It’s So Out It’s In Again

At some point in the late 1990s, when flared-leg jeans were getting popular, all the adults in my life starting talking about how they never thought they’d see bell-bottoms make a comeback. At the time, I thought they were being ridiculous. These were flares not bell-bottoms, why couldn’t they get with it?

Well! What goes around comes back around–as they say in the world of Justin Timberlake–and I’ve now reached an age where I’m witnessing the rebirth of fashion trends from the days of yore (yore being my youth in this case). It’s a weird feeling, and more than a little unsettling. I don’t think of myself as a particularly fashionable person, but I do think I have a handle on what’s aesthetically appealing and what, generally, people tend to consider stylish (it’s one of those “I know it when I see it but I can’t be relied upon to produce it for myself” sort of situations. I’m sure you know what I mean). That’s why I’m having a hard time (not to mention becoming aware of my progressing age) understanding some of the latest looks.

Exhibit A: Ombre.

When ombre made its first pass (that I know of, anyway), I felt I wasn’t really cool enough to get away with wearing it. I also didn’t really have any idea how I would pair it with anything. Seen on flowy skirts and all kinds of shirts, there was something about the effect that seemed novel and soothing; that being said, I didn’t really miss it when it disappeared. And now it’s back. It’s also everywhere. Manicures. Dye jobs. Clothing (obvs). Every other crafty project on Pinterest. No wedding is complete without an ombre cake. It’s supposed to have a fresh, new look to it. But every time I see it, all I can think of is the ’90s.

Exhibit B: Chambray

Technically, I guess chambray never really went anywhere; however, no one could possibly deny that its popularity has sky-rocketed recently. Why? I don’t know. Sometimes these things just happen, like acts of God. There’s something about it that just screams ’80s to me, and that something keeps me from jumping on the chambray bandwagon. It might be the most comfortable fabric known to humankind. I’ll never know because I’ll never be able to bring myself to wear it. For all of you trend-lovers out there, though, you’ll be relieved to know that you can get an ombre chambray shirt. Don’t worry, there’s no need to thank me for bringing that to your attention.

Exhibit C: Cut-outs

Sometimes they’re attractive. But lately they’ve taken on a form that they once possessed back in the early ’90s and every time I see it, I can’t even. This is the trend that I find most disturbing. Maybe it’s because I once witnessed a neighbor of mine (a crazy neighbor) frenetically shaking the dust off a mop while leaning out of a third-story window in her house, wearing a turtleneck with large cut-outs on the shoulders. When you’ve seen something like that, I think it’s reasonable to never see that sort of item in a neutral light ever again.

It’s clear that the times are a-changin’ and I’m failing to change with them. But there’s something oddly comforting about being able to step back, look at what people are wearing, and think, “Oh yeah, I remember that from before. And now it just looks silly.”

By Emilie

Runner, yogini, knitter, Manhattanite in spite of myself. Also blogging at

16 replies on “It’s So Out It’s In Again”

You mean those weird, Chambray shirts and dresses and APRON DRESSES I have from the cheapo thrift place for messy work are trendy? o_0 I just thought they made good messy work (painting, cooking/baking, gardening, crafting) wear. . .

I like Subtle Ombre in select styles. But there’s SO much bad Ombre out there. . .

HOWEVER, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this one type of obre that does from a color to clear in dining wear. It’s mainly in vintage glass wear. . .

 tangerine-clear obre glass pitcher with cups
I actually had/have this one, with a matching punch bowl a la the following:

Large aqua-clear ombre vintage glass ware set

I also had a pitcher in the above aqua color, but in a more triangular shape.

It’s my favorite type of glass ware. I never thought I’d collect glass wear but. yeah.

However, if you have a cotton long or cap sleeve scoop neck ombre green shirt like the one in the back of my closet that I can’t bring myself to throw out? UM. (Warning: I loved the 90s, and was so sad and lost when I finally hit middle school/high school and the 90s fashions were over.)

I AGREE WHOLE HEARTEDLY ABOUT THE CUT OUTS THOUGH. I recently saw some bathing suits that reminded me of a cut out rainbow leopard print one piece bathing suit I had in the early 90s. WHY BRING BACK THOSE EYE SORES PEOPLE? DEAR LORD WHY????

WANT.  Seriously, boot cut is not enough for my ridiculously wide hips.  I want me some serious, 60s/70s era bellbottoms.  Death to skinny jeans.

(Unless, of course, you are a person who enjoys skinny jeans.  You can enjoy them all you want.  Just…don’t make ALL the jeans in the store skinny jeans, please.  Some of us look ridiculous in them.)

skinny jeans are a terrifying creation imo especially if you’re like me and quite curvy with massive thigh muscles — they do me no service and therefore I think they should be banned from society! (of course there are women out there who loom amazing in them).

I remember thinking that even though the 70’s and the 40’s came back the eighties never would.  I was so wrong. I hate seeing tight leggings with short shirts.  The long tunic dresses are great with them but your shirt needs to cover the belly.


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