By Mikala Ewald & Madison Unruh
Imagine a world where fashion was limited…a world where everyone was decked head to toe in the latest trend. You walk into a social gathering and see the same hair styles, makeup looks, and very similar clothing on everyone in the room. This may seem like an implausible nightmare, but this was the reality just 20 years ago.
Recently, I was studying the history of beauty trends throughout the decades and noticed that until the 1990s everyone followed the same beauty trends and tried to emulate the same hair, makeup, and fashion looks (picture flappers in the 1920s, hippies in the 1960s, bellbottoms and disco of the 1970s, the big hair and glitter hairspray of the 1980s, etc.).
The 1990s introduced the idea of the rejection of fashion and encouraged self-expression. 90s women began wearing makeup as a means of self-expression and empowerment. Beauty and fashion were about more than just looking pretty. Their unique looks translated their level of confidence, power, and individuality.
Yes, trends still existed, but as a whole individuality was accepted. People began expressing themselves with piercings, tattoos, and color rather than sticking to one specific, idealized version of pretty.
What changed? Perhaps one of the biggest contributions to individuality in the fashion world is the Internet. Yes, the Internet. Before the World Wide Web, a fashionista’s only options for style inspirations were the mall or the little boutique down the street. The Internet introduced the world to fashion from every continent. Not only can you see trends that are big in Japan, England, or France, but you can also buy clothes from these places on the internet.
Another big player in self-expression through hair, makeup, and clothes was late 80′s and early 90′s music. We’re talking about the age of the Material Girl – Madonna. She made pushing the boundaries of fashion acceptable, cool even. And let’s not forget about 90′s grunge. Bands like Nirvana made ‘not caring’ about how you look a fashion statement in itself. This idea is still carried on today. Celebrities like Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj are constantly changing their look.
Working in the beauty industry, one of the biggest complaints I hear is: “I just don’t think I could pull that look off!” My response is always, “why not?!” Those of you that know me, know that I have bright red and purple hair. I’ve also been known to wear purple, blue, or even green lipstick. Sometimes, I get strange looks, but more often than not I get compliments followed by the typical response of “I could never pull that off”. But the truth is, you CAN!
If you want to wear blue eyeshadow or black nail polish or color your entire head of hair pink, then go for it! The only trick to pulling off a bold look is having the confidence to do so. Go ahead and express yourself, after all it is the latest trend.