19 July 2010

Fashion and Beauty

Looking at those 1960s fashion statements in Queens at Heart had me thinking a bit on fashion, especially since I am always hunting for that next great "lesbian fashion statement," and while I have defined some peculiarities of Sarah's fashion sense, I can always define it in even more detail.

Trusty Wikipedia comes to the rescue again. The 1960s fashions are a great historical reference, but won't be relevant to me or Sarah, unless they involve styles, such as plaid miniskirts, that get revived in the 1980s, 1990s, or later.

The 1980s fashions are not too relevant, as neither Sarah nor I actually get to wear them as contemporaries. But again, revival of specific trends will be the key. More importantly, both she and I are old enough to remember certain 1980s trends, and regret that we were unable to wear them then. Some specific thoughts:
  • Sarah probably won't care too much for shoulder pads, since her shoulders are prominent as is already.
  • Headbands are a lovely touch - though whether Sarah gets to sport them or not, even as a retro look, will heavily depend on what kind of a hairline she has. Too masculine or high a hairline, then forget headbands.
  • Dancewear trend, immortalized in Flashdance, will be the key. Sarah absolutely loves her leggings, but I am not so sure about her penchant for leg warmers. Though due to the male anatomy, it will be a challenge for Sarah to wear some of the dancewear looks for a while.
  • Preppy style may not be Sarah's favorite, as that may have been the clothing she was forced to wear as a young boy. I also need to look into the difference between American and British interpretations of the preppy, as Sarah's childhood is in London rather than in the US.
  • Opaque tights (perhaps the ribbed kind) should play a key role in Sarah's wardrobe - even in those preppy boy clothes, she may have worn them under shorts, and nowadays she will also substitute them for leggings.
  • Tracksuits were a key trend especially in the UK. Sarah may have some memories that may predispose her for/against tracksuits.
On to the 1990s, the era of the Rachel haircut, and when Sarah and I were both coming of age - and developing our own fashion statements at last.
  • Some key 1960s-1970s colors, like brown, were revived in the late 1990s. My first outfits were brown, but I don't know if Sarah can make brown work out on her paler skin tone, red hair, and green eyes.
  • Pants became wide-legged again, in a repeat of 1940s and 1970s. This is a trend I was slow to embrace, but Sarah might make good use of it, though it is probably not her signature look. Toward the turn of the millennium, waistlines started to go down.
  • Leggings went even more viral in the early 1990s, outselling jeans. Instead of dancewear look, they were being worn with long sweatshirts and T-shirts, scrunchy socks, and sneakers. Definitely a key look for Sarah in her early days of womanhood - and still a key look for both her and me (though with a different choice of footwear). Leggings would go out of style by late 1990s, however - though both Sarah and I managed to hold on to a few pairs, and wear them again from 2006 on.
  • Corduroy is probably not a trend Sarah will embrace.
  • Late 1990s saw the rise of wrap skirts - one of my favorite trends ever. I am not sure if Sarah will embrace them, though Sarah will certainly make sure to have a mini or two in her closet.
  • Punk and goth were key trends, and while Sarah won't be a follower of either trend, I expect her to incorporate a few elements in her own look. And chances are, a few of her friends were probably goth anyway - I knew of a number of goth transwomen back in the day myself.
  • Keds were popular then. I don't think I wore them, but Sarah should wear a few pairs.
  • While Ally McBeal and her trademark miniskirt suits were the rage in the late 1990s, and Sarah identified strongly with Ally, I don't expect Sarah to actually wear her miniskirts with a suit jacket. I don't really expect Sarah to be a suit girl anyway, except in her professional capacity. I would rather leave the Ally look to my alter ego Kirsten anyway - after all, the Ally look was, and still is, my primary trademark look and lesbian fashion statement.
Then on to the first decade of the new millennium, as Sarah flies away as a flight attendant, only to be brought down by layoff, but eventually regaining her wings and developing a strong identity as a woman, not to mention a social network and a marriage.
  • The 1990s ended with dark monochromatic looks. Sarah may have made good use of that look well into the new millennium, highlighting her gorgeous red hair.
  • Dark denim. I never wear denim, but Sarah may end up growing to love a few dark pairs of bellbottom jeans. I remember writing a scene where Sarah's father remarks to her about how she resembled her mother back when he had first met her - the bellbottom jeans will do it.
  • The Boho look, first pushed by Kate Moss and later by the likes of Sienna Miller and the Olsen twins. I never got much into Boho, but Sarah may end up with a peasant top or two out of this trend.
  • The protests against President Bush's wars made activist clothing (Che Guevara T-shirts, etc.) very fashionable for a time. I do not expect Sarah to wear them, however, as I think she'll prefer to make her statement with lapel pins and necklaces.
  • Leggings and footless tights made their return mid-decade. For Sarah and for me, thanks to Lindsay Lohan, these items are a lesbian fashion statement. They are worn like in the 1980s (under miniskirts) or in a new way (with Ugg boots). Tunics/minidresses in various styles to go along with the leggings are a must - I prefer them in floral and similar textures, and Sarah probably does too. The popular mantra directed at young girls too young to remember the 1980s - "Leggings are not pants" - are completely lost on both Sarah and me.
  • Speaking of Uggs and other Australian sheepskin boots, I refused to wear them at first, but now love them (though it's too warm to wear them now). Sarah may be an early adapter due to the Uggs' unmatched comfort.
  • Capri and gaucho pants, coming down to just below the knee, were popular. I never got to wear them for one reason or another. I don't expect Sarah to wear capris (she'll prefer capri-length leggings) but do expect her to wear wide-leg wool gauchos in cooler weather.
  • Ballet flats are the current popular footwear trend. I like them, but don't wear them often due to blisters left on my heel. But as they go so well with leggings, I expect Sarah to really wear her ballet flats.
  • Asia, especially Japan, was often the origin of some iconic fashion statements of the new millennium, including Lolita. I tend to ignore them, though an element or two *may* end up influencing me. Sarah may not differ too much from me on this.
Now that the 2010s are here, one key trend I am noticing is Christian Audigier's T-shirts and other fashion items under the Ed Hardy brand, incorporating designs from Hardy's tattoos. Honestly it's a trend I would rather do without, and I don't think Sarah is too keen on this either. Both of us simply wish to ride this trend out, the way we rode out two early 1990s key trends - Generra Hypercolor T-shirts and Cross Colours hip-hop apparel.

The other major trend is rompers, though honestly both Sarah and I are a bit too old to wear them.

Most importantly, fashion is the most obvious way for the wearer to express her personality and preferences. And by picking key iconic looks of the past and the present for Sarah, I will be better able to tell her story and the experiences that have shaped her.

No comments: