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Women's Fashion Tops Are Cyclical, Do the Ugly Things Need to Come Back?

No need to re-cycle this style!
No need to re-cycle this style!

Updated July 25th, 2020

When it comes to women's fashion tops, I see the same things year-after-year.

I went through a phase of following a lot of the Parisian fashion houses closely. Now, admittedly, I've never been one to follow trends. Not with clothes or with electronics. Not unless I'm held down by the neck and forced to by admissions of slowed down operating systems. Luckily with women's clothes, all that changes is the sizing.

There's usually a few years between fashion and trend cycles. It's called the "cycle of nostalgia", and you see it in pretty much every area of women's fashion tops. The hot debate of how long between these trend cycles it is until items come back around tends to land between 10-20 years.

Let's take Doc Martens, for example...

Doc Martens and the Cycle of Nostalgia

I know Doc Martens from the 90's; from seeing my idols like Courtney Love and the girls of the riot movement pair them with short skirts, babydoll dresses, or tights. Docs have seen a comeback in the last couple of years and were a staple of working-class British culture in the punk and ska years of the mid-70s to mid-80s.

Everything comes back around again, and women's fashion doesn't so much dictate what the trends are going to be so much as see what it is the kids of today are wearing, and then bring that back.

Fashion designers like Marc Jacobs brought grunge to the mainstream in the 90s with controversial catwalk shows. Do you know how "grunge" style started? The bands in the Pacific Northwest wore jeans and flannel because they couldn't afford to do anything but head to the thrift store for woodsmen's castoffs.

So, flannel went from old worker's wear to struggling musicians to the catwalk and now sees itself on the shelves and the racks of every vintage store in every city in every country in the Western world.

It all comes around again, and in the world of women's clothes, that can be both a good and a bad thing.

Speaking of bad things...

Fanny Packs Should Never Make a Comeback

I said this to my friend as we angrily shoved our way through crowds of tourists on London's Oxford Street.

In England, fanny packs are called bum bags, and Oxford Street is the center of all things high street. The term "high street" probably even came from it, though the jury's still out on just how high it is (or how high you need to be to walk down it without losing your mind).

The soon-to-be-defunct Claire's was having a sale on velour chokers and tattoo chokers, and it made us stop for a moment to collectively figure out whether or not the Starbucks we'd just left was a time machine or we really were just that old.

Both my friend and I aren't traditional dressers. I'm a connoisseur of vintage and a tomboy, and my friend's preference is with more masculine clothes. It works out well for us when the cycle of nostalgia is in the early 90s phase or bringing leggings back as pants; not so much when dresses are in and it's not really fair that our dress-wearing friend would be looked at strangely if they wore them.

"Seriously," I continued. "If they come back, I'm walking off the edge of the world."

If Fashion Says it's Good, it Must be Good


But okay, I'll humor the idea.

Unfortunately, I'm not in charge of women's fashion tops; nor am I in charge of men's fashion, and gender-neutral fashion would simply never. Fanny packs did make a comeback, and the biggest names in fashion have jumped on the hideous Please-God-No train headfirst.

Balenciaga does fanny packs, Louis Vuitton and Chanel have theirs affixed firmly to the waists of the Jenner-Kardashians, and even Alexander Wang has thrust the curse of their name upon the beautiful material we call leather.

But of course they came back, it's the cycle of nostalgia.

Nobody cares how ugly a piece is. Hence the fanny pack.*

A Desperate Plea to Generation Z

Harking back to the fact that fashion designers are influenced by the current generation of youths, that must mean that someone, somewhere down the line saw a photograph of a fanny pack from the 90s and unironically decided they looked good.

Some poor soul with too much Instagram influence must have seen them as more practical than cargo pants (God forbid their return, children, I beg of you, don't ever bring back the wide-legged pants from the early 00s) but really, fashion says this is good and you believe it?

I've never considered myself to be a trendsetter in women's fashion. I've worn the same tailored blazer for five years because it goes well with my bad girl haircut, biker boots, and imitation leather pants. I've worn them because they make me feel good and look good, which really should be what fashion is about.

If you don't like something, you don't have to wear it. Just like I didn't have to wear chains on my jeans in college just because Linkin Park did.

Fashion Takes Notes From Us

Generation Z has the benefit of something that no other generation has had before them from such a young age: the Internet. The net is a source of fashion from the very first photographs ever taken, the new stuff being invented all the time, to the cyclical fanny packs and baby doll dresses.

Fashion is taking notes from you. You are the trendsetters.

Is there anything more cool or fashionable than that?

*The views expressed in this piece in regards to fanny packs are 100% the writer's own. If you like fanny packs and aren't just wearing them because Kylie Jenner is, wear that fanny pack with pride. I'm on your side.


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