Western Wear: Where Did The Trends Come From?

Are you following this trend?


Sierra Pirkey

In recent fashion trends, western fashion is on the rise. Once a dying style, bell-bottom jeans, turquoise jewelry, and Aviator sunglasses are now found everywhere. These trends are taking social media, including Tiktok and Instagram, by storm and show no sign of disappearing any time soon. Yet, the questions arises: where did these trends come from, and why are they making a return? To answer these questions, we must take a closer look at the history of these trends to fully understand their popularity. 

Bell-bottom jeans were first worn by U.S. Navy soldiers in the early 1800’s. Since the Navy did not have a set uniform at this time, many sailors adapted this style pant due to its flexibility and ability to easily be rolled up. While this style did not remain constant in the uniforms of the U.S. Navy, bell-bottom jeans made a resurface in trends in the 1960’s, and remained popular until the early 1990’s. In the 1960’s, bell-bottom jeans were popular in European countries, and many European artists wrote about them in their songs. With the increase in popularity of European music in the United States during the 1960’s, the fashion trends sung about began to grow in popularity. Celebrities and commoners all over adapted this style, and the era of bell-bottoms was born.

Turquoise jewelry was first found in Native American tribes dating back to 8800 BCE. Native American tribes found in the southwestern part of the current-day United States would collect stones and bones, and would drill and shape them into beads and pendants that could be worn. These beads were turned into jewelry, and then traded with other tribes for valuable goods. Since then, turquoise jewelry has been a symbol of Native American history, and has been adapted by Western fashion.

Aviator sunglasses were first designed to be used by the U.S. Military as the official sunglasses for the U.S. Army Air Corps and the U.S. Navy. Due to their reflective lenses, steel frames, and comfortably, they quickly began to grow in popularity outside of the military. This style grew in popularity in fashion trends during the 1970’s, but soon died out. Aviators had another surge in popularity following the release of the move, Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise. Since then, Aviator sunglasses have had both increasing and decreasing popularity, but have recently gained more popularity in Western fashion. 

Recently, these trends have made a resurgence in popularity. Bell-bottom jeans are seen everywhere, shops are now opening to sell only turquoise jewelry, and aviator sunglasses are sold in most grocery stores in America. These trends, however, have made some slight changes since their original designs. Bell-bottom jeans were once made of patterned fabric and had much larger flares at the bottom. Since then, the current trend has much smaller flares and are almost all made of denim materials. Turquoise jewelry began as a tradition for Native American culture, but has quickly become a symbol for western culture. Once hung on string, threads, and hooks made of bones, turquoise jewelry is now hung with silver and is worn all over the country. Aviator sunglasses began with a dark brown or black tinted lense. They, however, have now adapted to lenses ranging in all different colors. All these trends that began 50 or more years ago, and they are still prevent in the current fashion trends. Their rich history and timeless design has stood to shown that these trends will continue to resurface throughout differing eras. Yet, the question still stands: how long will these trends last? Only time can tell just how long they will stay around; but, it is clear that even if they go away they will return one day, like they have so many times before.