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Education, Featured

Power & Grunge: Harnessing Flashback Fashion Today

Fashion is always recycling itself, and this season is no different, except that two eras are competing for style relevance: the Power ’80s and the Grungy ’90s. Trendcaster Rita Nakouzi has some ideas about which fashion era we should be revisiting—and how.

Her main takeaway: “The idea of one look, one trend that transcends doesn’t exist anymore. Just don’t be a ‘Trends R’ Us,’ where you’re wearing every single trend out there.” Noted.

Nakouzi says the 1990s grunge aesthetic (ripped jeans, sloppy flannels) is coming back for relevant reasons. “It’s a sense of youth rebellion. That’s what grunge was and is about and where it came from. It’s wanting to break free from what we feel are false truths, like people putting rosy, filtered images online. Grunge is a reaction to and a rejection of all of that. It’s a youthful community and tribe that’s eager for authenticity.”

People are also reaching back further to the previous decade. “The ’80s were all about excess and power. Women, especially, are gravitating to the big shoulders, the suits, and jackets again as they reassert their power,” says Nakouzi. “During the actual ’80s, it was about women navigating the workforce and office culture, which was a man’s world. Now, with #MeToo and call-out culture, it’s a moment of female empowerment.”


Key Pieces

The ’90s look is really about how you style something. It’s about exploring and being non-binary in our ideas and expressions. “With grunge, the slip dress is obviously a key piece. It’s been around for a few seasons now, and it’s not going away. Then there’s the combat boot and, of course, flannel,” she says.

For the ’80s, the double-breasted blazer is the star piece, and an oversized element is what’s on-trend. “We’re moving slightly away from the everywhere-activewear look into a clearer expression of women’s strength,” says Nakouzi. “So the ’80s look in 2019 (and moving forward) isn’t about excess anymore, but proportion. About the strength and the graphic appeal of an oversized proportion.”

And if you’d like to mash up your decades, go right ahead. “What’s most interesting and fun for me is a mix of these two eras. For example, throwing an oversized blazer over a slip dress and wearing that with a combat boot. It’s the juxtaposition of a silk dress with a structured suit jacket or a mini skirt with a big blazer that’s stylish and playful,” Nakouzi says. “That volume up top with a mini beneath—plus a combat boot—is what so many women are wearing on the street at the moment, and that look is going to continue.”


She does have one word of advice before you go full-bore back to the past. Coco Chanel was famous for saying, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Nakouzi absolutely agrees. “I feel the same way about people who ‘overtrend.’ Just because you know every trend that’s happening doesn’t mean you should wear it all at the same time. Please take one trend off!”


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