Last week on Saturday we had a themed night at church for the young adults’ group. It was themed “blast from the past”. In order to dress the part I needed to go on Google and search for ladies’ different attire from the 50s to the 80s. I must say I enjoyed looking back at fashion from decades past.
During the course of the week, my mother and I were watching a movie on the TCM channel and we came across a movie made in 1948. My mother turned to me and said “hembe dzakudhara dzanga dzakanaka” [clothes from back in the day were lovely.] I absolutely concurred with her. From the young ladies to the women in the movie and even the men, everyone was well-dressed. The men were well groomed with their beards shaved off and their hair slicked back. They looked like perfect gentlemen.
As for the women, they were such ladies, in their skirts and blouses and dresses. The red lipstick was fashionable then, except that its application extended to slightly over the boundary lines of the lips. I did not like that because it looked as though the lips had been bleeding.
The hair was worn in big curls, part of the hair that is, not the whole head. It looked fascinating. The brogues, worn with socks and paired with a three-quarter length skirt, was a look I could not see myself wearing. Why the socks?
The women I found online were beautiful. Think Diana Ross with the big hair and the dark eye liner and mascara. I loved the accessories too: the bangles, the necklaces and big earrings. The big hoop earrings looked fabulous with the afro. I would give anything to have that kind of hair. I like the way the hair covered the forehead. Some of the earrings were too chunky, but the hoop earrings are timeless. The button earrings are still fashionable to date. The afro covered part of the face. Head scarves were popular too, tied to the side or folded and tied in the front.
They wore make-up tastefully. Eye-shadow was not so popular. The lips were either bright or dark, sort of like Cleopatra.
Then there were the 70s with the bell-bottom pants, floral shirts and blouses and the long hair, more for the white folk though. The chunky heeled shoes were hideous, though walking in them must have been a lot more comfortable. Men and women dressed similarly with the bell-bottom trousers and floral shirts that had really pointed collars and were opened wide.
The shift dresses and miniskirts were popular in that era too though they are making a comeback. I looked at some of my mother’s photographs and noticed how she and her friends wore short dresses and skirts in which they could walk about freely. She says back in her day men were not as perverted as they are nowadays. Rape was not as prevalent as it is these days. I suppose most women wore minis, so it did not look unusual.
It is true what they say about there being nothing new under the sun. We have seen most of today’s fashion before. It may be tweaked here and there, for example, shoulder pads are smaller, red lipstick is back except it is applied to just the lips. Wide leg pants are back, so are skinnies which were more of a hippy look even for men and the high waist skirt. Makes you wish your mom had kept some of her clothes and you could repurpose it and be back in style!