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Best dressed then and now

Lila Gill and Brett Richter, Business Manager and Staff Reporter
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED OCTOBER 25, 2019

Fashion as a whole is always changing. Fads are born and die off, trends try to hold on for as long as possible, and classics remain a staple in many wardrobes. Things that seem ridiculous now were commonplace 40 or 50 years ago. As society moves forward into the 2020s, it’s important to remember the fashion that came before and to recognize the historical influences of today’s looks.

Belgian fashion designer Diane Von Furstenburg was quoted saying, “style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it.” And boy, is high school the time to try and find it. Waking up in the morning and painstakingly pulling on a corset doesn’t sound as appealing to young women in the 21st century as it did in the 20th. Neither does the bone damage. Since the school opened in 1903, the fashion in which they’ve done than has changed drastically. Out with the old and in with the new.

“Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak,” said American stylist and fashion designer Rachel Zoe. When we walk through the halls today we see tight jeans and baggy pants, hoodies and button-ups, dresses and suits; each item of clothing gives a little more insight into the wearer’s life.

Looking back on fashion in the past five decades, we really get a chance to see just how big these style changes were.


Students in the 1960s were much more conservative and formal compared to what we wear today. Girls often wore button-ups in warmer seasons and sweaters in the winter, tucked into highwaisted, pleated skirts.

Men’s fashion was classic — flannels, jeans, and some loafers or tennis shoes. India Carlson, plant-science teacher and resident fashion connoisseur, notices something similar taking place in the student body today.

“I see more guys that dress up. [They] seem to be taking a little more pride in what they’re wearing rather than just wearing sweatpants,” Carlson said.



Featured in the style section of the Shingle yearbook through 1980 is an unknown student with fluffed hair and wearing high waisted flare jeans

Featured in the style section of the Shingle yearbook through 1980 is an unknown student with fluffed hair and wearing high waisted flare jeans

To many, the 1970s conjures up images of hippies and flowing skirts. But it seems Seattle never got the memo. Outerwear like trench coats and formal wear defined this era at school.

The classic high waisted flare jean was popular for both genders. Sneakers were on a decline as dress shoes like loafers from the 60s carried into the 70s for both guys and girls.

For girls, A-line dresses and vests layered over button-ups, blouses and turtlenecks. Some students chose to add flair with a patterned ascot. Skirts and sweaters were also popular.

For guys — turtlenecks, and casual suits with a “worn” look. These were paired with slacks or high waisted flare jeans.



From the 1970 edition Lissa Kaufman is showcased in an aframe dress and Ron Thronton shows off his suit

From the 1970 edition Lissa Kaufman is showcased in an aframe dress and Ron Thronton shows off his suit

Similar to today, ripped Levi’s jeans and khaki Bermuda shorts were all the rage. Flare jeans similar to those in the 70s remained in style. Paired with chunky turtlenecks and often layered, the look was then completed with long hair and fluffed bangs.

The unisexuality of these trends is similar to some of the things we see in modern fashions. Carlson shares her take on this new mode. “I see there’s less gender designation for clothing,” Carlson said. With women wearing suits and guys wearing clothes that would be traditionally considered more feminine.”

Athleisure is wearing athletic clothes such as yoga pants, sweatshirts, or brands like Fila, Adidas and Nike not just at the gym. It’s easily one of the most popular trends right now, and it originated in the 80s.


The decade of dial-up internet and “Vanilla Ice.” Students were wearing crochet sweaters, turtlenecks, and highwaisted tapered jeans—majorly different from the jeans in the 70s and 80s.

Layering seems to be a staple in student fashion. Fluffed hair also lasted through the 80s into the 90s. Slicked hair for guys was a common option as well.

The 90s presented a fresh new take on 1980s styles, mixing in more modern elements.

Of course, no style article would be complete without mentioning Grunge. Nirvana, Mudhoney and Soundgarden brought not only iconic music, but also iconic looks. Flannel shirts and the combination of long and short sleeve tees became fashionable.


The Y2K scare, frosted tips, low-waisted jeans and a slew of techno club songs led the world into the new millennium. For teens, slicked hair from the 90s was intensified and spiked, sometimes bleached for that Guy Fieri feel.

Simplicity was the new modernity for teens, and it showed. To put it into perspective, Hollister was founded in June of 2000, bringing the classic lace camisole to girls across America. Add a white tank and some low-waisted jeans, and you’re ready to roam the halls with a Starbucks Vanilla Bean Frappuccino in hand.

If 1970-1990s student fashion was formal, then the 2000s students were basically dressed in pajamas. Where there once were loafers, now it was sneakers and Uggs. Platform sandals could also be seen on nearly every other girl in the halls.

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