As we make our way through 2019, it becomes clear that the turbulent times of 2018 have been replaced by something softer, underscored by a quiet confidence. Where last year’s fashion was dominated by tones of burgundy, mustard and deep blue, playing off of the contrastive nature of the three primary colors, 2019 is the year of beige-on-beige, accompanied by muted earth tones and coral accents.
It’s well-known that fashion trends tend to re-emerge in 20-year cycles, following the timeline by which established designers are able to draw upon their own nostalgia. While past years have seen the return of mid-’90s staples like Doc Martens, flannels and crop tops, we are quickly approaching the 40-year anniversary of the ‘80s, and the proof is in the pantsuits.
‘80s business wear is finally coming back into vogue, with traditionally masculine silhouettes being re-imagined into something evocative of confidence, strength and unwavering solidarity. Layered tones of beige are grounded and understated, countering beautifully against simple, flowing whites. Colors of earth answer our collective yearning for soft comfort after a year marked by universal uncertainty, while statement pieces and the embrace of androgynous energy sway us away from complacency.
The ‘80s saw an explosion of youth culture, with films like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and “The Breakfast Club” and Twisted Sister’s 1984 hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It” promoting youth rebellion, and a shift from the status-quo. It’s fitting then, that these same social trends have been echoed through our generation’s participation within movements like Black Lives Matter, #MeToo, and the Women’s March. 2019’s trends evoke the same youth accord embodied by the social rebellion of the ‘80s, translated in the context of modern day action.
Fashion is a reflection of the culture in which it is found. The emergence of subdued hues of tan and brown are representative of cohesion and clarity, rather than a muted message or restrained revolution. With workwear comes work, and with big hair and bigger dreams, there is plenty of work to be done.