By SHALWAH EVANS
I spotted these lovely young ladies near Dolores Park on a very sunny day, the type that brings everyone out to bask in the beauty of the neighborhood. Leave it to me of course to bask in the beauty of fashion.
So I’m going to straight to the obvious—the rip in the tights. This is not a nylon stockings rip that you can patch up with a little nail polish then cover it up with your skirt. This is clearly an intentional rip (the way folks do jeans) or a complete disregard for skirt wearing norms.
I love this. I’ve done this. If you love a pair of tights, don’t let a small (or big) rip stop you from continuing to wear them. Make them funky to fit your style. It’s like saying, yep my tights are ripped, and I don’t care what anyone thinks. It’s an admirable caution to the wind attitude.
That’s what the 1920’s cosmopolitan did, and she ended up creating her own type of chic—flapper style. The point was to disregard the rules of what was considered feminine and made you a lady. The daring lowered the hipline, raised the hemline and adorned themselves in clothing with flashy detailing of beads and fringe.
The name “flapper” comes from the late-1910s and early-1920s, when young women left their galoshes unfastened—“flapping” as they walked. But as most big fashion movements, flapper style was about more than clothes. The 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote was underway and women found various ways to express their frustrations. In modern times, restlessness produced the 1960s le smoking by Yves Saint Laurent, Madonna’s 1980 cone shaped bra by Jean Paul Gaultier, and in 2000 Jennifer Lopez’ barely there Versace gown.
Women’s fashion evolves, but it’s interesting that no matter how far we go, we always come back, putting a modern spin on vintage styles. I cannot stop looking through a 120-page book titled Everyday Fashion of the Fifties As Pictured in Sears Catalogs, Dover. Fifties style is probably my favorite, and when I see the prices I just want to scream ($8 for a pleated silk dress).
Thank goodness for vintage stores. If that’s not an option (some people are weird about wearing used clothes) the alternative is to get brand new pieces inspired by the past. Retail chain H&M recently offered a throwback to the flapper fringe dress in three colors for under $50. But back to those ripped stockings. Is there a movement there?