Street Trends & High Fashion

Zoot Suits

Zoot suit is a high waisted, wide-legged pants and a long coat with wide lapels and large shoulder pads.  This was a popular fashion in the 30’s and 40’s in the US among African Americans. In the picture below, actor Edward James Olmos is wearing a zoot suit in the play, El Pachuco in which he performed in1978.

John Galliano designed a attire for his Spring 2002 collection which was inspired by the zoot suit.  The yellow plaid double vested suit was very well put together.  He used the concept several other times in the follow years.

Christian Dior is another famous designer who also used the zoot suit concept in the Fall 2008 menswear collection. The drape pleated high waisted pant was key to the attire.

Teddy Boys

Teddy Boy was a style of clothing designed by Savile `Row around the time of the World War II.  This style was inspired by the Edwardian era.  The style consists of long drape jacket, high waisted pants and skinny ties.  In the picture below from the 1950’s shows the fashion.

Comme Des Garcons featured the teddy boy look in the Fall 2005 collection.  The cropped pants and draped jacket was a perfect fit for the look.  The look is very much young professional yet trendy.

Here is yet another teddy boy look by Commes des Garcon in the Winter 2009 collection.  This one is a bit closer to the original teddy boy look in regards to the fitted high legged pants and bright color jacket with the hat.


The beatnik goes back in the 60’s and 70’s when the band was in its prime.  It would be safe to say the beastnik group is devoted fans and those who have passion for music.  Below is a picture of the band from the 60’s expression their fashion style.

In the Fall 2008 collection Marc by Marc Jacobs portrayed the beatniks look using oversized houndstooths patterns, frilly dressed with tights and funky hair-dos.  Along with these characteristics he added in the pastel and bright colors of compliment the stereotype.

Mui Mui’s Fall 2005 collection is another example of the beatniks fashion.  The white button up shirt, black A-line skirt and platforms resemble the early 60’s fashion.  The large overcoat reminds is similar to a boyfriend coat that girls will often wear.


Mods are those who are well dressed, rich urban youngsters and portray the clean look.  The term derived from England in late 50’s and were originally identified as having well tailored clothing that fit close to the body.

Brit Luella Bartley’s presented the mod fashion in Spring 2006 with the pin-thin pants, crisp blouses and plastic shades.

Philip Lim in his Fall 2009 use the mod style with the tailored cape like suit, ruffle button down shirt and cropped pants.  The hair and the make-up really added an edge to the style.

Chloe’s Fall 2009 collection has a mod resembling piece that looked much like a modern character from the set of Star Wars.  The earthly colors complimented the leather textile to go with the look.


Young movement group that began in the US in 1960’s and rapidly spread around the world.  Hippies are known for their unique style as well as character.  They listen to psychedelic rock, embraced the sexual revolution, and used drugs such as marijuana and LSD to explore alternative states of consciousness.

In 2008 the infamous Karl Lagerfeld was spotted with Lindsay Lohan as she was all hippied out.  The long straight hair and the headband were the give away but her long back dress was also a good distinguishing factor.  Hippies are all about colors but Lohan dressed in all black show more modern hippie look.

Christophe Decarnin’s Spring 2008 collection seemed to be very hippie inspired with the tie-dyes and long dresses.  The long tall models also helped making the style more apparent.


Disco is a genre of dance music that originated in late 60’s early 70’s.  This fashion is all about mini skirts, bell bottom pants ruffle shirts and everything being very fitted with flashy colors.  It’s lively, upbeat and very colorful.  These people are always ready to dance and party.

Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring 2008 collection was so great that Beyonce work the flashy outfit for a stage performance.  The outfit had a complete disco feel from head to toe.

Naeem Khan’s disco collection of Spring 2009 was full of sequins and flashy colors to fit the theme.


The clothing, hairstyles and jewelry are all associated with punk rock feels.  Punk clothing was initially made at home and later were sold in store from which blew up to many retailers. They often wear heavy metal on their clothing or as jewelry, military or biker boots, and mostly dark clothing.

David Bitton put together a punk inspired Spring 2009 collection using metallic body suits, leather hand gloves and denim bootie shorts.  The dark eye make-up and lipstick really plays well with the look.

