“Try as you might, in fashion, you can’t outrun the past.”
– Jacob Gallagher
So, there I was reading the weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal. Somewhere between advice on investing money I’ll never have and Dan Neill’s wonderful descriptions of driving cars I’ll never own, was an update on fashion.
That’s where I discovered that “distressed jeans,” a 1990s favorite, are making a comeback. These are the denim blue jeans that have rips in the knees and elsewhere.
I also discovered “distressed” might refer to your bank account if you bought some of them.
“French luxury label Givenchy sells plenty of eroded denim, most notably a $2,100-ish pair with rips from hip to hem,” wrote The Journal’s fashion columnist.
I know inflation’s bad, but that’s three times what I paid for my first car (which was also “distressed”.)
I am not here to complain about fashion foolishness or “kids these days,” or anything like that, I just wanted to share my amazement at how clothing fashions so often seem to come back.
It’s America’s most consistent success at recycling.
If your closet’s big enough, just keep your old clothes. You (or your grandkids) will be wearing them again one day.
Well, maybe not all of them.
Top hats disappeared after the stock market crash of 1929.
Knickers – despite the late Payne Stewart’s valiant fashion reboot 20 years ago – seem to have vanished from our nation’s notice. And I haven’t seen anyone saddling up saddle shoes.
But so much of what we once wore, seems to keep coming back.
It’s almost like young people want to show us how we really should have worn it, looked it, styled it. Or maybe they just didn’t know their new is our old.
Personally, I am still waiting for a return of leisure suits. Nothing says you’re staying alive louder than a polyester leisure suit with lapels as wide as a pterodactyl’s wings. White was classy, but pale blue or a subdued orange were just fine. Brown and green were common. These, I point out, were not only the “natural” colors common to 1970s menswear but could also be found among the eggs of an Easter basket.
In the almost half century since leisure suits lined the sidewalks outside disco clubs, navigated their ways to the Steak & Ale bar or contributed their fashionable lapel piping to wedding tuxedos, they haven’t inspired a resurgence of interest.
I don’t know why.
But then I don’t know why you’d rip a perfectly good pair of jeans, either.
Bill Kirby has reported, photographed and commented on life in Augusta and Georgia for 45 years.
This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Bill Kirby: Fashion styles come and go and come back