Life is a catwalk: A retrospective look at fashion

WHY is it that fashion from 10 years ago makes us cringe, but as soon as you start to turn back the clock more than 20 years the styles become retrospectively more alluring?

I remember when I was about 15 years old, telling my mum that I was so glad I had only been a tot in the 80s. I told her that the music was vile and that I thought it was the worse decade for fashion, ever.

However, the past couple of years has seen me embrace shoulder pads, body con and even the haircut synonymous with the 80s – no, not the perm – the undercut.

There is something about distance. When I was a 15-year-old, we were just 10 years out of the 80s. Perhaps it was still too close-to-home to be cool. I wouldn’t dream of reviving my mid-90s wardrobe now (tracksuit anyone?), but will I in a few years’ time?

The big trend for spring/summer 2011 is the 70s, an era that I have always considered high on the fashion stakes – but in the 80s I’m sure if you flaunted 70s style you couldn’t have looked less chic.

Palazzo pants, high-waisted denim skirts, flares, maxi dresses, platforms, floppy hats – they are all back with a vengeance.

Even the colours are reminiscent – peaches, corals, browns, beiges and oranges all feature heavily both on the catwalks and on the high street.

I suppose the difference is today’s 70s look is inspired by the 70s, not an exact replica.

If you turned up in platforms with brown flared cords, a paisley top, Farah Fawcett hair, you probably wouldn’t look as stylish.

Maybe then, it just takes time for us to look back and appreciate the good bits about fashion from certain eras, and then just as selectively, forget the bad bits.