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30 years of fashion means choice

From bold padded shoulders to Technicolor eye shadow, the looks fromSeptember 1979 may not, at a glance, look much different from thisfall’s major trends.

From bold padded shoulders to Technicolor eye shadow, the looks from September 1979 may not, at a glance, look much different from this fall’s major trends.

After all, what goes around comes around especially in fashion, right?

Not exactly.

As the Editor-in-Chief of FLARE, I’ve spent hours over the past year going through our archive, planning our 30th anniversary celebration this year. My team and I have had a lot of laughs as we see how much fashion has evolved — but seriously, also how women have evolved as reflected by their wardrobes.

Yes, prominent shoulders are a big trend this year but back in the ’80s, they were massive — as in linebacker proportion sized with padding in every layer of an outfit including a camisole, blouse and jacket.

The look mirrored women’s newfound power in the workforce — Melanie Griffith in the ’80s blockbuster film Working Girl is a perfect example. Everything in the outfit was magnified — door knocker earrings complemented the broad shoulders, pussy-cat bow blouse and ankle-sweeping skirt or culottes. And the beauty routine matched with pouffy hair, multi-hued eyeshadow, thick brushed-up eyebrows and dark lipstick.

The clothes were so big that women looked large as well and the makeup (with a loud fragrance) distracted attention away from its wearer. Not exactly the ’80s revival that designers have imagined for Fall ’09.

This season, prominent shoulders are an important factor in high fashion — but just a factor. Today, women don’t have to prove that they belong in the workforce and use their image and outfit as protection.

Confidence has shaped fashion trends to where we pick what suits us versus back in the early ’80s when designers dictated exactly what was fashionable and few dared to go against the grain. When I flip through our earliest issues, I find that the young women and models we featured look overly mature to my eyes. A square-cut short hair style, heavy eye makeup and an overly accessorized outfit made our 25-year-old fashion editor, back in 1979, look more like an ultra-conservative fortysomething today.

The strongest trend in 2009 is the freedom of choice that we’ve won with 30 years of evolving confidence.

So whether you choose to wear a military jacket with prominent shoulders and a pair of acid washed tight jeans, or a matching skirt suit with peep-toe booties — the choice is yours.

 
 
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