Speak Up, I’m a bit Clothes-Minded

Clothes are able to convey a powerful language. They tend to construct an outward look into our personalities and are able to reveal an identity we seek to portray. Before words are spoken verbally, clothes transmit a dialog of perception. The messages clothes express have been both revolutionary in shifting political views and galvanizing social movements. Lets review three clothing items revolutionary to changes in America.

A rally in support of justice for Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
A rally in support of justice for Trayvon Martin. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The Hoodie Movement 

The hoodie, a sweatshirt with a hood attached to the neckline is a popular apparel in the fall/winter for beating off cold temperatures and a great leisurely item due to its non-restrictive material. The aforementioned description of the simple garment shifted in early 2012. The hoodie became to symbolize unity in the midst of injustice.  Outrage and protest erupted when George Zimmerman was found not guilty for shooting unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin dead in a gated Florida community. The incident sparked outrage due to Florida’s questionable self-defense law and the idea of racial profiling. Martin, African American, at the time was wearing a hoodie when Zimmerman, white and Hispanic, followed the teen and instigated a fight that lead to his death. Zimmerman claimed self-defense in killing the teen due to Martin knocking him down and attacking him. Before the altercation occurred, Zimmerman was instructed not to approach the teen when he made a 9-1-1 call to report Martin as suspicious looking.  As media coverage shed light on the incident, the injustice of the case was evident early on. The procedural actions of the police department were questioned when Zimmerman was arrested six weeks after the shooting. Many felt Martin‘s case was handled inappropriately, which lead to demonstrators gathering in unity wearing hoodies to go against the apparent injustice. The hoodie movement attracted everyone from politicians and public figures. They wanted to negate the negative stereotypes associated with the apparel and also express support for the Martin family.  

A group of women gather to support the mini-skirt. (Lothar Parschauer/AP)
A group of women gather to support the mini-skirt. (Lothar Parschauer/AP)

Rise The Hemline (The Mini-skirt)

Growing up the appropriate length for a skirt/dress was determined by standing straight up with your hands pointing downward by your side. If the skirt/dress was shorter than your longest finger, than the particular item was considered too short and inappropriate. Of course depending on the setting you are in, there is a standard “appropriate” length for a women’s skirt/dress.

Prior to the 1960s women dressed conservatively in all settings, drawing minimal attentions to their legs, or any body part. The 60s sparked political revolution and cultural changes in all aspects of living. The change ushered in a defiant attitude and women were taking control of their identity. Once defined as slutty or too revealing the miniskirt defied what was appropriate. The evolution of the miniskirt provided an outlet for women to embody individuality and sexual empowerment.

Mary Quant is widely known as the inventor of the controversial garment. She was inspired by Andre Courreges 1964 below the knee space-age dress designs. A year later she revamped the French designer’s garment, made it shorter and named it after her compact car.

Hippie inspired Fashion. The Fool at the Beatles’ Apple Boutique, 1967, Ronald Traeger (from huffingtonpost.com)
Hippie inspired Fashion.
The Fool at the Beatles’ Apple Boutique, 1967, Ronald Traeger (from huffingtonpost.com)

Going Against the Norm( the hippie Movement)

In today’s society rejecting the norm in fashion is done by wearing the most outlandish outfit usually found at Urban Outfitters. Going against the “norm,” is usually the norm, which leads to everyone looking alike.

However, during the 60s, a very identifiable group developed to reject everything mainstream. The hippie movement, also known as the youth movement felt alienated from middle-class society, which they saw as dominated by materialism and repression.  The young group rebelled against the war, promoted peace, love, harmony with nature and communal living. The free-willed, nonconformists individuals used clothes for self-expression. The fashions during this time mirrored the social atmosphere. Clothes were often loose and flowing from cotton and hemp fabrics. A lot of the time members from the hippie movement handmade their clothes.The most popular garments associated with the movements are bell-bottom jeans and tie-dye styled shirts.

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