The Sartorialist legacy

It’s really weird, scrolling back through the Sartorialist website, to see how fashion is changing before our very eyes. Just going back through the most recent archives, I’ve noticed the extreme shoulder trend properly taking off. At the moment, my gut feeling is, ‘I’ll never wear that’, but I know from experience that give it a few months weeks and those sentiments are soon forgotten. Seriously, who would have predicted a few years ago that five inch hooker-heels would now be considered ‘normal’ in fashion terms? Or wet-look leggings, or severely tailored dresses? 

I know Bill Cunningham has been taking street fashion pics for a whole lot longer that Scott Schuman but in the digital age, street style blogs give us the power to track trends almost in slow motion. I think this is such a valuable resource in terms of charting fashion history. In ten years time we can just click on ‘April 2009’ on the Sart blog to see in a heartbeat what fashion-forward types were wearing at the end of the noughties. 

Interestingly, Schuman and the others tend to focus on portraying those who stand out as opposed to the ‘followers’. As we know, these early-adopters are in the minority. I wonder if there are blogs that chart mainstream fashion and pinpoint what more middle-of-the-road (old, young, rich, poor) people are wearing? This would be equally fascinating as the changes would be more subtle and take longer to track. Even those people who claim not to be ‘into fashion’ have to make a decision about what to wear. How do they decide whether to wear skirts or trousers or have their hair long or short? When people dismiss fashion as fluffy and superficial, they forget how important our fashion choices are as a barometer of our times. I’m thinking about when I look at late-seventies-early-eighties photos of post-punks – Debbie Harry, London club kids, new romantics – and compare them to how ‘ordinary people’ looked. Poles apart, yet both have value in terms of what people were wearing and how they chose to look. As much as I enjoy browsing through street style blogs from a casual, eye-candy point of view, I think their importance is going to be more far-reaching than any of us realise.