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  • Reina Mohamed

2021 Spring (& Beyond) Essentials

Updated: Jul 30, 2021

From the birth of utility wear during the World War, to tracksuits and sneakers reflecting street culture, fashion goes through numerous rounds of adaptation and evolution, and 2020 was definitely been a year of change for many of us. 2020 found most of us pining for minimalistic and luxe lounge pieces, with a focus on longevity, simplicity, and timelessness; swapping our graphic tees for a crisp white tee and structured trousers for lax leggings.

Classic. Rebellious. Sexy. The t-shirt has had many labels. From an overlooked undershirt to stylish statement, the history of the t-shirt began in the early 20th century. It was issued as an undershirt in the US Army and Navy, which was later adopted by the wealthy. It wasn’t until the 50’s that the t-shirt was popularized as a stand-alone piece by the hot rebels and silver screen divas of Hollywood. Not only did they transform it into a fashion statement, it became a symbol of rebellion and a stance against the status-quo.

Fast forward to the 21st century, the versatile and timeless plain white tee has still left its mark on our wardrobes and closets. With its lasting impression, it’s hard to imagine our lives without it.

Originally worn by polo players, it wasn't until Brooks Brothers introduced their own rendition of the collared shirt that started circulating in the daily wardrobes of men. As a traditional symbol of masculinity, Coco Chanel made an androgynous statement when she started styling the white collared shirt and introduced it in her early collections. Sure enough, more fashion mavens started incorporating the white collared shirt into their outfits. From Audrey Hepburn, to Julia Roberts, they adopted it as their own and styled it to their personality.

Though one of its most popular inceptions were for the professional workwomen, the collared shirt has evolved in many different ways to suit all the different fashionists and their styling aspirations.

Pulling pieces from our wardrobe to style is usually instinctual. We don’t really give thought to where it came from, where it’s been, or what inspired that piece into fruition. The cardigan, having long been a beloved piece in our wardrobes, was originally named after a British general, the Earl of Cardigan, who wore it beneath his uniform as an added layer of warmth. Shortly after, Chanel became one of the early adopters, introducing women to knit cardigans and sweaters, transforming it into a timeless staple.

Chanel was obviously onto something; classic, versatile, and seasonless, it pairs great with denim shorts in the summer, or leather trousers in the winter. The cardigan adapts to your mood and forms to your personality.

First donned by men as military and casual garb, it slowly trickled down and evolved in the 60’s as lycra leggings, popularized by Oliva Newton-John, Jane Birkin, and Madonna – just to name a few. Available in an array of colours and prints in the 70’s and 80’s, leggings decided to take a sabbatical and vacate the fashion scene. It wasn’t until the 2000’s that the legging came back in full force and introduced the world to liquid leggings - which were quickly embraced by all it-girls and fashionists. What the 14th century Scots introduced to the world, streetwear and athleisure eventually revived.

Finally, no list would be complete without adding some small details to the ensemble.

Before hoop earrings were popularized by the hip hop scene and pop culture, they were a favourite among different ancient civilizations. Originating in Nubia, present day Sudan, it eventually spread to the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Asians, who believed hoop earrings symbolized wealth, beauty, and stature. However, like most recounts of history, hoops has their dark side, too.

Some in America saw it as a representation of Native American and Latino culture and immediately stigmatized the hoops. It wasn’t until the 1920’s when exotic Spanish influence and the discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb revived the trend and dispersed the stigma.

Offered in different variations of gold and silver, versatile and classic, to the very essence of the definition, it transformed from a trend, to a beloved essential. As a symbol of endurance, strength, and unity, passed on through eons and bestowed upon us, hoop earrings add more than personality to our unique style; it adds depth and makes us as part of the ongoing history.

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