Five Decades of Fashion

Plaid, blazers, and tied-up faculty starred on our August 1968 cover.

Washingtonian has detailed the latest in DC fashion since its first issue in 1965. Here’s a decade by decade look at the trends we’ve encouraged through the last fifty years.

August 1968

Just as the youth of the sixties led the country toward a cultural revolution, they also led our sense of fashion. In our August 1968 issue, women stand in high socks and plaid suits. Leather jackets, Oxford shoes, and pinstriped pants–and of course, the look of an undefined and casual hippie–show off the trends of the time.

“It is less fun to be locked up than it is to sit in,” we wrote. “Still, that’s the price one must sometimes pay for shaking up Old Ivy. This year stripes are out in jail, plaids are in. Reading from the new left are…”

Five models pose on a lineup to show off 1968’s latest fashion trends.

April 1974

As the seventies began, the retro era of fashion swept in. Clothing was expressive and flamboyantly fun, and the loose-fitting look was all the rage.

Our model in April 1974 sported a dress that was long, flowing–and flowery.

Men stuck to shorts that rival women’s summer attire today, or to a classic turtleneck and blazer look, like the Campari model below.

Our April 1976 issue featured an advertisement for Campari.
December 1985

The rise of MTV shed light on what it meant to be a video star–and with that came the 1980s’ longing for glamour. Fur coats and silk suits, like the ones shown below, were an attempt to make every girl a material one.
In our December 1985 issue, a Hecht’s model advertises for designer Adrienne Vittadini. “Elegance in bloom!”
The first page of our December 1985 issue shows this Gartenhaus model, a company self-labeled as “Washington’s master furrier.”

March 1992

In the early 1990s, oversized, wide-legged pants made women’s clothing edge toward masculinity. “Long and flowing” was fresh and new, as our models posed in loose gingham button ups, high-waisted slack jeans, and pants that can really only be called trousers.

Our fashion advice in March of 1992 came in the form of large hats and flowing cotton skirts.
Our March of 1992 fashion section claimed that “gingham says spring, particularly in bowl-him-over read.”
August 2003

The early 2000s brought with it a wave of hard-to-define fashion trends. Vintage became cool, along with denim, denim, and more denim. Our cover photo in August of 2003 was meant to define what was in at the time: a scarf also doubling as a cape, a polka dot dress, and gladiator-gone-punk strappy sandals. All on a motorcycle.

The cover of our August 2003 issue, attempting to break up the DC summer heat by providing readers with what was “cool” in the early 2000s.