A lot can be learned about style by watching sitcoms. Have you ever sat down to watch some of your old favorites from years past that are now in syndication? One thing that is immediately apparent is just how dated the shows look and feel.
The reason for this is that these sitcoms capture perfectly the fads and fashions of a particular time in history — perhaps better than any other medium. Magazines don’t often have an accurate reflection of what people are wearing on the streets, on the campus, in the workplace. They are usually a mix of catwalk, advertisement and red carpet designs and have a highly fantastical element to them. Movies do reflect popular culture, but as it can take several years to produce a film, they have a slightly less of-the-moment look and feel. A sitcom, however, reaches its audience within several months of filming. The shows are designed to have an extremely wide appeal, and end up capturing the looks that are the most current. For better or for worse.
While the programs that are currently airing can offer you an insight into what is fashionable in the here-and-now, some significant style lessons are learned by watching an older sitcom, say from twenty years ago. Do the styles that you thought looked fashionable then still look good to you now? Or can you immediately spot the fads that are less than flattering? How about the shows that are only ten years old?
If you are observant, you will notice a key secret about the fashion industry. Fads come and go and look very dated very quickly. Trends last longer than fads, and have a wider impact on the fashion landscape than do fads. But overall silhouettes in fashion take the longest time to change — sometimes ten years or longer. A perfect example of this is the low-rise bootcut jean. It’s gone through several different incarnations since its comeback on the fashion scene ten-plus years ago, but its overall silhouette has remained the same.
So, what are the key take-home points in this lesson?
1) Try to avoid fads. The prevailing wisdom is that by the time the fad has reached the street, it’s style life is over. And consider the family photo album: today you may look fashionable, but next year you will look dated.
2) Choose your trends wisely. Just because it’s the predominant trend does not mean that it actually looks good, or will have any staying power. Stick mainly with styles and silhouettes that you know are flattering, and incorporate any new trends judiciously. Your image will actually remain current for much longer this way.
3) Periodically update your own image. You don’t have to do a complete overhaul every time the fashion winds change, but keep an eye on what looks dated. You don’t want to get stuck in the last decade — or two!
Now, go and enjoy those television oldies!