Which decade had the best formal fashion at West Ottawa?

Which decade had the best formal fashion at West Ottawa?

Meagan Rockafellow

   I carefully flip through the 1971 edition of The Icon in the quiet of the library. After a few seconds of browsing through the black and white images, one page stands out. The spread is in full color and displays sharply dressed students on a large stage. 

   The boys sported classy black tuxes and bowties while the girls were dressed in a variety of bright fabrics. My eyes widen as I take in the scene. The image is surreal, almost as if it was pulled straight from a movie.

   As the decades have passed, WO’s formal fashion has been ever changing. With help from the fashion design class, I sought out to find the answer to a very important question. Which decade had the best formal fashion at West Ottawa?

Last- 1991

1991 featured large bows and ruffles

   West Ottawa definitely had a bold fashion sense in 1991. Instructor Traci Howard explained that the pictures in the yearbooks show many trends that were iconic in the 90s. Howard notes that puffy sleeves, big hair, and bows on lowered waistlines were the pinnacle of formal fashion at that time.

   However, despite the bold fabric and big hair, the judges decided that 1991 fell short. Frosh. Charlie King said, “I didn’t really care for the sleeves on the dresses and I thought overall the dresses kinda looked tacky.”

Fourth- 2011

   Slightly better than 1991, 2011 comes in fourth. The metallic fabric and ruching displayed in 2011 was very reminiscent of the 90s. However 2011 had unique stylistic elements as well. Sr. Keliah Visscher said, “Shorter dresses with an empire waist to emphasise the bust were very popular.” She also added that large belts were also a fashion staple.

   Overall, the judges liked many aspects of 2011. Howard explained that the hairstyles in 2011 were by far her favorite. In fact, Howard placed 2011 as number one on her list. However, Visscher and King disagreed, both placing 2011 firmly at the bottom.

2011 had many interesting prints and colors

Third- 1971

1971 sported many flowy skirts and flowery patterns

   Coming in third is 1971. Personally, 1971 was the most unusual decade I saw while looking through the yearbooks because of the flowery prints and interesting cuts. Overall the judges tended to agree with me. 

   Visscher said, “I think the group from the 1970’s had the best style, but that’s simply because I love 70’s fashion. I love the floral, flowy designs.”

   Our other judges placed 1971 in the middle of their lists. King said “I liked the style of dresses because they were more A-line type skirts and they are long.”

Second- 1981

1981 had a very similar style to 1971

   Next up is 1981. The 80’s were still very reminiscent of the 70’s and boosted many similar stylistic elements such as lacy and flowy ruffles. The 80’s also sported high necklines and soft, flowy fabrics in a variety of colors.

   King said, “I loved the sleeves, I loved how flowy the sleeves were and how they dropped down to the elbow.” King also explained that in comparison to the other decades, the dresses in 1981 had an air of mature elegance that the other decades lacked. 

First- 2001

   Finally, the decade with the most stylish formal wear was… 2001! This group sports a style unlike any of the other decades. Instead of displaying flashy bows and fabrics, 2001 presents elegant, simple dresses with spaghetti straps paired with necklaces. 

   Our judges appreciated the elegance of the dresses in 2001. Howard said, “I think the dresses from 2001 are the most simple and refined.”

   King agreed with Howard. “I believe that the dresses from 2001 are the best because they’re simple but still classy and more sophisticated. There wasn’t too much clash in the fabrics and everything blended in well,” King said. 

2001 featured spaghetti straps and simple dresses