Avon posted a story about the return of “old fashioned glamour.” While I love the womanly look — shapely skirts, dramatic make-up, and spiked heels, I wonder whether this trend is a positive one.
Beauty and fashion historians (e.g., Valerie Steele) have linked different looks to the social and economic state of the country. The womanly look of the 50’s is correlated with the ambitions of Americans at the time, namely, social, economic, political growth. Family values reigned supreme and women were expected, first and foremost, to manage their families. It’s no surprise that during Reagan’s presidency fashions again accentuated the female curves, as Regan’s agenda included (among a glorification of capitalism and global supremacy) “women in traditional female roles” (Dress Codes, Ruth Rubinstein).
So what should we read into this trend? Are we telling ourselves we should return to the past? Maybe.
But perhaps the popularity of this look is a reflection of:
(1) a greater appreciation for womanly bodies (Who doesn’t love Christina Hendricks from Mad Men?)
(2) Women’s response to the greater, more powerful roles we have in all spheres of life – social, economic, political.
In other words, maybe the womanly look isn’t a throwback at all but rather a sign that we HAVE “made it” because we can now openly appreciate what makes us different from men — our womanliness.
Phew, I would hate to have to toss my spikes!