Now that we are full swing into AW19 it’s clear to me that the trends this season have taken a nostalgia trip; but not back to one era alone. Inspiration from the 70s, 80s, and 90s is in evidence proving that fashion is indeed cyclical. Retro trends spanning these three distinct decades are borrowed and rehashed for AW19.
Whether you choose to channel a 70s Ali McGraw, an 80s Alexis Colby or a 90s Jennifer Aniston; your retro look will be relevant today.
Biba-like dresses are abundant in earthy floral prints or slinky jewel colors. Slouchy boots or knee-high boots are the season’s smash hit retro footwear trend and look great with culottes or an a-line skirt – worn shorter, just below the knee. Big, blouson sleeves, pussy bows, and key-hole necklines offer a bohemian or bourgeois look depending on how you style it.
The decade was a tale of two extremes. On the one hand, there was the excessive glamour of Studio 54 and on the other, the conservative, tonal colors and ladylike hauteur of the Parisian Left Bank. Research icons such as Farah Fawcett, Bianca Jagger, Jane Birkin and Diane Keaton for style inspiration and key retro looks.
Shows like Stranger Things have helped rewind fashion back to the 80s. My 12-year-old daughter is a big fan and is discovering Madonna and Howard Jones! It was the decade of excess and every look was bold and accentuated from nipped-in waists with wide belts and statement shoulder pads, to big hair and technicolor prints.
Puff sleeves and are a stand-out trend this season along with balloon-style jeans and trousers. Glitzy cocktail dresses, oversized tailoring, and chunky costume jewelry were dress code on the decade’s US soap operas, Dallas and Dynasty. It was all about power dressing.
Equally powerful in terms of silhouette but quite in contrast, the punk-graduated New Romantic style of the 80s is also back on-trend this season. Think Bananarama and their oversized ruffles, overcoats, wide-brimmed hats, DMs and lumberjack plaid.
Halter-neck tops, bias-cut slip dresses, and square-toe shoes are all making a come-back this season. And you can’t have failed to notice the return of tiny handbags, combat trousers, bucket hats, and strappy heels. A blazer, roll-neck, and jeans were the off-duty outfit of choice for all the supermodels back in the 90s and are equally at home all over Instagram right now.
Back then the key looks pivoted from grunge to super-polished to sporty and this diversity also reins today. But probably the most iconic 90s fashion staple which has swept through AW19 is leather, in its modernized form of faux-leather. Remember Posh and Beck’s matching leather outfits?
Better The Second Time Around
All this nostalgic dressing will bring back good and bad memories for us. There will be an opportunity to embrace trends that we overlooked – like me and my DMs & check coat in the homepage picture! But we’ll also be able to avoid the mistakes we made the first time around…
Fashion theory suggests that what is old is new again every 20-30 years. So don’t be throwing out any of your quality clothing from the last 10 years as it’s sure to come back into fashion in a decade or so!