By JUDE SALAM
With each coming decade, the United States has been subjected to significant cultural changes that have consequently shaped the way we as a society see the world around us. The essences of these eras seem to consistently be reflected not only by how we act but also by the way we present ourselves. Fashion has historically been used as a means of showcasing class and sophistication but in recent times has evolved to be used as a form of expression. This shift primarily occurred during the 1960s with the rise of the civil rights movements and anti-war efforts. People began distancing themselves from the traditional, pristine look that was popular in previous decades and transitioned into using a distinct, vastly different style as a way of representing the rebellion mindset that was popular during the 1960s. Neat up-dos were replaced with long, undone hair. Tight, form fitting clothes were replaced with loose ones. Since then, young Americans have continued this trend of freely developing their style to reflect on themselves and their common beliefs. It would therefore make sense that we can get a grasp of the unique essence of each distinct era by observing its fashion, which is truly a beautiful thing. However, having the perspective of a teenage girl living in the late 2010s, I am fully able to recognize that some of the popular looks that previous University High School students held throughout these shifting cultural times were absolutely atrocious.
Looking through the University High yearbooks from this time period, it is more than likely that one would notice the ungodly number of tie dye shirts that can be seen in a majority of the pictures. Bell-Bottoms were especially popular during this decade, a feature that actually really complemented the loose-armed but tight fitted tops and gave a rather flattering shape. Hair seemed to typically be kept long and makeup tended to be pretty neutral, which complemented the look quite nicely. That is, if you were willing to look past the absolutely horrendous choice of patterns and colors some students thought were a good idea to wear.
Big hair and chunky jewelry dominated this era. For both men and women, hair was usually kept large and poofy. Somehow, they even managed to make the straight hair bushy. Most girls actually wore little to no makeup, but when they did it was hard not to notice. To put it simply, the eye looks were ridiculous. Many of the guys wore leather jackets and also showcased a head full of bushy hair. The colors that kids wore in their clothes were especially bold and it was almost impossible to find a look with colors that didn’t clash. For some reason, shoulder pads were also a thing.
Students were actually fairly stylish during this era when considered under modern trends and standards. The grunge look was very popular – many girls could be seen wearing dark lipstick, choker necklaces, and a lot of accessories. A lot of girls also wore berets or styled their hair with a lot of clips. The boys hairstyles were pretty consistent – typically they were styled straight and parted down the middle. The hairstyle and fashion that were popular during this time has seemingly made somewhat of a comeback in recent years, eerily resembling the e-boy and e-girl looks that have been trending. Fashion during the decade featured muted colors with tank tops and skinny jeans. The only truly unforgivable aspect of 90s fashion at UHS was the eyebrows (or lack thereof). Blue eye shadow had persisted through this decade, typically being paired with brown lipstick, smokey eye shadow, pencil-thin eyebrows.
The pictures available in yearbooks from this decade were the physical embodiment of what it means to have an embarrassing high school phase. The popular hairstyles were tragic to say the least, with randomly crimped and edgy emo hair. Having straightened hair was the most popular look for both men and women. Hair was often dyed, and many of the yearbooks were balanced with raven black and streaked blonde. The popular women’s clothing stood on both extremes, featuring pink and bubbly looks with patterns and bright colors as well as dark and edgy ones, reminiscent of those that were popular during the 90s.
This decade was characterized by trends set from the likes of prominent celebrities like the Kardashians. Instagram and other social media sites were steadily growing in popularity, and with that many teens became fixated on their social media image and presence, subsequently creating a playing field that has allowed for fads and styles to spread like wildfire. Having thick, drawn in eyebrows were especially prevalent with young women. Students could also be seen wearing dramatic liquid eyeliner and matte lipsticks. Balayages and ombre hair were evidently very trendy during this time. For formal events, the girls seemed to always have their hair lightly curled. Scrunchies and 90s style clothing have made somewhat of a comeback in recent years for both men and women at UHS.