5 Current Fashion Trends Inspired by History

  • Old fashion atelier
Old fashion atelier
Credit: Molteni Motta/ Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Fashion is a dynamic, ever-changing cultural phenomenon, often reflecting the cultural zeitgeist of the moment. But sometimes, the latest trends are inspired by looking backward — at the past. Pivotal moments in history have often influenced the way we think about self-expression and the clothing styles we choose to wear. From World War I fighter pilots to Irish fishermen, the historical events and figures that have shaped society have also shaped fashion through the years. Here are five contemporary fashion trends that connect the past and the present. These chic styles showcase the cyclical nature of fashion while reminding us, as William Faulkner said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

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The Trench Coat

The trench coat got its name from the trench warfare of World War I, but the style itself evolved from the rubberized cotton outerwear worn almost a century earlier. Known as “macks,” after their inventor, Charles Macintosh, these garments were weatherproof but smelly and prone to melting in the sun. The style evolved as designers created more breathable waterproof fabrics, and by World War I, the trench coat was a staple of the British military officer’s uniform.  

Over the past century, the utilitarian trench coat has morphed into a popular fashion piece available in a variety of colors and fabrics for both men and women. The traditional trench coat falls to the knee or below, but in more recent years a new trend has popped up: the cropped trench coat. Maintaining the look and structure of the classic, this new, shorter style can be worn fitted or oversized and layered over other casual pieces.

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