As much as it seems like everyone in New York’s always looking forward, especially at the end of one year and the beginning of another, lately fashion has seemed to be looking backward at every turn. While your friends are setting tongues wagging by getting some new job, scoping out some flashy new apartment or scoping some new boyfriend, you may have noticed that the clothes they’re all wearing are throwbacks — to 60s mod, to 70s peasant styles or 80s leggings. What gives?
The Ghost of Fashion Past jumps into bed with the Ghost of Fashion Present every year and every year people gasp like it’s something they never thought of before. This year was no exception. Sienna Miller was really just channeling Edie Sedgwick; Mary-Kate Olsen was really just channeling 60s and 70s hippies and Jessica Simpson’s just channeling everything that her stylists tell her to wear. Even so, most folks think these past influences will skip along merrily from one season to another, but there were some combustible elements this year. In fairness, New York’s winter always manages to take our breath away, catching us by surprise in our corduroy blazers, loafers and peep-toe pumps. Suddenly those fall/winter staples were just fall ideas and winter sends us running back to our bulky sweaters, jeans and boots. That satin pencil skirt didn’t actually transfer that well into the freezing work week and — surprise, surprise — those peasant looks are cumbersome and irritating under a warm jacket and soak up water like a paper towel in the freezing rain and snow.
The Ghost of Fashion Future’s hovering eagerly above New York now and it’s not too hard to predict what he’s bringing. The Uggs that everyone makes fun of every year will come back in force because, let’s face it, nothing keeps toes as toasty, so it’s worth bearing the humiliation of big-deal fashion editors who can afford high-end fur-lined boots. Everyone will become bloated versions of themselves, waddling around the city in expansive puffy jackets, hopefully with some cinched woolen coats in between the puffers. There’s definitely more mod fashion in our future, with striped shirts and pants, and whether it looks good or not, it seems those black leggings are here to stay for a while. Embrace the boots-tucked-into-jeans look: it looks crisp and keeps your jeans from getting all snowy in a pinch. I’m looking forward to seeing more ankle boots (Urban Outfitters has a sassy bronze pair) and cropped furs. And bring on the higher-waisted jeans! If I have to see one more pair of boxer shorts or thongs, I’ll scream.
My fashion resolutions are fairly simple: Take better care of my clothing, including shoe repair, storage and regular dry cleaning; and dress more formally on the whole. No one ever got scolded for looking a little cleaner and a little fancier.
Keep warm, keep dry and start dreaming of the pastels, balloon skirts, and spring suits waiting for you in the spring.