Like apparel, are we headed for ultra-casual?
Jerry Epperson -- Furniture Today, October 7, 2013
Recently, I watched the 1956 movie "The High and the Mighty" starring John Wayne and others. Everyone on the frightening flight from Hawaii to San Francisco was dressed properly. All the men wore suits and the ladies were either in Sunday going-to meeting dresses or cocktail party outfits, all tailored and stylish. Contrast that with flying today when most people look like they are wearing what they might paint in or worse.
After seeing this, I decided to go shopping and look at today's styles in apparel, which is often a leading indicator of what is about to occur in home furnishings. I went to eight department stores, from Saks Fifth Avenue to Wal-Mart.
Since I will be discussing apparel, I wore a white dress shirt, black trousers and for a touch of color, I drove my blue scooter. The day was beautiful, mid-80's with minimal humidity in late summer. What a perfect day to look at American apparel.
My observations included:
1. Unlike days of old, any pattern and any color can be used together - stripes, plaids, and all colors are now OK to be together. The concept of colors clashing must be as ancient as linoleum flooring or horsehair upholstery.
2. Americans would no doubt rebel if told to wear a uniform, but everyone wears some sort of blue jeans, whether blue or not. They are now our national uniform, but unlike uniforms that are usually clean and pressed, today dirty, ripped, or better yet, frayed is the standard. I did not see a single pair of dungarees, I mean jeans, that looked new or even recently washed.
3. Americans would also raise a fuss if our government dictated we all wear a GPS device so our whereabouts would always be known, but we have no problem having one or more cell phones that ... never mind.
4. The concept of apparel being tailored and fitting well also seems to have faded in importance. In a world of sweatshirts, T-shirts and exercise apparel, the concept of being tailored now means too tight or too loose. Wearing exercise clothing has no requirement that the wearer exercise, evidently.
5. Did you see recently where the makers of the board game "Monopoly" got rid of the marker that looked like an iron? Why? Too many people did not know what an iron was.
6. At the high, low and in between types of stores, there was a universal sameness to the apparel shoppers wore. Were the less well-to-do dressing to look like wealthy who could afford anything? No, just the opposite. All this makes me wonder about our homes and our furniture fashions. Will everything all blend together in one neutral style that is ultra-casual? Is that our fate?
- Oct 17, 2012