Just a few decades ago, there was a hard line drawn in the sand regarding what you should wear. No white after Labor Day. Navy and black should never be paired together. Match your belt to your shoes. Don’t wear sandals with tights. And so on. But something changed in the early aughts.
The new millennium appeared to bring with it a style revolution. Track suits and our very own Classic boots began to dominate celebrities’ “off-duty style” before the term off-duty had even been coined. Stars walked the red carpet in shredded denim, mini skirts, and flip flops. C-level execs in Silicon Valley were regularly seen donning hoodies and sneakers to work.
Perhaps it was the advent or reality TV or quickly disseminating Internet access, but casual style became California’s number one export. The trend didn’t just trickle down but seemed to deluge us all. You couldn’t avoid seeing at least one trucker hat or pair of velour pants every time you left the house.
This not-so subtle cultural shift toward casual fashion signaled an end to the most fundamental style rule: dress according to the occasion. Without this core principle, it wasn’t long until the whole system came crashing down, ushering in the age of laissez-faire fashion.
The death of the dress code opened the door for the two trends that have come to exemplify the current era in fashion: the pairing of opposites and athleisure. The former has nearly reduced style to a formula—mix high with low, new with vintage, day with evening, fitted with oversized, and edgy pieces with polished ones. Hell, you can even wear navy and black or hosiery with open-toed shoes; the resulting ensemble will likely be lauded as fresh and modern. The latter trend is arguably an extension of the former in that it merely takes loungewear and athletic clothes outside of their traditional spheres.
Alas, these trends only reiterate the fact that we’re living in an age of fashion anarchy, when the unexpected and unconventional are synonymous with style. Social media has exponentially fragmented the “moment” any trend can have and given everyone the chance to become a style icon. Sure, all this may make it harder to stand out, but it also forces us to the push the boundaries of creativity. How can that be a bad thing?
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