Do you dress like your parents? The good, the bad and the ugly of street style over the past forty years.

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The late Yves Saint Lauren once said that “fashion fades, but style is eternal”. The clothes that young people wear in the street on a day to day basis have varied dramatically over the past forty years, from crop tops and boob tubes, to jeggings and jumpsuits. Hot pants, jumpsuits, maxi dresses and most things high-waisted were popular among the young women of the 1970s… Does this sound familiar?

There has been an ongoing revival of 70s-style clothing being worn in the streets over the past few years. Magazines and websites are constantly keeping us up-to-date on the latest trends, and recently more and more high street shops are advertising 1970s fashion once again.

Street style in the 1980s was characterized by Madonna-esque clothing. Think lace and shoulder pads and you’ll understand what I mean. Madonna was the fashion icon of that decade and young women everywhere began copying and being influenced by her appearance. Names such as Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein became household names, even though most women could only dream of buying designer clothing.

Fashion trends of the 1990s were mainly based around blue jeans and t-shirts. Comfort became important in street style for the first time in the 1990s, with the emersion of track suits and polo shirts.

A few years ago fashion and style changed once more, and God bless the person who invented jeggings. Combining jeans and leggings…? Pure genius. Stylish and comfortable, and they don’t take half as much time to squeeze into as denim skinny jeans, which is always a plus.

Forty years ago we may also have found it strange to be wearing sheepskin boots originally worn by Australian shepherds (and many, including myself still find it strange), but the Ugg boot has become a worldwide phenomenon and it’s now hard to find a shoe closet without them, or a cheaper, more affordable version. No matter how unfashionable and unflattering they may be (you may have guessed that I don’t like them), there is no doubting their popularity.

Ten years ago jeans were worn as low as possible by the fashion conscious, which, as it turns out, is extremely far down on your hips. These jeans, otherwise known as hipsters, were made popular due to celebrity icons such as Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, who wore them for any occasion from parties to shopping. The trend went on to grow in popularity on the streets, and soon enough everyone was wearing them. Today, a more modest approach is taken towards jean wearing, and it is now much more fashionable to cover one’s private parts.

The maxi dresses, hotpants, jumpsuits and high-waisted skirts of the 1970s are making a comeback for Summer 2011, and are gracing the streets once more. This summer we can expect the style revival to continue. Have all possible fashion trends now been done? Are we doomed to repetition? Does this regeneration of styles-gone-by mean we face the dreaded prospect of looking like our parents? Personally, I really hope not, but on the bright side, we now have a good excuse to never throw any clothes away. Just keep on hoarding!

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