Watching trends come and go – The Oxford Eagle


Watch the trends come and go

Posted at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 16, 2022

By Bonnie Brown

I stopped in for lunch recently and while waiting for my order I had the opportunity to people watch. You know, sit back and watch the customers enter this busy establishment for lunch. Some ate in, while others like me got their order to go.

Enters a charming young woman who was attractive. Tall, but not too tall, with long, tousled black hair like she’d been in the wind or maybe she’d forgotten to brush it that morning. Then I noticed her outfit which consisted of what I would call a classic denim jacket paired with a short black skirt. My eyes were drawn to his jacket which clearly looked very worn, tattered in fact. So much so that I immediately felt sorry for her and thought I might offer to pay for her lunch when I noticed her shoes. Her VERY expensive boots! Oops! Yes, I finally realized the outfit matched the “grunge” look, or what I would have called the “after-school play clothes I wore as a kid and young teen.” It was tattered jeans or shorts, or worn and torn shirts. And it would have been a recently torn shirt because otherwise my mother would have sewn it up or patched it up.

In my time, my clothes were not expensive. In fact, my mother made most of my clothes. I would have been mortified if I had to wear to school something that was torn or looked old and tattered. But nowadays, this “style” is THE style! I laugh at the pair of casual pants I have that fall into the grunge style category. It took them almost 17 years to achieve this ragged and frayed look. Yes, they look like that because I’ve been wearing them for so long! And because I chose not to patch them or throw them away when they started showing wear. The “old” in me wanted to patch them up, but the “old” in me also wanted to show the world that I could be a part of this fashion trend.

I was so fascinated by this craze that I researched (aka Google) this fad and found websites detailing how to create the grunge look. In fact, I looked at several DIY sites that included box cutters, sandpaper, scissors, and tweezers to accomplish the look. I truly believe that I would be incapable of cutting into the fabric of a new garment to deteriorate it – or even cutting into the fabric of a used garment or a thrift store find.

Another thing I noticed about the young woman in the tattered jacket was the length of her skirt. It was actually quite short, especially since she was a tall young woman. I told myself that if she took a deep breath, everything would be revealed. And that seems to be the trend today too!

Keep in mind that this older person came of age in the late 60s when hot pants and go-go boots were all the rage. Think Twiggy. (For those of you unfamiliar with Twiggy, she was a British cultural icon and prominent teenage model in 1960s London. She was very thin, wore her hair quite short, with surprisingly dark eyelashes and was considered a model.) I’m no prude, but I think today’s dress code of skimpy outfits is absolutely against the definition of good fashion taste. It’s the “old man” in me, I guess.

I’ve seen many trends over my decades and have rarely, if ever, achieved the “in” look of the era. I can honestly say that the grunge look doesn’t appeal to me at all. I would much rather be comfortable than achieve today’s definition of being fashionable. I recently read something that said to me, “Good taste shares something with good style in that it involves visual harmony. I wonder if the young woman in the shabby, tattered jacket felt she had achieved “visual harmony?”

Bonnie Brown writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle. Contact her at


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