One of the most prevalent human characteristics is to fit in, to be a part of something. The realms of fitting in can range from the immediate family life to giving in to peer pressure or societal expectations.
Trends have played a pivotal influence in the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, from attire to behavior to lifestyles. There are the rich and famous whose lifestyles we may envy, there are those whose home life may have forced them into alternative lifestyles not always condoned by society.
The evolution of music is testimony to the trends that have shaped and changed our lives. Elvis' lower body movements during his performances were always controversial - so much that his first television appearance showed only his waist up. The Beatles arrived in America and brought a mass evolution to the music world and are still considered the role model for the light-hearted rock and roll to the intellectual messages of a world in revolution and wish for world peace. Then came the heavy metal and acid rock of the 1970s to disco, classic rock, rap, reggae, alternative rock, alternative Christian, a new wave of traditional country music to the lighter rock and roll sounds that often were labeled cross over.
Last week's column addressed many of the fashion trends that have changed or been revised, updated and renamed over the years. Another trend was body decorating - otherwise known as tattoos. Tattoos were once considered taboo for anyone other than a sailor, but now it is rare to meet someone under 55 who hasn't fallen to boasting a permanent ink design on some part of their body. Who needs jewelry to offset their outfit when their entire body has designs to view and question?
Then body piercing came into the forefront of body decorations. Body piercing requires jewelry, of course, to highlight the holes in the eyebrows, nose, tongue, lips, ears and other body parts not needed named. Depending on the site of the particular piercing, the process requires specialized jewelry that certified body piercers are more than willing to offer. While ear piercing has been acceptable for many years, the latest trend is to put a hole in the ear, then insert a large ring that stretches the ear lobe and usually leaves a large hole if the ear adornment is ever removed just seems painful.
Even the transportation world has undergone its trends. The rise of gas prices launched the creation of smaller vehicles, the rise of NASCAR brought the muscle cars, the creation of all wheel drive and four wheel drives gave us the SUVs. Now we have multiple choices of environmentally safe vehicles ranging from electric cars, crossovers, controlled parking and sensors to warn if an object is too close. It's amazing that with all the new technology with the transportation world, automobile insurance continually rises based on the number of accidents in your particular area of the country rather than based on your personal driving record. Then came the popularity of ATVs and sporting areas to accommodate those die-hard adventurists who dared to go off the beaten path and make their own.
Trailers, otherwise referred to as mobile homes, spread to double wides and have now evolved into modular or manufactured homes that feature far more extravagant fixtures than many houses in that price range, and don't have the steep depreciation formerly associated with mobile homes of the past. The latest trend is the little houses that can used for a two-person family or as a separate living unit for single people and dealers that spring up in every vacant lot in the local area.
Reality TV has dominated the home viewers' selections of shows, launched by "Survivor" and copied in many other themed shows that offer an evening of bliss for adventurers and endless nights of monotone narrators and actors whose orchestrated discoveries lay the groundwork for season after season. Talent testing shows have also risen and fallen over the past years, with some lasting and some fading silently into the network's history books.
The world has undergone a multitude of changes since the Baby Boomer generation - some trends that have lasted, some that have made their debut and faded away almost as fast. Some trends have paved the way for future exploration and development, while others have simply marked "the signs of the times."
But regardless of the trend, I will always uphold two things in the fashion world - 1. Jeans, regardless of whether they cost $5 in a thrift store or carry a $500 price tag from a designer, are just that - jeans. Paired with a suit jacket or an expensive top or a $500 pair of boots, they are casual wear and are not dressy in the business world, and 2. Tennis shoes are tennis shoes and will never make the "Best Dressed" list with dresses, suits, and NEVER EVER with a tuxedo!
Nita Johnson is a staff writer at the Sentinel-Echo. She can be contacted firstname.lastname@example.org.