Retro fashion and culture redefined
text: Kellie Miller
Tanita Jha rummages through her mom’s closet in an attempt to find a stylish yet comfortable sweater to wear. “It’s funny because two or three years ago I would have made fun of her and (been) like, ‘Why are you wearing this?’” Jha said, “but now I’m wearing them, so she always makes fun of me for that.”
A variety of “old school” trends are re-emerging and infusing with today’s fashion trends, creating an era that comes off as classic with its own twist.
Wearing leggings, a band T-shirt, a teal zip-up hoodie and knock-off Doc Martens, Jha, a freshman undeclared major, said she would describe her style as “comfy” and that her favorite pieces to wear are boots, high-waisted shorts and vintage sweaters from her mom’s closet.
Jha said she tries to buy clothing from thrift stores such as Goodwill and Savers because they are inexpensive and an easy way to recreate old fashion styles.
“I really like M.I.A.’s style (because) she’s crazy, but mostly I’ll see stuff on other people or I’ll see stuff online,” Jha said regarding her style inspiration. “I don’t want to say I make up everything because that would be a lie, but I try to be unique.”
Initially Jha thought people were trying to be different by wearing old school fashion trends, but observed that being “different” suddenly became “in.”
“I think that trends cycle,” said Kyle Rogan, a junior psychology major. “Older trends become ‘cool’ and people put their own spin on them. Someone sees it and tries to emulate it and that goes on until it is a completely different style.”
Rogan said he would describe his style as “clean cut” and that he likes to wear bow ties, windbreakers and tigers (shoes). By putting a “spin” on older trends, Rogan creates a personal, signature look.
Rogan said he gets style ideas from many sources, such as Tumblr, but for the most part, he wears what he wants and doesn’t feel like he fits into a specific style niche.
Nichelle Aguilar, a senior child development major, said people have told her that her style is a mixture of a hipster, a hippie, an old lady, a little kid and Zooey Deschanel.
“I’ve dressed like this since high school because it’s simple,” she said.
When shopping, Aguilar said she looks for pieces that are fun, form-fitting and strange. She pulled out what she called her “weirdest” outfit: a gray sweater dress covered in a pattern of multicolored letters of the alphabet.
Aguilar said she pairs dresses with Doc Marten boots, once popular in the ‘60s and worn by postmen, police officers and factory workers.
“They’re manly but I love them because they go with anything,” she said.
Like Doc Martens, combat boots, whether “tall, short, zip-ups or lace-ups” are “everywhere,” said Melody Makhfi, a cashier at Forever 21.
Makhfi said elements of the ‘90s are pushing their way back into the fashion world. From high-waisted bottoms and crop tops, the style of Kelly Kapowski from Saved by the Bell is returning.
Makhfi also said ‘80s “punk” trends like band T-shirts along with motorcycle jackets, forest green items, army coats and acid wash jeans are in style, along with the “rock ‘n’ roll look,” which includes layering, leather, patches, studs and spikes — something she called “old school Madonna.”
Students like Joel Renshaw, a senior kinesiology major, said his favorite bands inspire his style, notably the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
“I respect them and their music so I use them as one of the values that dress me,” Renshaw said. He said his clothing choices often depend on his mood and that he uses his personal values and beliefs to create his style.
“I think some old school trends are making a comeback because ‘old’ is the new ‘new,’” Renshaw said. “Since the old school trends are not around anymore, bringing them back would be new and different than the current norm.”