Fashion’s Most Enduring Statement

If someone were to ask what you thought was the definitive fashion statement of all time. What would you think?

In a previous essay “On Fashion And Fashion Icons“, I suggested that the way people dress says a great deal about the society and the individual of the time by defining function, perhaps motive(s), certainly about self-confidence or the lack of it. Common sense would probably say “hey self, don’t go to a job interview dressed in jeans, a tee shirt and sneakers no matter how hot it is. Dress appropriately”. Whatever is worn, you want to make the impression that you not only know how to dress, but do it with class.

What is inside of the person should be most important, however, the overall “package” and how it is displayed, counts. When faced with making an ambivalent choice or being in a competitive situation, the final decision will probably be determined based on incidental preferences, yours or someone else’s. Fashion falls within this realm, and can in many cases be the deciding factor of a person being chosen for a job, being the “object” of attention at a bar or party, or perhaps getting less years in the slammer at a sentencing hearing. In any case, what someone wears will convey a message, and it is not only important to think about what kind of message one wants to relate, but how best to convey it for the most benefit.

Sophia LorenThinking about it with this rationale, I changed my mind about fashion being frivolous. I also came to the conclusion that I had confused fashion with Hollywood celebrity because of obsessive public exposure by the press, and how it tends to distract attention from what I considered more important subjects. I also thought of the 1998 Academy Awards ceremony, when a radiant and beautiful Sophia Loren (now a septuagenarian), in a rare “Kodak” moment, walked onto the stage dressed in a simple but elegant full-length black gown and up swept hair, to announce the Best Foreign Language Film Category to a captivated Hollywood audience and three billion people watching on TV. She burst out smiling, arm outstretched, waving her hand with the opened envelope, yelling with spontaneous excitement in English with her famous Italian accent as if she was in a modest kitchen of a street level apartment in Rome, looking out the window while stirring a boiling pot of pasta: “Roberto! Roberto! Roberto Benigni for ‘Life Isa Beau-taa-ful ‘. (La Vita e Bella). This, from a true lady of class, style and dress who was also quoted as saying, “Everything you see, I owe to Spaghetti, which can be eaten most successfully if you inhale it like a vacuum cleaner”.

Audrey in JeansAs I thought of all this, and chuckled, I remembered seeing black and white photographs and movies of Manhattan streets in the nineteen-thirties and forties, Times Square, Forty Second street, and Madison Avenue to name a few. Most of the men wore suit and tie, overcoats, hats that women wore as well. When was the last time you saw a “hat” store?

Wherever you go in the world today, whatever country, spanning any age group of both genders, the one overwhelming fashion statement probably of the foreseeable future is The Blue Jean. Even Audrey Hepburn, my choice for the number one Fashion Icon of all time, wore blue jeans.

Blue Jeans