When did we start buying so many clothes?

imagesThis past week we went down to LACMA (Los Angles County Museum of Art) to see a few exhibits.  One of the exhibits was Hollywood Costume Exhibit.  It was fun to see all the different costumes that actually had been worn on movies from Wizard of Oz to Stars Wars to The Titanic.   Some of the displays had the actors talking about the impact that the clothing made on shaping their characters.

Meryl Streep had a section with the clothes she wore from many of her movies. She’s such an incredible actor.  Anyway, she said something that really stuck with me.  She spoke about the outfit she wore in Kramer vs Kramer.  They made a decision that as a woman who just left her family, had very little cash, that it really made sense for her to stick to one outfit.  Makes sense.  What Streep said added was that in those times nobody had lots of clothes.

Made me start thinking.  I always liked clothes and fashion.  Those roots run deep.  I think of the days in the late 70’s and my Mom’s wardrobe.  She wore a lot of stuff over and over.  It isn’t like today where people have a lot more clothes.  Nothing really happened around the idea of sustainable clothing.  Not even sure what that would mean.

There is an abundance of stores and more than there ever was vs the 70’s.  The department stores owned all the market share then.  The Gap started in 1969 and was expanding heavily in the mid-late 70’s.  It ate into the marketshare of department stores.  Other concepts of singular free standing stores started to surge.  There were the teen stores, the mens suit stores, etc.  It diminished the market for the department stores who then started the discount craze of one-day sales and alike but all those clothes and options changed the way people shop.  How much they shop and how much they buy.

Not sure where I am going with this but it would be an interesting research topic to see based on income how the consumption of clothing has changed.  At one point people wore the same jeans until they literally fell apart.  Some still do but not like they did.