There seems to be an endless stream of fashion revivals these days and you can’t help but notice that many originated as trends that people tended to look back upon with scorn, or embarrassment. That is, until they appeared back on runways and the High Street, becoming huge hits once again with the next generation. There are also many wardrobe elements that have long been considered ‘cringe worthy’ and yet have suddenly become massive trends. Some people are lucky enough to have parents or grandparents who kept hold of some of their favourite items from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s that could now have a new lease of life breathed into them. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people, but there is no reason why that should ever stop me from getting my hands on the latest revival, whether it be from a vintage or charity shop, or a new piece interpreted by a designer or High Street chain.
We only have to look to fashion icons Agyness Deyn and Alexa Chung to see the most recent item to be revived: 90’s dungarees. What was once embarrassing children’s clothing or practical overall workwear, is now a style statement that can often be seen on these British fashion flag-flying ladies. Agy has even teamed up with British workwear brand Dr Martens to create her own range, featuring not only the famous work boots, but dungarees too.
We have the 80s to thank for the shoulder pads that inspired the less extreme boxy-shouldered blazers that have become a wardrobe staple. The decade is also responsible for the acid wash denim that has become a must for the rock chick of today, as well as the idea of toughening up something girly by adding leather, a biker jacket, boots or studded accessories. From the 70s, we draw the once-mocked bell-bottoms that have turned into the super-flattering kick flare cut along with perhaps the greatest of the reincarnated trends – boho and the maxi dress. The 50s and 60s weren’t responsible for much cringe worthy fashion but have brought us some great revived trends including the 50s prom dress, wiggle dress, midi skirt, monochrome, shift dresses, big sunglasses and kitsch prints.
Perhaps the most currently relevant cringe-to-cool trend, though not specifically a revival, is the Christmas jumper. What was once the dreaded hand-knitted Gift from Granny is now a winter essential. For which some people spend hours searching, hoping to find the perfect one. Although the Christmas jumper trend emerged a couple of years ago, following on from the Starsky and Hutch fairisle revival, winter shop windows of 2012 are still awash with red and white snowflake patterned knits, fairisle pullovers and large cartoon winter character motifs.
Such is the popularity that this year, December 14th was declared National Christmas Jumper Day. It started a charity event, supporting Save The Children, but last Friday it seemed Twitter was overrun with Instagram and Twitpic entries documenting the love for the once hated, hand-knitted gift. I do still hold out hope that I’ll be receiving one from my grandma this year, but if not, like so many others, I’ll be committing to the mass hysteria of the Christmas High Street in the hope that I can find a suitably festive woolly to wear on Christmas Day and any other day that I see fit.
By Louise Hayward