Fashion is Cyclical

I often wonder if the saying ‘history repeats itself’ was actually meant for fashion. Everything we wear or have worn comes from some prior inspiration- and that can go as far back as Antiquity and beyond! Fashion is cyclical. Don’t believe me? Send me an image of any clothing item, and I’ll root it back to its beginning. I will!

Mostly all garments, textiles and their styles have their beginnigs in Antiquity. Take the draped look of ancient Greece for instance.

The draped style keeps coming back, over and over again. It makes a come back with Fortuny’s Delphos look in 1909- but this time with a twist: Fortuny is acclaimed for being the one who invented the ‘plisse’ (permanent pleats).

The draped style continues to reappear in almost every decade. What about in the 2000’s? Yep it’s come back. Just look at Dior’s 2020 collection. And- note that along with the Greek inspiration, there’s a touch of Fortuny in here as well for the pleating!

And how does it trickle down to today’s shopping? Take a look at this Anthropology dress for example. There is definitely a feel of Ancient Greece; Fortuny pleating; the Empire style of Regency…and take a look at those Victorian inspired cuffs!

Now let’s be clear, when we talk inspiration, this doesn’t mean that we ONLY keep on reproducing the very same looks over and over again. Sometimes it’s just one or more elements of a style- sometimes it’s in the accessories- that we retrieve what’s been done in the past ( as we clearly see the evolution in the last pic above). This is what keeps fashion moving forwards. We take inspiration from what was done and tweak it to our times, our culture, our society (more on this in my last post: Why We Wear What We Wear).

Here’s my own personal example of styling through several historical inspirations.

You can see the cuff look was inspired from the Victorian era:

The belted look from the Musketeers! And the flocked tights which look almost embroidered taken straight from the late 19th century where everything had to match. Red, or shades of red was also very in.

Inspiration through interpretation is at the base of fashion. And it’s precisely because fashion is cyclical that sustainability makes so much more sense to apply within our styling, don’t you think? Re-wearing, and taking good care of what we already own helps give our clothing a longer life. When clothes are of good quality and well-maintained they last longer- so that you can rewear them in the future. It makes so much sense!

I encourage you to delve into your closet and wear those treasures that are hanging out in there. And if it’s not in style right now- trust that it will come back eventually. It always does.

What special pieces lurk in your closet? Meet me in the comments.

6 thoughts on “Fashion is Cyclical

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  1. Fascinating post. I fully agree fashion is cyclical. I often wonder if anything “new” will ever emerge, or if everything possible has already achieved.

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