Vivienne Westwood’s Spring 2008 collection’s theme of punk was fierce.  The patterns and color combination was amazing.  The thorns on the head were high fashion.

Hip Hop

Hip hop fashion correlates with the hip hop much world and more specifically with the style of dress originating with African American youths.  This style was originated in the 80’s in larger cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Atlanta.  MC Hammer is an icon for hip hop fashion from the 80’s.  The fashion has changes dramatically over time now.

DSquared Fall 2009 collection used loose clothing to show the hip hop style.

Baby Phat’s Spring 2009 collection had a hit of hip hop style.  The jumper with below the bust belt was semi hip hop look however the large chain was a good touch.

The New Street Trend:

Military Jacket

Lately the military jacket has been a popular look for both men and women.  To state the obvious, the trend comes from military uniforms.  However people wear is as a casual jacket or even as a dressy blazer.

In the Summer 2009 collection Balmain presented a military jacket worn with skinny denim and a peasant like shirt.

D&G’s Fall 2009 used many different styles of military jacked in the collection.

Michael Jackson

It sounds really odd however the Michael Jackson look has been hitting the fashion runway.  Whether it’s because of his death or his legacy it’s been interesting to see.

Below is Balmain’s white glitter jacket for their Fall 2009 collection.

Gucci’s Spring 2009 collection with white hat suit, similar to the smooth criminal video.


Historical & Artistic Styles

Gladiator Shoes

Gladiators were Roman armed combatant that entertained the public and the empires by fighting animals and other gladiators.  They wore protective clothing and metal leg guards that ran from the thigh or knee to the bottom of the leg.  From this fashion moved towards gladiator sandals and heels.  Today the gladiator flats are a popular look.

Marilyn Monroe Piercing

Marilyn Monroe was an American actress, singer and model.  She was a beauty symbol and many idolized her.  She influenced the Monroe piercing which is a lip piercing placed off-center, above the upper lip and is meant to resemble her beauty spot.  This piercing became a huge fashion trend in the late 90’s and early 2000’s mostly among young girls.

Mandarin/Nehru Collar

The shirt up-fold collar on suits, button up shirts and jackets is a style that is influenced by the Chinese traditional costume as well as late prime minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru. Many designers have used that collar including Carl Largerfeld and also many military uniforms have the Mandarin/Nehru collar.


Mendhi is another world for henna.  It’s a temporary tattoo that is part of the South Asian cultures.  Mehendi decorations became fashionable in the West in the late 1990’s not only at temporary tattoo but also for permanent tattoo.  Many people like the intricate designs and have them tattooed on their ankles and/or back more often then any other locations on their bodies.

Dragon Print

Dragon is a symbol that several cultures/countries use to portray a significant meaning.  For example to Europeans the dragons are considered devils where as the Chinese dragon symbolized power and auspicious.  In regards to fashion Ed Hardy is a very well known designers that uses dragons in him artwork printing on this clothing.  It is completely taken out of context however it is a big part of his art.

Shakespeare Leggings

In the Shakespearean era men wore tunic like shirts with long leggings.  Today the fashion trend is almost the same however for women.  Countless designers style different colored leggings with long shirts, dresses, sweaters, etc.  It was a fashion trend in the 80’s and it has repeated itself today.

Vintage Leather Boots

Abstract paintings have been around for a while however in the modern décor they are used more then ever before.  The vintage abstract is seen a lot on leather today specifically on boots.  Steve Madden is one designer that uses the vintage distressed leather on boots that are quite fashionable.

Genealogy of Corset

Corset was originated in the early 16th century. It was a simple bodice made of ivory, wood, or metal. It was most often laced from the back, and was, at first, a garment reserved for the aristocracy. Both men and women wore corsets however over time it became more of a fashion for women.

16th Century:

Both men and women used artificial aids to alter their appearance. They wore structured doublets and metal corsets to shape their bodies to fit contemporary ideas of fashion. Below is a steel corset from the mid-16th century found in Italy.

16th centruy corset

18th Century:

The purpose of 18th century corsets was to emphasize the bust, while drawing the shoulders back. They often had shoulder straps to help pull them back. They were spiral lacked in the back and to tighten, the lacked had to be pulled back. Below is a corset found in the 18th century.

