From Theory to Reality

By Sallie McAllister

Though fashion may seem separate from anything scientific, it is actually one of the easiest ways to study and learn about individuals. Not to mention, it is free; all it takes is observing and comparing individuals to one another.

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In this first picture, I’m sure most of you know the setting, time, and place of its taking. Upon Kate Middleton’s engagement to Prince William in 2010, she opted for a simple yet classic navy wrap dress by her favorite brand Issa. After Kate’s engagement, the London-based fashion label faced demand so huge that it almost hurt the company, Issa chairwoman told Vogue. Unlike Zara or H&M, the company didn’t have the overhead, materials, and staff to match the sudden skyrocketed demand. This scenario, and the Kate-effect in particular, is an example of the trickle-down theory. There will always be someone to imitate the upper class. We saw this same phenomenon with Princess Dianna, Jackie O, and many other famed women; we want exactly what they have.

ImageIf the Issa dress worn by Kate Middleton was out of your price range, rest assured that our first lady may be your girl. When hearing about reverse ostentation, I immediately thought of Michelle Obama. I have read countless times in different sources this lady’s love for affordable clothes. Yes, she can afford to wear expensive clothes and designers would love that. But, this woman of power chooses to dress down in price, and according to the codes of reverse ostentation, this must be the thing to do. And it is. Today, the American who scores the best bargain is applauded. People proudly say “Forever 21!” in response to “what a beautiful dress!Like Bill Gates and Steve Jobbs, Michelle Obama has a love for affordable fashion even when she doesn’t have to. Like many of ours, Michelle’s favorites include Gap, JCrew, Zara, White House Black Market, and Target.

ImageThis last photo is of Taylor Momsen, best known as Jenny from Gossip Girl and Cindy Lou Hou from How the Grinch Stole Christmas. She is also the lead singer for the band “Pretty Reckless” and a poster child for conspicuous outrage. She can be seen wearing all black ripped clothing, including black lipstick and mangled hair. She dresses as if to say “I’m my own person and not concerned with style.” She has no desire to be mainstream or accepted, and so she runs in the opposite direction. I find her career quite symbolic to this. She became famous for singing the song “Where are you Chrsitmas, Why Can’t I Find You?” and her most recent hits are called “Kill Me” and “Make Me Wanna Die.”

There you have it. From theory to reality, fashion has existed since the beginning and will continue to exist so long as people wear clothes. In fact, one English author wrote (in the 1700’s) that “fashion is the science of appearance, and it inspires one with the desire to seem rather than to be” (thinkexist, 2013).

Read more about fashion theory below:

Fielding, H. 2013, April 2. Retrieved from http://thinkexist.com/quotes/with/keyword/fashion/

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Fascinator Fever

By Crystal Harman

I do not know about you, but I am completely captivated with the millinery fashion of England.  It is pretty much my dream to own a fascinator from England.  To give you an idea of how much I love this accessory, I have even had thoughts about requiring hats or fascinators to be worn by all my guests at my wedding one day!  When the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William occurred the public was waiting in anticipation of all the different elaborate fascinators that would be chosen by the guests.  I know I was!  Hats are functional, protecting the head, while fascinators are decorative.  Fascinators give an outfit personality and it shows to the world your personal style.  Fascinators are supposed to be worn on one side of the head and tilted towards the front.  Clearly Princess Beatrice and Eugenie did not catch the memo as they wore their fascinators at the royal wedding in the center of their heads.  Not to mention the styles of their fascinators which were too distracting to be considered classy and elegant.  Fascinators have even become popular for the bride to wear in exchange for a traditional veil. 

Hats have long been used by British Royalty.  But when did the hat evolve into the fascinator? Fascinators began to make an appearance as a substitute for hats in the 18th Century.  This was due to altering attitudes of societal women based upon two major historical events, the Independence of American colonies from Britain, 1775 to 1782 and the French Revolution, 1789 to 1799.  It took a long time, before the hat began to be out of style.  With the death of Christian Dior, in 1957, hats started to be on the way out.  Before that time, there were specific regulations on when and how hats could be worn.  Hats made allusions to class, upbringing, and marital status.  Hats since 1957, have been seen as middle aged to elderly style and are typically only worn by the youth at horse racing events, weddings, and funerals. 

In recent decades, the popularity of fascinators decreased.  But in 2005, there was a resurgence of popularity, as the Duchess of Cornwall wore a fascinator at her wedding to Prince Charles.  The Queen chose a fascinator for Peter Phillips’ wedding, her grandson.  But once Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, began sporting fascinators the fascinator style has surged upwards.

Kate Middleton is a style icon.  She is a designers dream because everything she wears is instantly popular.  She carries herself with grace and elegance and often wears fascinators when she is out in the public.  Celebrities, such as Sarah Jessica Parker, have bought into the style of fascinators, inspired by Kate as well as the rest of British Royalty.  Although the mainstream consumer has no real need for an oversized fascinator, they still want to be like Kate and so they buy much smaller versions, usually a clip or a headband decorated with feathers, beads, and flowers. 

 For More Fascinating Facts:

BellaSugar. (April 29, 2011). “See Royal Wedding Hats and Fascinators.” Retrieved from http://www.bellasugar.com/Royal-Wedding-Hats-Fascinators-16113795

Catherine. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.oohlalaplume.com/history-of-fascinators.html

 “Definition and History of Fascinators.” (August 11, 2008). Retrieved from http://www.designerfascinators.com/

Shea, C. (April 25, 2011). “How to Wear a Fascinator (those fetching British hairpieces).” Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/how-to-wear-a-fascinator-those-fetching-british-headpieces/article1995772/