Everyone is banging on about ‘statement’ dressing. Fashion Era says "Winter 2008/9 will be remembered as the statement season. Watch out for statement coats and statement fabrics. You will also see statement heels, statement shoulders, statement jewellery and statement hair, together they define the next fashion era as one of classy grown-up clothing! Investment dressing is back."
So is statement dressing tantamount to style with brains? What statement are we actually making through our choice of clothing and accessories ... and why do some of us prefer glamour, whilst others go for grunge?
Style has social and psychological implications. If you think about it, every piece of clothing or accessory makes a statement that’s related not only to its design, shape, colour and fabric, but also to the point in time when it was made and the significance of the item to the wearer. What's more, our choice of clothing also affects the way we feel. These days, almost everyone, subject to the requirements of work and their income, has the freedom to wear virtually whatever they like. Each and every one of us is making a unique statement that’s a snapshot of our personality, our taste and our place and time in history. When we get dressed every day, it’s up to us to choose exactly how curious a style statement we wish to make.
I was talking to an older friend over dinner the other night, who suggested that, in days gone by, a woman’s power was in her femininity. He complained of women today grunge-dressing, drinking, swearing and being “worse than men.” He suggested that, in recent years, women have become un-emancipated – and, due to their lack of self respect, are now treated disrespectfully by men. He felt that even gay men were more enthralled by (and jealous of) the beautifully dressed belles of yesteryear.
Of course, in the distant past, men focused on hunting and protecting their women and children, whereas women were caring and nurturing. In fact, our basic instincts haven’t really changed that much since we were cavemen and women – they’re still based on survival and protection - it's society that has changed dramatically, causing many of us to become horribly confused.
And what has happened in the world of fashion is that we’ve been transported from the elegant feminine lines of the 1940s and ‘50s to the androgynous t-shirts, hideous hoodies, utilitarian trainers, ripped jeans and rucksacks of today. I suppose this has a lot to do with women seeking equality and wanting to wear the trousers … but, despite men’s growing ‘metrosexual’ tendencies, I’m curious to know why we don’t see more of them wearing skirts? Let’s face it, in the fashion stakes, the sexes remain far from equal!
Anyway, I’d just like to mention this heavily beaded (and fabulously shoulder padded) vintage ‘statement’ jacket, designed by Diane Freis at the height of the 1980s power dressing era, (and available at ShopCurious), as a perfect illustration of the sort of garment that might appeal, if you like to stand out from the crowd. It’s got a fairly masculine, boxy shape, but with glittery sequins and beads in a riot of crazy colours. It’s clearly designed for the woman who wants to show she’s in charge, but still be womanly - a curiously clever style statement if ever there was one, don't you think?
Curiculum Vitae Jeffry Zebua
6 months ago