18th centruy corset

19th Century:
Corsets in the early 19th century lengthened to the hip, the lower tabs replaced by gussets at the hip. There was room was made for the bust in front with more gussets and the back lowered. The shoulder straps disappeared in the 1840s for normal wear. Below is a corset from the Victorian era.

19th centruy corset20th Century:
In the early 20th century corset reached its longest length. The longline corset at first reached from the bust down to the upper thigh. Corset that started under the busy was also a trend. This style was meant to complement the new silhouette. It was more like to modern style and more importantly it was a boneless style.

20th centruy corset

Corsets today come in many different forms such as with straps, strapless, body tight, bust tight, as tops and as dresses. Different designers used them for the slim look. The look emphasizes a curvy figure, by reducing the waist, and thereby exaggerating the bust and hips. The corset shape also has a sex appeal today and Victoria Secret often uses it for their lingerie. Below is a strapless corset from Guess.

Today corset

Historical Draped/Tailored Garments

Historical Draped:


Dhoti is a traditional/ancient is a rectangular piece of unstitched cloth, usually around 7 yards long, wrapped around the waist and the legs, and knotted at the waist.  Men have been wearing dhoti for generations in India.  The famous freedom fighter, Mahatma Gandhi was known for his dhoti as it was something he wore everyday or his life.


Belly Dancing Bedleh (Arabic for “suit”)

Belly dance is a Western term for a traditional Arab dance known as raqs sharqi.  The dancers wear a costume called bedleh. The bedleh style includes a fitted top or bra decorated with a fringe of beads or coins, a fitted hip belt and a skirt or harem pants.  The classic harem pants are full, draped and gathered at the ankle, but there are many modifications.  Sometimes pants and a sheer skirt are worn together.  Skirts may be flowing made with multiple layers of sheer fabric such as chiffon.

Belly Dance


The world famous Lady Liberty wears a stola.  Stola was the traditional garment of Roman women, corresponding to the toga that men wore.  In ancient Rome, it was considered disgraceful for a woman to wear a toga; wearing the male garment was associated with prostitution.  The stola was a long, pleated dress, worn over a tunic and generally had long sleeves.


Tailored Garments:

SS Uniforms

Uniforms have been a big part of history all around the world.  SS Uniforms have been a important part of the World War II.  The SS Uniforms were used between 1925 and 1945 to differentiate that organization from the regular German armed forces, the German state, and the Nazi Party.  The tailored uniforms had stripes, armbands, and patches to differentiate the rankings.


Salwar Kameez

Salwar kameez is a traditional dress worn by both women and men in South Asia. Salvar are loose pajama-like trousers. The legs are wide at the top, and narrow at the ankle. The kameez is a long shirt or tunic.  These come in many different colors and print patterns. Salwar kameez cannot be traced back to it’s origin; however10th century cotton shirts recovered from the Egyptian desert are cut much like the traditional kameez.



A burka is an outer garment worn by women in some Islamic traditions for the purpose of cloaking the entire body.  The burka is sewn looking like a long robe.  Over decades burkas have become a fashion trend among the Islamic women and are not custom tailored as well as designed by famous designers.


Six Functions of Dress

Environmental Protection

Eskimo is an American Indian word which translates to “eaters of raw meat.”  Initially they came to live in four countries; Russia, United States (Alaska), Canada and Greenland.  To protect themselves from the extreme arctic weather, animal skins provided clothing.  Back in the day these clothing were mostly self, man made.  The animal skin included seal, polar bear, or even Arctic fox.  Styles varied from different parts of the world however all wore a hooded jacket, trousers or leggings, socks, boots, and mittens.  Their clothing consist several layers with air in between to keep body heat in and allowed perspiration to evaporate.



There were many tribes located in different parts of Africa, North and South America and Asia.  Each tribe has a different lifestyle, different beliefs and gods.  Some tribes use masks or face paint during occasions such as a funeral to create fear and take evil spirits away from the village.  Some other purposes would be for hunting, religious reasons, and military reasons.


