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Fashion and Style

Baby Boomer Style: A Journey Through Decades of Fashion Innovation

Fashion evolves with the times we live in, and style is the unique way each of us chooses to present ourselves to the world. That said, we believe that between the advent of the turbulent 1960s and the 1980s Baby Boomers transformed Fashion as they began to question the status quo and demand change.

We quickly see this in Fashion, with the adoption/development of at least three different trends that probably all developed in London. Remember that was the time of London’s Carnaby Street Fashion designers with their Mod Look, who, along with the rise of one of the world’s first super models, Lesley Lawson — more popularly known as Twiggy — caused us teen magazine-reading US Boomer girls to excitedly adopt the exciting – actually daring  — new British Fashion just as we had already adopted their music. (Remember the term “British Invasion?”)

We Boomer girls were excited to ditch our 50s era Fashion of voluminous (Poodle) skirts, bobbie sox, and loafers or saddle shoes worn with short, curly hair. Instead, like the song said, we went all-in for straight hair – whether worn long and center-parted like Cher or chopped short into a Twiggy-esque pixie cut. (Twiggy’s British “look” also brought us extremely bold and colorful eye makeup, and the adoption of her waif-like androgynous look, which we now know led many a young teen girl to anorexia, starving herself in order to “look good.”

Fashion boots, as well as earth shoes, sandals, and platform shoes also showed up around this time. With the adoption of boots as a Fashion statement (with knee high and thigh high boots worn INDOORS to compliment an ensemble), boots were no longer just protective footwear to be worn outdoors for hiking or mountain climbing – or during inclement weather.

To the other Fashion extreme, the anti-war feelings of the late 60s and 70s heralded the advent of what was known as “hippie” Fashion, which probably grew out of San Francisco’s counterculture, as well as the popularity of Woodstock and “flower children.”

For women, the Fashion involved the braless look, jeans, recycled clothing including the wearing of military surplus coats, bellbottoms, and shirts.

All accessorized with headscarves, and headbands, as well as dresses, blouses, trousers —  even jewelry — which were influenced by ethnic styles coming from Africa and Asia.

Who among us Boomers – man or woman –  did not once own love beads, or a tie-dyed T-shirt? Not to mention wearing clothing in bright, happy colors?  (To this day, one of our cofounders cannot believe he happily wore orange jeans in junior high.)

A love for unique clothing also meant both men’s and women’s styles incorporated beaded necklaces, beaded moccasins, feathers and leather fashions borrowed from Native American clothing styles.

The men’s styles included the growth of head and facial hair, patchwork fabric and hand tooled leather applied to anything, including jeans and jackets, not to mention colorful Mexican serapes, and South American ponchos, as well as fringed jackets and moccasins, long loose Indian caftans, African dashikis, and anything in psychedelic colors.

Hippie culture was not only about peace and love, but also about a preference for handcrafting over machine production, and an interest in world cultures along with the rejection of American values and the cultural imperialism that led us to involve our country in the Viet Nam war.

Additionally, the hippie movement was about sustainability and eco-friendliness, as many young Boomers had already become worried about how industrialization was affecting the environment. Hippies also adopted a DIY mentality, recycling rather than purchasing new.

So with that quick review of our early efforts with Fashion and style, let’s look at what is going on now…

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