28 August 2011

Laver's Law

From the Wikipedia entry on James Laver and his "law" of the public's attitude toward fashion (via Sentence First):

Indecent 10 years before its time
Shameless 5 years before its time
Outré (Daring) 1 year before its time
Smart 'Current Fashion'
Dowdy 1 year after its time
Hideous 10 years after its time
Ridiculous 20 years after its time
Amusing 30 years after its time
Quaint 50 years after its time
Charming 70 years after its time
Romantic 100 years after its time
Beautiful 150 years after its time

Image source, via Lushlight.


  1. I don't think I agree. There are things that will never be fashionable, and never were, and there are things that having been fashionable will never be again. It's also cyclical. When I was a baby, trendy girls tried to look like casual versions of Madonna. Now I see vague shrugs toward Lady Gaga. Same difference. It's amusing, I'll give it that much...but it's also fashionable.

    The odd thing I've found is that even when you dress in the basics you can tell a garment's age by subtle tones of the trend of its day. When I grab one of many long-sleeved tees from my drawer in the fall I notice this. Sometimes it turns out to be disturbingly short, not even reaching the button of my jeans. I'll recoil in disgust, remove it, and check the little tag behind the main one. Fall 01. No wonder! I don't remember wearing anything that short. That's the odd part. It looks really absurd now, even though I'm in roughly the same shape as I was a decade ago. The same happens with tanks, short-sleeve tees, etc. I can't imagine how high the pants I wore then must have been, since I haven't shown even the slightest hint of navel since Clinton was still semi-respectable and schools didn't have metal detectors.

    Things like this are a reminder of the shifting nature of womens fashion. I dress so simply that I sometimes buy a doppelganger, or trippelganger even, of a shirt I already own. My sister tells me everything I buy looks like everything I already have. (The biggest shock I've given my family in years was when I started wearing...teal! *gasp*) That's kind of the point really. So you'd think these items would be dull-ly timeless. Many profoundly aren't. Things that used to draw compliments don't even make it out of the drawer now. How is this possible for a casual black jacket? It used to be cool, but now it's a bit 'Elvira goes grocery shopping' or really screams '04 at the top of its voice. I'll put these things on and wonder how they ever looked good. If other things from the same year and store didn't still look good I'd think it was me.

  2. I came here by way of an old 2006 comment on my blog from Edy - I lost track of her - is she okay? She was struggling healthwise way back then - do you know her?

  3. Hi Middle Child -

    If the Edy you are speaking of lives in Northern Minnesota, she was doing well to my knowledge last summer, but I have not seen her nor heard from her since then.

    She did start this blog in 2010 -


    but has not added to it this year.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...