Express Yourself

How the music industry has influenced our generation’s fashion choices.

When Chris Kelly aka Mac Daddy passed away tragically earlier this year his musical hit “Jump” has been on the airwaves more often than usual. Not a problem at all for this girl who happens to be self-proclaimed underground rapper. And by underground I mean the driver seat of my VW, as I drive around strictly obeying the rules of the road while running errands. I happen to know all the lyrics to Jump and yeah, of course, I can rap just ask quickly as those “two lil kids with a flow you aint never heard, and none fakin you can understand every word”. Just call me J Nov.
All this talk of Kris Kross and the many images that were shown over the past few months of them back in their hay-day had me thinking about how certain recording artists have severely altered the course of fashion. 

Whether we like to admit it or not, pop culture has influenced our generation more than we realize. If you were into music like I was as a teen (and still am) you may have spent your allowance or birthday money on the newest releases from your favorite artists. Mine were Janet Jackson, Madonna, Boys 2 Men, Bon Jovi, Shania Twain and Phil Collins…yep, Phil Collins. Regardless of who your musical idols were I can bet you would listen to their album and picture yourself on stage, belting out their tunes with thousands of screaming fans jumping up and down, throwing their panties at you before ultimately fainting from the overwhelming excitement of seeing you perform. Yes I have a vivid imagination, but to make this fantasy more realistic I would of course have to be dressed exactly like my idol. 
If you recall, Kriss Kross started the trend of wearing their clothes backwards. I still remember being in elementary school and even though we were only in grade 3 the boys in my class would wear their sweaters, overalls and hats backwards.  Either they still hadn’t mastered the art of dressing themselves, or they were copying the young rap duo Kris Kross. I’ll give my classmates the benefit of the doubt and assume the latter; although some still ate their boogers, so I am not entirely sure. I know without certainty though, that they were trying to copy that “coolness” Kris Kross had. 
Although I adore Kris Kross I never could relate to their sartorial choices. Madonna on the other hand had me at rosary necklace, jean shorts and camisole tank. I am not ashamed to say Madge is my idol, I have loved her since I was a child, attended a concert at age 13 (scary I know) and continue to this day to follow her ever career move. She was wicked cool, therefore everything she wore was cool…yes, even the cone bra!

When you talk about fashion influences in the 80’s and 90’s Madonna definitely earned her spot on the list.
Now, think about the top ten fashion trends of the 80’s, and then conjure up an image of the top ten recording artists of that time (or just GOOGLE search; who needs memories when you have an internet connection?). You can pluck fashion trends from our favorite music videos, stage costumes and album covers of that time. Michael Jackson’s red leather jacket, Whitney and her neon jumpsuits and legwarmers, and of course Madonna and her “boy toy” look, ripped jean shorts, lace corset, lace elbow gloves, layers of necklaces and bleached hair with dark roots. Ahhh the good old days of off cutting your t-shirt so that it fell just perfectly off yours shoulder, or did you ever twist one side of the bottom of your shirt and tie it in a knot? You can thank my idol for that idea. Madonna put MESH on the map as a fashionable fabric, when in doubt wear mesh? I bet that’s something you never thought you would find yourself saying.
Fast forward to my teenage years and Jessica Simpson was responsible for the massacre of hundreds of thousands of pairs of innocent jeans with her daisy duke cut off denim shorts. Brit- Brit brought the crop top trend onto the map (something I never fell for, but I did happen to own a Catholic School uniform and the white dress shirt and skirt combo came in handy a many Halloween, thanks Brit).
Nowadays who would you say has that fashionable influencing power? I suggest adding Lady Gaga to that list, although I have yet to see anyone grocery shopping in a body suit with ripped fishnets; perhaps I just shop at all the wrong places. Since I consider tattooing an extension of your fashion choices I would say Gaga is playing a large role in shaping our generation and the art of expression. I will leave the tattoo discussion for another day…because TRUST, I have a lot to say.
So, which artists do you think have influenced our fashion choices over the years? And of course which do you think are subconsciously shaping our choices today? Please do share.

Oh and P.S  “Everything is to the back with a lil slack, cause inside out is wiggida wiggida wiggida wack”….sorry, I couldn’t resist. 

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