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Fashion

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Fashion

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Introduction

Since the baby boom generation, youth have had a profound impact on many aspects of Western society. Regardless of the amount of young people within generations, they tend to be influenced and be able to influence the society they live in, regardless of the decade. As pressing issues affect the culture around them, the baby boom, generation X and baby boom echo generations have responded in many ways; one of the most visually obvious being fashion trends and choices. By examining the choices in clothing made by Western youth in each generation, a connection can be made between what youth wear/wore and the attitudes and events going on at the time. Therefore, throughout the baby boom, generation X and baby boom echo generations, social events and attitudes continue[d] to affect the fashion and styles of youth living within Western societies.

Literature Review

Through times of conflict throughout the 1960ЎЇs and 1970ЎЇs, the baby boom generation in America was directly affected by certain issues; the most prominent being the Vietnam War. As youths were being called to enlist, groups of youths questioned the validity of participating in this war. As a result, a new counterculture emerged with opposing ideas and opinions to not only the Vietnam War, but also the norms of American culture. (Murray 112) These young people, otherwise labeled as Ў®hippiesЎЇ, began to express their views not only through music or protests, but also by creating a new style of fashion. Hippies generally wore more free-flowing, distressed and most

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often second hand or salvaged clothes. This was all in the attempt to stray away from what the popular fashion world dictated and instead return to a more authentic, old world look (Steele 74). This new sense of style was also in conjunction with their attempt to Ў®return to natureЎЇ which was an idea carried through diet choices and lifestyle as well as their choices of clothes (Mendes 194). This Ў®back to basicsЎЇ philosophy also carried on into looks people chose regarding hairstyles. For example, male hippies, choosing to be completely natural, took to growing their hair long on both their heads and their faces (Mendes 194). Through this trend, males were not only able to be identified as being from the counterculture they were part of, but also were able to express part of their philosophy as well.

The choice for males to grow their hair long was not only an expression of the Hippie way of life; it was also a way to blatantly defy the Establishment or common North American society. By males growing their hair long, this decision went against the norm of short hair for males in North America (Dutch). Ў°Long hair on men symbolized their rebellion against social conformityЎ¦but only outsiders professed to believe that Ў®You canЎЇt tell the men from the women.ЎЇЎ± (Steele 72). This statement confused and startled common society as this look was seen as androgynous and strange compared to the normal look of males in years past. By expressing one belief through their choice of appearance, hippies were also able to defy the Establishment, whose values and perceptions in life constantly clashed with one another.

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The attitudes regarding sexuality held by the Hippies also had an affect on the choice of dress they selected to wear (or not to wear). Their acceptance of nudity, stemming from their belief in being as natural as possible, caused them to be a lot more liberal in showing skin than the majority of society (Steele 72). However, common society was not immune to an acceptance of sexuality within its culture either. With the introduction of the mini in the early 1960ЎЇs, women were able to show off their legs to slightly above the knee (Murray 114). This hemline rose as women continued through the 1960ЎЇs as the sexual revolution was in full force. The invention of the birth control pill (Mulvey 137) and good economic times (which resulted in a more frivolous attitude) (Mulvey 136, 137) allowed for more liberal attitudes regarding sexuality and discussion within Western culture (Mulvey 137). According to the British press at the time: Ў°The invention and mass marketing of the birth control pill seems to have led almost immediately to more young women having sex at an earlier age. As a result, there developed in fashion a Ў®baby dollЎЇ or Ў®little girlЎЇ look that was Ў®as sweet as sugar,ЎЇ but Ў®laced with the spice of sex appealЎЇЎ± (Steele 55). Therefore, through the acceptance of sexuality within the majority of Western culture, the fashions of minis and baby doll dresses came to reflect this acceptance. After all, Ў°Ў®For the young boomer,

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