Vintage Style Dresses Are Back, Thanks To Elaine From Seinfeld
Fashion has a way of coming full circle. As this Fall’s Fashion Week in New York City showed, fashions this year are harking back to decades gone by. Now, it’s hot to be seen in a prim and proper 1950s housewife dress, thanks to the popularity of AMC’s Mad Men, and it seems that short vintage style dresses and across-the-body handbags inspired by the 1960s are what every hipster is sporting right now. Colorful, patterned 1970s disco glam ensembles teamed with John Lennon sunglasses are also back in vogue.
Fashion right now is also looking back to a more recent decade – the 1990s – and has found inspiration in an unlikely fashion icon, the unforgettable and lovable character of Elaine Benes from Seinfeld, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. As Seinfeld lovers will remember, Elaine was a fan of loose, floor-length flowery retro style dresses, teamed with sometimes ill-fitting jackets with shoulder pads, flat and heavy leather shoes, and white socks – she was one of the guys, and she was decidedly anti-fashion, favoring clothes that were practical and comfortable over high heels. She was endearingly dorky, and kind of daggy.
But, as a recent New York Times article points out, those long, flowery retro style dresses of the 90s are back, and they’re cool. Chloe Sevigny and the Olsen twins have been wearing floor-length skirts and socks with sandals for months now, and the trend is continuing right into Fall, and it’s easily visible on the street. Check out the young women in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn, and you’re sure to see this look. It’s all about mid-calf flowery dresses, brown lace-up boots, and messy hair thrown up in a bun. Dresses may be shorter, cuter, and flirtier, but they’re still distinctly Elaine. Chloe Sevigny says, “Girls like the floral. A little femininity and delicacy. Pair it with a heavy boot. It works!”
So, why have the retro style dresses that Elaine Benes wore become cool again? There’s no doubt that wearing comfortable and conservative fashions with a feminine twist offers a sense of female empowerment where 8-inch heels, restrictive leather miniskirts and barely-there tank tops don’t. Let’s face it: the trend of wearing no pants, of wearing shapewear as outerwear (think Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Rihanna) is not every woman’s cup of tea. Or, women might have sported this skimpy look two years ago, but they’re now rejecting it in favor of more traditional retro style dresses that show that they’re not just about boobs and legs.
According to fashion stylist Mel Ottenber, the Elaine look is a “more covered-up look and looking like you have a brain. Elaine had a job. She worked at J. Peterman. She was a go-getter.” Pairing flowery, comfortable, vintage style dresses with sturdy shoes that you can easily walk or even run in is tough and feminine, and it perfectly suits the beautiful, bold, intellectual working woman of the 2010s.
Source by Mark Etinger