The History of Rock and Roll Fashion — Part Five

The 90s and Today

It’s interesting that I had to write “and today” to describe the first decade of the twenty-first century.  I’m still amazed that we never gave this decade a name.  As we move farther and farther away from it, how will radio stations describe their music?  “Playing all the hits from the eighties, nineties and the first decade of the twenty-first century…”

We are now several years into the second decade of the twenty-first century and we don’t seem to be naming this one either.   Maybe it’s because there’s just no money to be made in naming decades.  In the last twenty years we’ve seen corporations put their names on everything from Thanksgiving day floats to renaming baseball parks (take me out to the ball game, take me out to Minute Maid Field…)

Naming decades helps people, but we’re not going to do it until someone can make a buck off of it.  So for the sake of society, maybe we should just let corporations start naming time itself.  Then at least we can all have an easier job discussing the first twenty years of this century. Me:  Did we go to Hawaii in the last year of the Bank of Americas?  My husband:  No, actually it was the first year of the Nabiscos

Maybe that’s a little too cynical and depressing to think that’s what we’ve become in America.  Maybe instead we should just blame Kurt Cobain.Mom_Fashion_Kurt_Cobain

Kurt Cobain ushered in “grunge” fashion in the nineties – a look marked by torn jeans, ratty t-shirts, bad flannels and bed head.  Sure, eighties fashion was awful with it’s shoulder pads and neon colors, but at least people were trying.  The nineties we all just seemed to give up.  Hey, everybody, what if we all stop showering and only change clothes every few days?  Sounds like a planMom_Fashion_GrungeThings only got worse in the Bank of Americas (the first decade of the twenty-first century) when hip hop artists brought in the now famous, underwear showing look…

How can anyone even find their car, let alone name a decade, dressed like this?Mom_Fashion_Baggy_Trousers

If I’ve learned anything studying rock and roll style through the years, it’s the magnitude of power musicians have, and not just by their music, but by their fashion.  What we wear shapes how we feel, so what rock stars wear ends up shaping the cultural mood.

Is this good news or bad news?  Good, mostly.  The good news is that large faceless corporations are still not the driving force in our lives.  We are still connected as a society and we still influence each other in big and sometimes great ways.

The bad news is that Katy Perry has complete and total power over all of us… and there’s nothing we can do about it.Mom_Fashion_Katy_Perry

1 Comment

  • Alison says:

    Years were sponsored by corporations in the novel Infinite Jest, e.g. “Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment.”

    There, I commented on the correct post this time. =] Sorry for being creepy!

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