Deader Than Disco / Fashion

Fashion fads come and go in general. It's a scandal at first sight, scoffed as ridiculous, then is adored and adapted by those willing to try it, then it grows stale, and is eventually thrown away, replaced by another fad. And the previous fad stays in the closet for the next twenty years or so, cringing the times you once wore them until some tidbits of nostalgia make it popular again. In a nutshell, fads come and go with a vicious cycle.
  • It's been suggested for decades now that the fashion industry itself, or at least the fashion culture, is Deader Than Disco, at least in the form that people traditionally imagined it. Many clothing historians have said that the last true fashion "trend" - one that cut across all demographic, ethnic and class lines - was Christian Dior's "New Look" (sort of the mid-20th-century equivalent of the Pimped-Out Dress) which reigned supreme from 1947 to about 1954. Of course, the French bias comes into play here: the New Look was certainly the last major fashion trend to emanate from Paris, which had been the global center of haute couture for centuries up to that point. What can't be denied is that French fashion is dead, at least as an international force: major clothing designers now exist in every modern country and are largely culture-specific. This goes for French fashions themselves, which are seen (especially in the case of women's fashions) as much too showy and avant-garde for anyone except the French. The rise of "teen" fashions from The Fifties onward and "designer" brands beginning in The '70s also played prominent roles.
  • The Pimped-Out Dress of the 18th century. Powdered wigs, knee-breeches, ridiculously overdecorated dresses, wide-brimmed hats, beauty patches on powdered faces, just to name a few. They were predominant in Europe, the most in France, and the Americas, from the time of Louis XIV to The French Revolution. During that period, they were elegant and stylish, yet very ridiculous in extremes. The person who killed the fashion? Marie Antoinette, of all people, who was painted wearing a simple (in comparison) summer shift. (The difference was so extreme that at first many people thought Marie had been painted in her nightgown.) As the French Queen, Marie of course wore her share of pimped out dresses - because that was her job - but she preferred more simple clothing. Interestingly, the very Revolution that cut off her head took credit afterwards for the change.
  • Ditto for the farthingale, a type of pannier that was stylish during the XVI century and that was prevalent with variations in Spain for most of the next one, often complemented with no less overdecorated hair styles. Now it's mainly know by Velázquez' paintings (Las Meninas), modern imitations of his works, as well as souvenirs sold in Spanish gift shopsnote .
  • The Empire silhouette would not have existed without the simpler fashions of the 1780s paving the way, but the main influence for the style was classical antiquity, and in particular the paintings, sculptures, and bronzes being dug out of the ground at Pompeii. From the early 1800s until the 1820s, women in Western Europe put away their tight corsets and powdered wigs and instead donned long, loose, and high-waisted gowns sewn from multiple layers of muslin and linen. Hair was worn unpowdered and unfrizzed, instead being sleekly pulled back into a high bun, sometimes with loose ringlets at the temples. Older and more traditional persons were outraged by the new fashions, ridiculing them for their supposed indecency and flammability. After the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815 and the rise of Romanticism on the continent, the Empire style disappeared, replaced within a season by the nipped waist, low neckline, and wide skirt that came to define the early Victorian era. It wasn't until the 1880 that a style similar to the Empire silhouette returned, this time more as an accompaniment to the Neo-Classical era than as a memory of the past; even then, these styles only really became popular in the 1910s.
  • Silly Bandz were absolutely huge in the very early 2010s. But then a child injured his hand after wearing them for too long. After that, no one seemed to even talk about them anymore, let alone wear them anymore, plain and simple.
  • Phat pants, a particularly notorious offshoot of bell-bottoms, were quite popular in the late 1990s up until the early 2000s. Design-wise, they took the shape of bell-bottoms to the extreme — they were generally fitted at the waist, but grew wider and wider as they descended to the point where the bases actually obscured the wearer's shoes. Credit is largely given to ravers for popularizing them and the Nu Metal scene for spreading them much further, but when nu-metal died, bondage pants (Tripp in particular) took over until they also died off around the end of the 2000s. Phat pants have returned to active production in the wake of a general '90s revival, but it's too early to tell if they will overcome their "stuff that you wear with your badly-faded Ozzfest '01 shirt" stigma and make a comeback as anything more than a nostalgia-fueled curiosity.
  • When The Great Depression hit, it also made an impact on the lifestyles of The Flapper. Due to her hedonistic lifestyle, the gloomy atmosphere of the depression did not mix well with her, and in one season, she changed her wardrobe from a boyish drop-waisted silhouette to a longer, high-waisted, streamlined feminine curve, waved her slick bobbed hair, applied a more sensible layer of lipstick and eyeliner, and delighted in what a 1930s woman does. Of course, the flapper habits were still there, only more toned down and more sensible than outrageous.
  • The fashions of The Edwardian Era, with their high waists, flowingly slim silhouettes, velveteen kimonos, hobble skirts, harem pants, draped designs, feathered turbans, bright colours, and Oriental motifs, were considered exotic and revolutionary due to the endeavourous Edwardian sensibilities, Oriental exports, and the success of Paul Poiret removing the steel-boned s-bend corset from women's wardrobes. That said, if the 1810s was considered Groman, then the 1910s was considered byzantine due to its exotic flavour and ornate designs. Flash forward to World War I, and out of necessity they were replaced by simpler cuts, more somber shades, lowered waists, and a wider skirt with higher hemlines. Pre-1914 silhouettes, including hobble skirts, were considered impractical and ridiculous due to more women getting more active roles and thus needing a longer stride. Even Poiret, the pioneer of the silhouette, was ridiculed for it after the war and eventually lost his business. Although the fashions of the 1910s went out of vogue during The Roaring Twenties and the following decades, only to be inspired in the late 1940s due to the "New Look" phenomenon, the impact of removing Victorian undergarments like boned corsets, hoopskirts and bustles stayed.
