Anne Stewart Page logo

A Perspective of Fashion
By Anne Stewart Page

Today's Woman Magazine, Volume 16, Issue 2, February 2002, Page 18,19

I work in fashion and sometimes I think my career chose me. I fell into the manufacturing side of the business quite by accident. While working for an interior design group, a customer announced that he wanted to sell his drapery manufacturing business. It seemed like a natural fit, so I bought the business—five sewing machines, worktables, fabrics, and three existing employees made up the package.

This business evolved into a specialty sewing business that produced all type of products. My interest in clothing and new styles has continued, both professional and personally. I try to take fashion and adapt it to my own needs, creating a style of my own.

For me, I never really considered the true meaning of fashion, but have only known it from my own perspective and tastes. Therefore, to put together some useful thoughts on fashion, I recruited my dictionary friend, Webster, who says that fashion is a way of dressing that is currently accepted. It may refer to a specific item or piece of clothing, which may also be called a style. Okay, perhaps this is too literal, but essentially I would interpret this to mean that there is a current way that people dress, which changes. Think of it as a revolving door from season to season and year to year, but with variations each time. Wouldn’t it be boring if we passed each season or year without changing our wardrobe and style? Fashion puts life and zest into our everyday lives!

Now, to think about the word style, we can broaden our perspective a bit and consider an era, a group of people, home furnishings, etc. For example, the "style" of the 1920s conjures up images of the Flapper era—women who wore short, straight dresses without waistlines, hair in bobs, and dancing the Charleston. They are a part of the style of the 1920s.

A perfect example of a person with style is Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who had great personal style especially during John F. Kennedy's Presidency. Her pillbox hats, bouffant hair, fitted suits and dresses were widely recognized.

Today, fashion is a relevant and powerful force in our lives. It has developed into a multi-billion dollar industry, not only with clothing and accessories, but home decorations and furnishings. Many top designers have placed their logos in all these areas. Someday you may find yourself wearing a Martha Stewart dress. Why not since Ralph Lauren has moved into home decor?

Fashion is a target that keeps moving. Clothing style becomes fashionable when people accept it and goes out of style when they stop wearing it. The Industry revolves around planned obsolescence, but for the most part colors, moods, and trends return and recycle but with a new twist. The basic example is the rise and fall in skirt and dress lengths. Then again, there are other items out there that are trying to make a return—remember the leg warmers from the 1980s? A trendy shop in Washington, D.C. is now marketing it to the teens of today, who think leg warmers are "cool." And who would have imagined that bell-bottoms would return with such a force, but they have (with some differences of course) and have become a new style for a new generation.

Thus, as the new styles and fashions become a part of our wardrobe (a second time for some of us perhaps), some forecasts by fashion editors tell us what to look for this spring. They say that fabric prints reflect large florals to demure butterflies, which will complement a romantic look for spring. The Peasant shirt with ample sleeves, fine detailing and a loose waist will be popular, and the pant with a high waist and wide leg will add flair to a day or evening suit. Expect to see chiffon dresses with delicate beading and embroidery as well as modern ruffles, and new Bohemian trousers, which were seen on the catwalks in Paris and Milan. Colors that will be plentiful include burnt reds, lavender pinks and purples, chocolate browns, dusty grays, honey blends, and pearly whites.

So, this spring don't forget to pile on the colors, load up on the prints, and play with proportion. And why not fall in love with white, lace and ruffles again? It was fun the first time around, why not a second? Remember, excitement is in the air and it's time to get romantic!