Meredith Bryan's trend piece in today's Observer opens by dubbing 2008 "The Year of the Tortoise." And it's not simply because tortoise is classic, geek chic, and allows most anyone to effectively channel a "PBS pretty" Tina Fey, though those have all been reasons that have sustained its retro popularity before:
We are wearing it because it goes with everything. We are wearing it because it's subtle, and glaring luxury labels are gauche in a recession. We are wearing tortoise because for most of us, hare and its ilk are too expensive and/or humanely unjustifiable. And maybe we wear it because we, like the tortoise of fable, seem not to be in a winning position right now (though remember that thfe tortoise is all about perseverance—it lives upward of 250 years, after all).
This new-found zest for making a statement by not making one at
all reminds me of the rise of eco-fashion -- when done well, we now all
know that sustainable clothing need not resemble an ill-fitting burlap
sack accessorized with hemp necklaces. The secret is in the fabric,
where it came from, how it was stiched together, and where. Now, we're
latching onto a similar ethos via the Recessionista ethic. How well can
you mix last-season's designer goods with what you pre-emptively
purchased before the crash this summer? How committed are you are to debuting and re-debuting, in another form, items that are quiet, subdued, and openly betray they will
last well beyond the current season? If it's gauche to show off glaring
luxury, or even strive to buy cheap knock-offs that attempt to hint
they're worth more, now is the time to wear the shit out of whatever
you already have.
"I wore this every day last week" is the new "I never wear the same thing twice."