Gator Glam: The Impact of the Recession on Personal Style

When I think back on the early 2000s, I see Von Dutch hats paired with Louis Vuitton rainbow handbags and cringe at the visual. The high-end brands were abundant and extremely popular for the middle class as well as the wealthy socialites, and even having a T-shirt with the Abercrombie & Fitch logo on it was better than a nice plain tee.

Then, the recession hit most people fairly hard, and what was once seen as cool and necessary, like $90 jeans with holes ripped through them, seemed unreasonable and unfashionable. Yes, styles change and morph over the years, but I’m actually a little thankful that the recession made wearing cheap looking clothes the “thing to do.”

Think about your favorite stores: Forever 21, H&M, Tobi and even Brandy Melville. There are a few things these stores have in common, besides all being the go-to clothing stores for young women. They are pretty cheap in price compared to other boutiques and brand name or department stores, and they are made quite cheaply as well. They all sell at least some items of clothing that look like you are either a.) homeless, b.) have been wearing the same outfit for a week or c.) just rolled out of bed. And the best part? It’s considered trendy!

Even better, you don’t even need to shop at the mall to have a wardrobe, as you can check out local thrift shops for a vintage look that’s way more unique. Or if you’re just spending a day at the library, nobody judges you when you rock that comfy T-shirt and leggings.

I’m not saying that a brand name is bad; many people still love Tory Burch shoes or Longchamp backpacks. But I really don’t feel that our current culture is as addicted to having all-brand everything and using those brands as a status symbol. Nobody really cares in college if your shoes were $20 or $200, as long as they’re cute, and you love them. Although the recession was a hard thing for many of us to have to grow up in, I’m glad that it allowed us to relax on the brand name obsessions. I’ve always preferred going for that whole “I didn’t really try that hard but I still look cute” kind of outfit anyway.