Bonnie J. Brown
Pull out your old Swatch Watch and LeSportsac fanny pack because, as Olivia Newton John once sang, it’s time to get â€œPhysical.â€ But, lucky for us, we don’t necessarily have to renew our gym membership in order to sport the athletic look since spandex, hoodies and draw-string pants have gone from comfy and stead to comfy and fabulous. Everyone from Balenciaga to John Galliano have infused their spring collections with a bit of sporty zest. Stella McCartney is still lending her designing hand to LeSportsac and Adidas again this season. With all the Lycra, spandex and cotton blends being used it doesn’t take much of an imagination to recall a time when headbands and legwarmers were all the rage back in the early 1980’s.
Unlike today, the sporty trend of the 1980’s hit the public at every angle and the sport infused fashion wasn’t coming from the runway. Women were inspired by what they saw in the movies like 1983’sâ€œFlashdanceâ€ where they tried to impersonate the look of dancers who wore tights and headbands or 1980’sâ€œFameâ€ which immortalized the one-shouldered sweatshirt and legwarmers. Women were also watching the music video â€œPhysicalâ€ and workout tapes like Jane Fonda’s, both of which featured thin women wearing leotards. While fashion is intended to make one look great, it is also intended to make people feel comfortable and unfortunately comfort far out weighed the fashion in many of the sporty looks that women wore during this time.
The 1980’s wasn’t the first time women chose comfort over style. During the early 20th Century Paul Poiret strayed from the common corset, bustle and other restrictive clothing to freer flowing garments such as the hobble skirt, harem pants and capes. Poiret was influenced by the East Asain Ballet (much like women of the 80’s were influenced by â€œFameâ€) and incorporated the vivid colors and fabrics he saw in their costumes into his designs.
Poiret’s fashion movement was not nearly as vast as the 1980’s, where the fashions went from formal to casual even in the work place; we can thank the 1980’s sports movement for casual Friday. And it’s not hard to see how much comfort in fashion has affected the American public when you look at the most famous clothing labels to expand during this time were Nike, Adidas and Reebok as more and more people opted for comfort. Now that the materials have been perfected and the people have chosen comfort, hopefully the talented designers will have us comfortable and fashionable all at once.
1. Olivia Newton John â€œPhysicalâ€ 1981
2. Adidas by Stella McCartney Spring 2009
3. Fame Movie 1980
4. Jane Fonda Workout Video 1982
5. Paul Poiret Dress 1922-23
6. Paul Poiret Dress
7. Kriss Van Assche Spring 2009
8. Alexander Wang Spring 2009
9. Louise Goldin Spring 2009
Image Layout: Minette Higden