Recently I was talking with some friends and colleagues about this, and we concluded that yes it does, at least in our case, but is this fair to say?
Like many of my colleagues, I grew up in an area and town that was quite small in size and outlook. This may sound unfair but I believe it may be truer of more places than we may think. The town in which I grew up, which shall remain nameless to protect the innocent and myself, was a small rural town with a population of around ten to twelve thousand inhabitants. The town had no great appeal, few visitor or tourist attractions, no retail district to speak of and no shopping mall. The residents were mostly middle-aged through to retirements and children younger than “leaving for college” age. It had a small town mindset too.
There were few who felt able to really be distinctive, at least as far as fashion was concerned, to be individual. The young people of the town had a look. “Cool Britannia” was the age I grew up in, in this UK town. Actors, rock stars, and middle-of-the-road (and price) influences suggested how we dressed, and a look at the town centre on a weekend suggested as much. This influence spread but as a whole, people, with very few, small differences, all dressed the same. If you took a chance to be more creative, free or individual with your look you left yourself open to mock and ridicule, even if you were considered “cool”. There were no real local trend setters, and as times changed, collectively we all did likewise.
Moving to a bigger, more cosmopolitan city, where fewer people per populous knew me, gave me the confidence and freedom to wear what I wanted and often just as importantly when I wanted. As I’ve stated before, this may be seen as more of a reflection of one’s self, but I think it can be somewhat justified in many of us.
As I have got older too, I feel less restricted about what I wear and, truth be told, less concerned about what others may think of my attire. True circumstance and finance have played their part in this makeover too, but today I can say with full confidence, I like what I wear. I’m not trying to make a statement, pretend to be anything, or follow a trend needlessly. I wear what I feel is comfortable and I’m comfortable in what I wear.
The age we live in now may be all about retro looks of the past blended with styles of today. We see fashion from all points of the 20th Century walking down any busy city street. Hair styles, clothing, footwear and accessories. Over 100 years of styles and influences to pick and choose from and find what works for you. Are these fashions we choose from original to begin with? Unlikely, but the point is we have the choice, and what range we have.
Regardless of what, if any, “look” we may be trying to find or achieve, now is perhaps the best time to do it, and that will only improve, but where we decide to do this may always be hampered by the times.