wore everything, including jeans, with grace and style. The extent of the classic look in my genes and jeans? It only goes as far as my appreciation. I am fashion challenged, personally and professionally. I work for a contemporary arts organization, which makes matters worse. I secretly want to wear pearls to work, but must instead wear big clunky, artsy necklaces and bracelets with a few stand-out pieces. I love pointy-toed heels, too, so am thrilled that I can sport them at the office (much to my bunions’ dismay). Anyway, I have tried to go the classic route at work and was told by the Director of Visual Arts that I looked like a Sunday school teacher. I am either in the wrong clothes or the wrong profession. I often entertain the thought of just dressing like Georgia O’Keefe. She wore black all the time. And pearls do look gorgeous with that “color” scheme.

    1. Much of 80’s style makes me cringe too, but there are a few things I still dig…and they are mostly early 80’s at that. For example camel coats and tall, burgundy leather boots for over the pants. Very 1981, and I absolutely love it still. Hate stirrup pants and big hair though.
      And yes, in your field of work the O’Keefe look would be perfect. Wearing black all of the time is classic, no matter what your field.

  2. I have a visceral reaction to the big hair, mostly because mine is fine and could never do the eighties “poof” correctly. I like the idea of “classic” style, but the kind suggested by magazines often doesn’t work on me — unless things are very structured, they come off as frumpy, and so many neutrals wash me out, and I am just never going to be a pearl kind of gal. But jeans, oh how I love jeans, after high-waist acid-washed nightmares and I want them to keep making the dark-rinse, mid-rise kind that keeps the tummy in, forever.

    1. I hear ya, my hair doesn’t hold curl or volume even if i use aqua net. So the big hair thing never worked on me either. We don’t want to hide ourselves, I’m just excited that classic is back by popular demand….so we can better complement what we’re working with.

  3. before the flood, i had pics of myself in the top outfit from 1967. also still owned many of the looks your models are wearing. what does that make me? old or classy and timeless? could you cut some slack for a little bling? you know how i love a little bling.

    all i can think of is why did i dump all my long scrunchy boots from europe…or the short ones for that matter?

  4. I was a kid in the ’70s and loved wearing the retro style in the ’90s but remember hearing women who wore it the first time around saying they were cringing. That’s how I now feel about the 80s and can’t imagine why anyone would want to wear lycra or neon! Anyway I love your timeless classic looks and will definitely use this as a crib sheet for my fall shopping! The last one is to die for but I’m only 5’2 and could never pull it off!

    1. I’m 5’4 and i have to be so choosy about pants too. I can’t wear the long trouser-shorts that are so cute right now, because I end up looking like a duck in them. I am amazed at how many other editorial write-ups are floating around out there right now because of this shift back to the modern and sophisticated femme. Check out the September issue of Real Simple; they have a gorgeous spread with inspiration for color and wear called ‘Portrait of a Woman.’

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