When it comes to fashion, there is only 3 rules to live by:
1) Only spend serious money on shoes and bags – cause those are the items that experience the most wear and tear.
2) Always buy clothing in your proper size – one size too big and you’ll look frumpy and one size smaller and you’ll look like a squeezed sausage.
3) And finally: Accessories can either make or break your outfit. If you’re going for a punk rocker look, a velvet choker works well with a red plaid shirt, but a heavy diamonte necklace would just kill the vibe.
Here, #teamCLEO’s Fashion Writer talks about her favourites.
“Felicia, hold my purse.”
The roaring twenties saw the birth of Art Deco, the jazz scene and Chanel. Women started wearing their hair short, showing more skin and weren’t afraid to indulge.
In my head, I imagine the decade following the First World War to be a lot like The Great Gatsby — a long string of great parties.
In a time when the flapper dress just came about, the beaded evening bag soon followed suit. In retrospect, these purses might seem too dainty and small for a regular 21st century girl like you and I, but it painted a simpler time when all a lady needed to put in her bag was her lipstick, some change and maybe a couple of cigarettes and a lighter. It’s high time to ditch the bulky totes, leave the phones at home and do it like the flapper girls. Live in the now, Snapchat can wait.
“Where my headscarf at?”
WWII brought the world to a standstill. Young men packed their bags and were shipped to fight and serve their country, leaving their wives and children to fend for themselves. So what did the women do? They went to work! They got jobs in factories working with heavy machinery, unafraid to get their hands dirty. To boost work morale, the Americans produced a pin-up poster of a beautiful woman in working clothes, flexing her bicep, with the words, “We Can Do It” emblazoned across. Ta-dah, Rosie The Riveter is born!
Her red headscarf doubled as a fashion statement and necessity, proving that you can go to work, keep hair out of your face while looking hot as hell. I find myself channelling her signature look from time to time, but instead of Rosie, I’m more homegirl chola from the ’hood. But to be perfectly honest, I don’t mind since these female archetypes aren’t that different. Both are ruthless, tough and downright badass. And sometimes, that’s
exactly who you need to be.
“Girl, pass me my shades”
Growing up, there was a point in my life when I was obsessed with anything that had to do with the post-war era. The music, the films, the art, the fashion … I loved it all. Think of any movie that came out of the ’50s and there’s usually a panning shot of a woman sitting in a convertible, with her hair wrapped in a headscarf and her eyes shielded from the sun in dark cat-eye sunglasses.
“Gotta slap it on that choker”
She is the epitome of glam and my life goals, and I’m not the only one who can’t get enough of her — season after season, designers are inspired by this vintage frame and reproduce the classic shape with their own spin; from studs to colour block and prints, the winged eye adds a touch of glam on your worst days. Which goes to show no matter what year it is, there’s always time to be a cool cat.
Born in the years leading up to the big Y2K, you’d think that I would have witnessed ’90s fashion firsthand in all its glory, but unfortunately my only memories of the decade consist of Nickelodeon, Fruit Roll-Ups and Tamagotchi.
Luckily for me, there’s been a sudden revival of a particular trend from back then: The tattoo choker. I’m guilty of casually slapping it on when I’m feeling nostalgic.
First popularised by goths, this bendy, stretchy piece of plastic adds edge to any ensemble. In the big fat family of accessories, it’s equivalent to the black sheep; the rebellious middle child who just won’t listen and beats to their own drum. And like any black sheep, it never fails to surprise.
*Illustrations by Aisya Yusof