Gender Differentiation

A saree is a garment worn by females in India.  It’s a nine meters in length wrapped around the waist in many different styles.  The saree is worn over a petticoat and a blouse forming the upper garment.  The sarees can be made from cotton, polyester, silk, chiffon, georgette and have hand embroidery, sequences, stone work and or screen print for designs.


Group Membership

Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was a hate group organization in the United States whose purpose was to protect the rights white Americans by violence and intimidation.  The group was formed in 1865 in Tennessee.  To differentiate themselves from other they wear a white robe with a long cone shaped hood that covered their face with only their eyes showing.



In several Asian cultures, during a funeral ceremony everyone is suppose to wear all white clothing.  Everyone wears their traditional clothing but in all white color.  This is because white is symbolic of death, heaven, purity.  Certain colors such as red are forbidden because in the Chinese culture red symbolizes happiness while in the Indian and Pakistani culture red symbolized life.


Sexual Enhancement

Every year the Victoria Secret’s fashion show is something many people look forward to.  For men their sole purpose is to see the attractive sexy women that model on the runway.  They are all beautiful however it’s also the clothing they wear whether it’s a swim suit or lingerie.  This picture was from the 2009 Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show.


New York Fashion Week – Spring 2010

Pamella Roland’s Spring 2010 Collection presented at the New York Fashion week was beautiful.  The gowns were gorgeous with rich trims.  I really liked the fading colors she used in a lot of her pieces and the sheer fabrics.  The draping was outstanding and well fit.  Her suits were sophisticated and trendy.  I liked the fact that she didn’t use square shoulders like many other designers.  Although the square shoulders are coming back I personally think they shouldn’t!  Roland’s collection over all was one of the best collections of the week.

Fashion From Seven Eras of World History

Ottoman Empire (Islam, 1299 – 1923)

Turkish Empire empowered much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia and North Africa.  The men wore turbans with long layered gowns with a scarf around with neck, while the women would cover their head with a long scarf that would drape over their shoulder.  A blouse and umbrella skirts was a part of the daily wear.

Ottoman Empire

Colonial Era (America, 1500 – 1754)

European nations came to the Americas to increase their wealth.  Men with their long curled hair wore their long over coat with legging like tights and half pants.  The women wore the fitted from the waist big umbrella shaped long gowns.

Colonial Era

Mughal Empire (India, 1526 – 1857)

An era where Islamic and Persianate invaded and ruled most of Hindustan (South Asia).  An era of when the Taj Mahal was built.  The clothing was rich, royal, colorful and heavily worked with gems and stones.  Both the men and women accessorized in heavy jewelry.

Mughal Empire

Qing Dynasty (China, 1644 – 1912)

Qing was the last ruling dynasty of China as it expanded into proper China and its surrounding territories.  The clothes were elegant, poised, and glorious showing rank and lifestyle. Many robes were made in embroidered golden satin and trimmed with floral ribbons and frogs for closure while others included the dragon motif together with a decorative representation of the Chinese conception of the cosmos.

Qing Dynasty

Victorian Era (United Kingdom, 1837 – 1901)

An era of the United Kingdom was the period of Queen Victoria’s reign from June 1837 until her death.  The fashion was fancy, frilly, lacey, classic elegance and beautiful fabrics; however it was also the era of feminine underclothing.  This consisted of long lace-trimmed white muslin “drawers”, a flannel petticoat in winter, the petticoat of calico, quilted and reinforced with whalebone, and several starched, checked, striped or white muslin petticoats with more flounces.

Victorian Era

Meiji Period (Japan, 1868 – 1912)

During this time, Japan started its modernization and rose to world power status.  During this time industry methods and chemical dyeing techniques from the West began.  Students were permitted to dress in foreign-style clothes for the first time.  Sino-Japanese War began in 1894and during the war many Japanese women began working outside of their homes and this necessitated a different type of clothing than that typically worn indoors.

Meiji Period

Edwardian Era (United Kingdom, 1901 – 1910)

Era in the United Kingdom was the period covering the reign of King Edward VII after the death of his mother Queen Victoria.  The high collar, S bend corset, trained skirt and lavish hat all had an effect on the posture of an Edwardian lady.  The dresses were two pieces; the bodice was heavily boned and was almost like a mini corset itself worn over the S-bend corset.

Edwardian Era