Fashion Her-Story

The Good, the Bad and the Outrageous

By Ann Marie Stonecypher | Photography by Peter Levins

As a lifetime lover of fashion, nothing is more fun than looking back at its best and worst. We all have our favorite fashion moments. We also have those moments we’re glad predate the digital and social media age.

Who could forget fashion greats like hammer pants? Not to be confused with parachute pants, which in my mind might only have been useful for jumping out of some terrifying ’80s situation – like you turned 16 and everyone forgot your birthday; or you got Saturday detention with a bunch of hormonal miscreants and a cranky football coach; or a crazy person was camped out on your front yard with a boombox overhead.

In the ’90s, Seattle brought us more than a fancy cup of joe; it brewed up the unmistakable look of grunge. Who could forget the slouchy, sloppy, just-rolled-out-of-bed, shower-optional look that took the fashion world by storm?

And as long as we’re revisiting the ’90s — our “Beverly Hills 90210” days are definitely calling with the reemergence of the choker. Brenda Walsh would be over the moon to know those little neck ornaments are currently hanging on accessory racks in every department store from here to Minneapolis.

You can channel your inner Julia Roberts “Pretty Woman,” too. Don a pair of thigh-high boots and cop a squat, because they’re back, too.

You’re a total Marty McFashion hit if you rock a sleeveless puffy vest, made popular by the ’80s phenom “Back to the Future.” I don’t think there’s been a jiga-moment in time you couldn’t snag one of those at your local Old Navy.

The influence of TV, movies, sports and music on fashion has been immeasurable. From Madonna to Lady Diana, Michael Jackson to Michael Jordan, everything the icons wore was instantly absorbed by the masses — no matter how padded, scandalous, outlandish or perforated.

Think Flashdance… ’nuff said.

My favorite fashion moment is and will always be Demi Moore in “St. Elmo’s Fire.” The man’s dress shirt with the collar popped and so many accessories that you jingled with every step — I rocked this look with a vengeance and had the ’80s hair to match.

Today’s jumpsuits are a sleek alternative to a dress, and no one wore the ’60s version better than Diana Riggs in “The Avengers.” The dark superheroes of this decade have nothing on her.

I’m crazy for this month’s fashion look. It’s chic and retro, yet fresh with the nude pump. It’s from one of my favorite vintage haunts, Maeflowers Vintage. I asked owner Shauna Diliberto about her favorite fashion moments of the past. She said, “Anything from Cher in the ’70s.” I agree. If Instagram existed back then, Cher would have broken the internet again and again.

Bottom line: Fashion — good or bad — has always been about artistically channeling the goings-on of the time, be it pop culture or politics. It’s seen us through war, depressions and recessions.

So, without any further regressions, I’ll wrap this up by saying I am now and will forever be a fan of fashion. I love it all — the fab, the foolish, the patently outrageous.

I hope while you were strolling down Fashion Memory Lane with me, you were flashing back to some of your own greatest hits and misses. I hope you smiled like you just found the Holy Grail on the front seat of a tricked-out Delorean, driving down Rodeo Drive on your 16th birthday, with the Righteous Dude of your dreams. SWM

Model courtesy of AMS Models: Lynne Adams. Hair: Maggie MUA and Stylist: Julianna Pastella. Wardrobe: Maeflowers Vintage. Ann Marie Stonecypher is an award-winning business woman and the owner of AMS Models & Talent. She is also a stylist, inspirational speaker, two-time breast cancer survivor and freelance writer. She lives in the Syracuse area with her children Taylor and Steven, and her dog Cocoa. She welcomes your style questions and comments at [email protected].