I grew up in a city that has a reputation as being several years behind the times when it comes to fashion, hairstyles, pop culture and zeitgeist. In my high school years, whenever I saw a movie intended for a teenage audience, it seemed that the fashions and hairstyles of the actors were a LOT different than what I saw on the streets of my city. I’m not talking about standards of physical beauty, but just an overall presentation.
Given the Internet, network television shows, nationally distributed magazines, national chain stores, and other things that are shrinking and homogenizing the country in a virtual sense, I wonder how fashion and personal style in some areas can still seem behind the times. A kid growing up today in Wichita or Tulsa will have access to what is mostly the same mall stores, same MTV and Fuse, and same fashion and youth culture magazines as someone their peers in suburban LA and New York, yet those flyover cities and many others are seen as being stuck in someting of a time warp.
Here’s an experiment. Below are links to photos from different high school yearbooks. (I’m not in either one of them, FWIW.) What year does it look like each of the photos were taken?
Well, the first one looks like the early 80’s to me. Like maybe '82 or '83.
I’m having a harder time with the second one. The girls at my school had big hair up until I graduated (small town), but when I went to Austin in 1986 it seemed like the young girls wore their hair longer and straighter. I guess I’ll say pic #2 is mid- to late-80s. Maybe a trick question and they’re both from the same time period?
The Farah Fawcett flips in pic 1 say 1976 to me. As far as I know that aspect of the 70s never made it back
In pic 2 I can see some white keds which to my recollection came back in after Dirty Dancing, that plus the tapered-leg jeans on the girls lead me to say 1986.
The jeans on the girl to the left on the second photo are 90s jeans, (as is the way she’s wearing her shirt) and straight hair came back into style in the 90s, even though my hometown still was doing the big hairstyles.
Yearbook photo 1: Buffalo, New York 1984
Yearbook photo 2: suburban Los Angeles, California 1984
So, if Buffalo is buffalo is behind the times, as the responses seem to indicate, the question qould be why? Why are some places in the country in a time warp, when they share the same media and retail outlets? Why would high school girls in Buffalo – and I assume in some other aprts of the country as well – still have Farrah hair in the 1980s?
In 1999 I took a cross-country trip, going from Seattle to San Francisco to Nashville. From SF to Nashville we drove practically due east on I-40. During our frequent stops to refill the gas tank* I happened into a store near Og’s Butt**, Oklahoma, where they were still selling pee-chees with Ric Ocasek and The Cars on the cover.
*The van we were driving belonged to a guy from British Columbia and was therefore in metric. By the time we became acceptably good at converting from kph to mph in our heads, the gas gauge needle stopped working. This meant that we really had no idea how far we could drive before filling the tank without first calculating the distance on the map since our last refill, converting it to kilometers, and comparing it to the odometer, then remembering the two or three times we filled the tank previously while the gas gauge was actually operational. Then the speedometer broke too.
Good question. My guess would be that trends start on one coast and filter eastward/westward. People may be more strongly influenced by the fashions of people they know than they are by the fashions of people they merely see. Teens, self-conscious as they are, may be even less likely to adopt a “look” if they haven’t seen it on someone they know. Kids in Buffalo had surely seen Farrah-style hair in magazines and on TV before 1984, but girls in Buffalo were unlikely to adopt the style until it showed up on friends and neighbors in the next community over. A teenage girl may dream of looking like (insert pop culture icon name here), but she generally wants even more to look like (insert popular girl in school) and not stand out.
FWIW, I also pegged the first photo at early-to-mid 80’s. I couldn’t place the second photo at all. A friend of mine who was living on the west coast from the early 70’s to the mid-80’s pegged the first photo at mid-70’s.