A style that is popular in a given time and place is known as
a fashion. The term is most often used in talking about
clothing. It can, however, be applied to a wide variety of
other things—haircuts, household decorations, and
automobiles, to name just a few.
Fashion influences different people to different
degrees. Some people—especially those in the public eye—
spend a lot of time and money on fashion. It is important to
them to try to stay up-to-date. A businessperson who works
closely with clients may be more concerned with suit styles
than one who spends much of the day alone. Some people do
not like to be bothered with worrying about fashion. They
may focus more on buying things they can afford or things
they truly like.
Changes in fashion
Fashion is always changing, but not always at the same
speed. Some items may lose their appeal quickly. Others
may be in fashion for a longer amount of time.
Manufacturers welcome change because it creates a demand
for new products. For example, if striped sweaters were
popular last year, a customer might not bother to buy a new
sweater this year if stripes are still popular. But if solid-
colored sweaters are in fashion this year, the customer
worried about being in style would want to buy this new
piece of clothing.
It is not uncommon for something that once was
popular to come back into fashion again. Bell-bottom pants,
beanbag chairs, and long hair on men are a few trends that
have gone in and out of style in more than one generation.
Influences on fashion
Fashion shows exhibit clothing, hairstyles, makeup,
and jewelry. Most people cannot afford the items displayed
by top designers at shows in places like France, Italy, and
New York. However, sometimes designers sell their ideas to
manufacturers. Companies then make large quantities of
cheaper versions of the same type of items to sell to the
People often turn to the media for their fashion cues.
Movies, television shows, and books are some of the sources
that inspire trends. Many magazines are devoted to showing
the newest fashions. In the 1800s Godey's Lady's Book was
well known for its fashion drawings and engravings of houses
and interior decoration plans. Vogue (for women) and
Gentleman's Quarterly are just two of the many publications
that keep readers informed of fashion trends.
Famous people throughout history have influenced
fashion as well. Women in the early 1960s sported pillbox
hats and bouffant hairdos in the style of Jacqueline
Kennedy, wife of U.S. President John F. Kennedy. After the
1976 Olympics, hairdressers received many requests for the
wedge cut of figure-skating gold medalist Dorothy Hamill.
The popular television show Miami Vice led many men in the
1980s to wear a t-shirt underneath a sport coat. The 1990s
had men in Air Jordan shoes as they tried to be like
basketball star Michael Jordan.
Historical events also influence fashion. As more
women went into industrial work during World War II (1939–
45), slacks and shorts became common. This clothing
allowed free movement and was safer than dresses around
machinery. Equality movements of the 1960s made many
people favor simple clothing such as basic jeans. This
relaxed style fit in with the idea of treating people the same
regardless of race, sex, or class.