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What is pop culture fashion is not a one sentence answer because it is constantly in motion and changing. It drives not only the textile industry, but also our preferences, lifestyle, societal communication, and even what we collect and play. This informative post explains its origin, how it became mainstream, and provides examples of the variety of key elements, collectibles, and style icons.



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What Is Pop Culture Fashion?

Pop culture fashion refers to clothing and collectibles that were made famous by celebrities of the public life. People like to take inspiration from them because they have professional stylists, and their looks are accepted. Everyone knows them. Copying their looks or taking inspirations from the icons provides confidence and security about the own personal style choices.

The roots of pop culture fashion go back to the early 20th century. Ever since, it has influenced fashion due to its influential power on our preferences, choices, and lifestyle. Pop culture has shaped societal trends and how we communicate who we are with our personal style. The fashion we wear conveys which groups we belong to, our preferences, lifestyle, what we like.

Pop culture fashion also affects what we collect. These collections can be everything from pokemon go trading cards, over city puzzles, souvenir concert T-shirts to figurines, phone cases, or cups with prints of our favorite star.


Torchic Pokemon Gijinka by greyloch
“Torchic – Pokemon Gijinka” by greyloch is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.


How Did It Enter Mainstream?

In the 20th century, print media, TV, and movies including movie posters showed what the stars, Rich, celebrities, and Aristocrats wore. People like to take inspiration from them because they have professional stylists, and their looks are accepted. Everyone knows them. Copying their looks or taking inspirations from the icons provides confidence and security about the own personal style choices.

Gloverall’s surplus sales after WWII, for instance, made the historic Monty Duffle coat worn by Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery mainstream. Movies introduced Must-have items like Humphrey Bogart‘s  historic trench coat with fedora in “Casablanca” or the white 2×2 rib-knit cotton T-tank Prof. Dr. Jo Harding alias Helen Hunt wore in “Twister”. I admit that I bought and wore it until it fell apart. Why? I am a meteorologist and I wanted to be like Jo.

Since the internet and social media, celebrities, bloggers, and influencers introduce pop culture fashion trends by posting their own looks and/or writing about their favorite brands. Just think of the sneakers and skirt trend on Instagram by Carmen Gimeno.


Princess Diana's black off-shoulder gown is still mainstream in evening wear
This LBD became a classic in evening wear. “Princess Diana ‘Black Silk Cocktail Dress’ Commemorative Stamp Sheet Issued by Togo, Diana – Princess of Wales 1961 – 1997” by France1978 is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.



Key Elements of Pop Culture Fashion

Pop culture’s influences on fashion have kept the textile industry moving forward for the good or bad. Due to the diversity of influencers, celebrities, etc. the clothing and collectibles have a wide breath. Lately demands increased for both sustainable as well as fast fashion. Collectibles reach from charms, over game figurines to antique cars.

In other words, the key elements of Pop Culture Style are those that your fav celebrity, influencer, or style icon wears. Let’s assume your icon is Catherine Princess of Wales. Then your key elements would be L.K. Bennett heels, modest tailored dresses with hemlines just above the knee, non-breakable pantyhose, and you would collect hats and fascinators.

If your favorite style blogger would be Lesley Wolman your key elements would be bold solid color tops and dresses, bold accessories like earrings, belt buckles, pendants, hardware embellishment, pointy toe heels and booties, lots of pink and black, tight medium wash jeans, cropped sweater and cardigans. You might collect high-end brands’ accessories, bags and shoes.


Style Icons of Pop Culture in the Movies

The list of style icons of pop culture is long. Therefore, I mention just a few to give you an idea how Pop Culture fashion has affected what and who inspired people in the past, and what we wear today.

  • Lisa Fremont in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” played by Grace Kelly. She wore a cocktail dress made by Edith Head. Ever since the black-and-white trend is an evergreen classic.
  • Serena van der Woodsen (Blake Lively) and Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meesters) in “Gossip Girls”. Just think Blair’s headband and Serena’s perfect messy hair and sort of ultimate French woman attitude of “J’ne sais pas” outfits.
  • The comic figures Kiki and Tombo in “Kiki’s Delivery Service”. Kiki’s bluish-black dress an bright bow were the roots for the 1990s black uniform dressing with a pop of color. Tombo’s red-and-white Tee with cropped blue jeans are an evergreen casual look.
  • Superman. Recall when his logo S was the It graphic Tee? More on the history of graphic Tees.
  • Mickey Mouse. A favorite among Moms for their toddlers.


Real World Style Icons of Pop Culture

Some celebrities are Pop Culture Style icons all by themselves. Just think of

  • Josephine Baker and her simplicity 1920 fashion.
  • Marilyn Monroe with her bombshell style.
  • James Dean made the white Tee and motorcycle jacket mainstream. More on the history of T-shirts.
  • Audrey Hepburn and her Gamine Style,
  • Queen Elizabeth II.
  • Madonna with her easy to achieve looks.
  • Oprah Winfrey.
  • Lady Gaga as a fashion designer.
  • Victoria Beckham as Spice Girl Posh and fashion designer.
  • The Kardashians and Jenners.
  • Ellen DeGeneres and her menswear style.


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