“In an age of comfort dressing and high-street fashion, is the most extravagant and beautifully crafted of garments nearing extinction?”
In a story gracing the glossy pages of Australia’s September Vogue issue, Kinvara Balfour, muses over this depressing notion.
Could it be possible that fashion, as we’ve grown up to know it from fairytales and old Hollywood films, is on its way out?
Balfour reminisces on times of taffeta, silk, and tulle coming to life in extraordinary creations by the likes of Saint Laurent, De La Renta, and Dior.
‘Architectural masterpieces,’ with poofy underskirts, hand-beading, and immaculate attention to detail worn by Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor, have been replaced by oversized shirts worn as dresses, paired with thigh high boots.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m team Kardashian/Rihanna style till forever, but there is something to be said about the dying art of dressing up.
I wore sweatpants in public one day in my life – I was honestly too hungover to function – but thinking back on it makes me cringe.
However, no one batted an eyelash at my messy outfit, because wearing sweats in public has become the rule not the exception.
While Balfour’s ‘For the love of ballgowns’ was a wistful ode to the bygone days of haute couture, New York Post columnist Elisabeth Vincentelli’s piece ‘For the love of god, stop dressing like crap,’ is more in tune with my shared thoughts on our generation’s take on acceptable casual clothing.
From Broadway shows to Opera houses, it appears nowhere is sacred.
Those who show up to pricey musicals in crocs and khakis shouldn’t necessarily be shamed for their outfit choices, but it speaks volumes of how lazy we have become as it relates to fashion.
People wear pajamas to the airport.
Jeans and T-shirts at work are becoming the norm.
It’s a rarity to find a restaurant left with an enforced dress-code.
We don’t need to wear ballgowns to the office, or “gloves to pick up milk and bread, like they did in the 1950s,” but I think things have tipped a little too far in the other direction.
All you need to do is open a photo-album of your grandparents to see how differently society felt about clothes in decades before. Men and women, of all socioeconomic classes, wore immaculate and tailored pieces outfitted to fit them perfectly.
Clothes cost more, but were made better – both in fabric and fit.
Fast-fashion powerhouses like Forever21 and H&M have seen the demise of the seamstress. I’m totally guilty of buying 10 items at once because I can’t get over the great prices, but then regret it a month later when half the shirts have ripped.
It seems hand-crafted gowns are saved for award shows or weddings.
When I first arrived in Australia I was confused by the enforced tailored uniforms worn by students, but thinking back to my own high school, where kids wore dirty t-shirts and checkered pajamas pants, I can see the appeal.
I’m not a snob, but dressing nicely – note not expensively – is a dying practice that I strongly believe should make a comeback.
As Vincentelli concludes, “if you dress better, you’ll feel better,” and I must agree.