  • For a while in the 1990s, barbed wire tattoos (that wrap around the upper arm) were considered cool because of celebrities like Pamela Anderson who got them. But after a while, they became so widespread and mainstream that they're now considered one of the more unimaginative types of tattoos.
  • Suspenders are nowhere near as prevalent to hold a man's pants up as they once were, having been almost completely eclipsed by belts (one has to wonder if Steve Urkel had anything to do with it). They're still being made, sometimes with decorative patterns on them, but on the few occasions you do see them, they're either worn by hipsters (which, again, can't help their reputation) or used to deliberately invoke a more classic throwback look; additionally, traditionalist skins still wear them regularly, as they never really went out of style in that circle.
  • Hairstyles:
    • The "bald spot in the midst of normal-length hair" look. Now that George Constanza and a slew of TV dads during the '80s and '90s have made this look seem ridiculously uncool and unsexy, and the "bald-with-a-small-bit-of-fuzz-on-the-side" look is considered to be rather sexy/manly (thanks to such celebrities as Bruce Willis, Michael Jordan, and countless hard rock and heavy metal musicians), you'd be hard pressed to find a balding man under the age of 50 who still maintains normal-length hair on the side of his head.
    • For that matter, toupees. Now that hair implants have become mainstream and full male baldness has become not only more acceptable but also fashionable (see above), toupees are pretty much a thing of the past. Plus, unless you had a ton of money to spend (and even if you do, as seen with Donald Trump), they generally looked horrible.
    • "Jheri curls" have also completely vanished and is now associated with the big hair of The '80s. They were messy to maintain and required a lot of hair-damaging chemicals. The similar "S-Curl" for Black men, while still seen in stores, is also not so popular anymore.
    • The "business at the front, party at the back" mullet haircut. From the early 1970s to the mid-'90s (reaching its peak in The '80s) it was actually considered stylish, and many male celebrities, including Bono and Mel Gibson (in the first Lethal Weapon film), wore their hair in this fashion. But by the late '90s, the mullet was considered extremely uncool and heavily associated with stereotypes of "white trash", with the 2001 film Joe Dirt marking the final nail in its coffin. These days, whenever a character is portrayed with a mullet, they will inevitably be portrayed as a redneck or a lowlife (or at the very least, a Disco Dan who is hopelessly out of touch with modern trends). The mullet did make a brief comeback among Middle Eastern immigrants in Australia in the '00s, but even then, it came to be seen as a "thug" hairstyle that went out of fashion just as quickly.
    • The crew cut: Often associated with the conservative style of The Fifties. Even in the military, they are becoming rarer with men opting instead for "even buzzcuts" or shaved heads. The counterculture of The '60s was the death blow for it as a civilian haircut, with young men favoring longer hair. In The '70s, even the squares had longish hair.
  • The toothbrush mustache. Once a very stylish mustache for men like Charlie Chaplin during the early Twentieth Century, nowadays not worn anymore due to the association with a certain dictator donning that style.
  • Curly afro style among White men. Sometimes known as the "Jew Fro" (although one need not be Jewish), as it was prevalent among men of Jewish heritage due to their naturally curly hair. May be accomplished with the help of perms. Former figures known for this style include Art Garfunkel, Gabe Kaplan of Welcome Back, Kotter fame, Tom Baker and Colin Baker during their respective Doctor Who tenures, Elliot Gould, and Slim Goodbody, who helped popularize it during The '70s and The '80s, but by the '00s it had come to be seen as a stereotypical nerd haircut, with Napoleon Dynamite and Seth Rogen probably serving as the turning point in that regard.
  • The long sideswept fringe (or 'wings'). Originally associated with the emo subculture, the cut became popular in mainstream male fashion in the mid-late 2000s. The downfall of emo in the '10s wound up taking the fringe with it. By the middle of the The New Tens, public figures who had previously worn it, perhaps most notably Justin Bieber, had deserted it in favour of a clean-cut style.
  • The Rattail, a single long element of hair, often braided, growing from the back of a man's head, while the rest of his hair is shorter. While never very popular, it enjoyed some success around the same time that mullets did (1980s-1990s). Much like mullets, it eventually became associated with white trash, and any trend towards it died out. In fact, the rattail could be argued to have always had a stronger association with white trash in western cultures. It's still seen with varying popularity in select subcultures. It's often seen in manga, and in some Native cultures throughout the world (quite popular in New Zealand, for those going for the Maori look).
  • Trenchcoats or longcoats amongst teenagers. Especially black trenchcoats. They became tarnished due to the Columbine Massacre and the group carrying it out was actually known as the Trenchcoat Mafia due to their tendency for Black longcoats. Older men can still get away with longcoats if they are dressed appropriately (age appropriate). Ironically, at one time, the trenchcoat was actually a shorthand image for the adult male pervert. Long leather trenchcoats are also increasingly rare amongst youth due to increasingly difficulty in sporting one without reminding others of a Blade or The Matrix cosplay.