The other day while on one of my treasure hunting expeditions at my local Value Village thrift store, I came across a pair of earrings whose style grabbed my attention (not to mention the $0.99 price tag). Lately, I have taken to wearing what is now called “statement earrings”. I find that with such short hair, it suits me and is just the thing to add interest and some drama to my otherwise simple and minimalistic style of dressing these days. Above and below are some pictures of me loving and wearing my new find.
I had been searching for a new topic for my next blog post and after purchasing these earrings and noting their timeless graphic quality and vibe, it came to me. I would write a piece on the use of geometric shapes throughout the decades and its current influence in garments and accessories. So read on and enjoy exploring this style element and its various applications in fashion.
I would say that in no other decade has the geometric shape been used as prevalently as the 1920’s. Art Deco is a very widely recognized design style and is instantly associated with The Great Gatsby, flappers and graphic, hard and clean edges. The en vogue body shape for women of the 1920’s was very boyish – no hips, flattened breasts, long and lean. The resulting silhouette was a rectangle. The beading and applique work on the garments of this period also reflected this silhouette, as evidenced by a few examples below. Jewellery and even men’s accessories incorporated rectangles, squares, circles and triangles. The infamous bob haircut with its straight across bangs and hard angles was sported by and made popular by the most famous movie star of the time, Louise Brooks. The Chrysler Building in New York City was built in the late 1920’s and is a perfect example of the Art Deco period reflected in architecture.
The next big decade that comes to mind when I think of geometric shapes in clothing, accessories and, again, hairstyles is the 1960’s. The 1960’s is known for the mod look, the use of black and white, bright pops of colour and strong graphic shapes in patterns, prints and silhouettes. Vidal Sassoon revolutionized women’s hair styles and hair care in the 1960’s. He created very geometric, wash and wear styles, which perfectly complimented the simple and modern garments of the time. Clothing was very boxy and square in shape, had shorter hemlines and the “trapeze” dress was a very popular and freeing silhouette compared to the cinched waist and “wiggle” skirts of the fabulous ’50s. Again, triangles, diamonds, squares and circles figured prominently in fabric prints, jewellery and even accessories such as sunglasses.
Patterns and prints in the 1970’s tended towards paisley, floral and more organic and gentle shapes. Many garments were long, very flowy and feminine. The 1980’s saw a return to a harder edge and a different shape to the body. Wide and, at times, heavily padded shoulders with a close fitting, narrow waist created the illusion of an inverted triangle. This shape was adopted by men and women alike. It was a very powerful look and silhouette. Geometric shapes were back in full force in prints, furniture and even toys. Anyone remember Rubik’s Cube? The colour palette for the 1980’s tended towards saturated primary colours or neon shades in pink, green, orange and yellow on a black or white background. These colours served to enhance and define the geometric shapes very effectively.
The last couple of years has seen a return to the use of geometric shapes in fashion. There is still the nod to Art Deco and the 1960’s to be seen in the work of some of today’s designers but, it is applied in ways that appeal to the modern woman of the 2000’s. Below are some examples of garments and silhouettes currently being offered and worn. These days, anything goes – fitted, flowy, short, long, black and white, nude tones, bright colours, sporty, dressy, casual…the choice is limitless.
Footwear with graphic designs and geometric shapes can be used to add that special feature piece to your outfit. The styles I have found below are more than merely a pair of shoes. They provide one the opportunity to show one’s taste in art because these shoes certainly border on being works of art!
Speaking of works of art, how about statement jewellery that features geometric shapes? My own statement earrings, after all, were what started and inspired this topic. The bracelet and wearable art necklaces below are certainly attention getting and would add that bold and artistic touch to any little black dress, white t-shirt and jeans or conservative office outfit.
So, now that you know a bit more about how basic shapes and forms can influence fashion and even how we want our body shape to appear to others, why not give some of these ideas a try for yourself. Your choice can either be subtle and demure or dramatic and scene stealing. Find what suits you and be inspired because as you can see, this style element is a classic and here to stay!