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Aviator Jackets, The Reason For Retro

Updated on September 18, 2010
Jacket from
Jacket from

Aviator jackets are so incredibly hot right now, ironically at a point in our history in which flying has never been less fun or fashionable to actually take part in. Is the current obsession with aviator jackets a reflection of our yearning for a more genteel age of flight? At one time, flying commanded a certain gravitas. People dressed their best to board flights rather than humbly shoving their toiletries into clear plastic bags, taking off their shoes and submitting meekly to invasive x rays. There can be no doubt that the aviator jacket hearkens back to a time of an entirely different concept of human dignity. No wonder it is so popular.

I'm about to diverge wildly from the original topic of aviator jackets at this point in time, but suffice to say, if you're here for trend information only and care nothing for the socio-political implications of fashion, buying an aviator jacket is most certainly the right thing to do right now.

With many trends prior to the 1980's popping up at the moment, (the 70's, 60's and even the 50's have never seen such a vigorous revival,) one can't help wondering if all this fashion nostalgia is not a reflection of the desires of a slowly aging populace to recapture the feeling of their youth, when they  were protected by mother and father who knew best, when wars could be protested and ended, when candy could be bought for a mere pittance and an entire family could survive on a single salary.

There's something to the theory, I think. As we grow increasingly more uncertain about the future, there is a swing towards the conservative, towards roots that we feel are safe. Throughout much of the 80's and 90's, fashion looked forward, pushing the boundaries of what had been accepted before. Pant suits for women were one significant marker of the period, not to mention masculine shoulder pads that reflected changing gender values and the use of bright, bold neon colors. Those were times of great optimism and change, and fashion reflected that in spades.

Take a look at the catwalks now and you could be forgiven for thinking you'd stumbled into a time warp as feather haired beauties strut down the catwalk in high waisted pleated pants toting fringe bags, or prance pertly in 1950's style circle skirts. Military fashion is also very popular right now, perhaps unsurprisingly considering that the Iraq War has now been raging for seven years.

Fashion is what happens when people wear clothes, but fashion is also more than that, it is a barometer of the health and optimism of society at large. Though I'm enjoying seeing retro styles brought out of the closet, I look forward to the time when fashion stops looking backwards and starts looking forwards. There must be hope for the future, for without hope, we will soon be lacing ourselves into corsets and paying ladies maids to hold our bustles as we apply lead based make up and drink mercury for our health.


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