I am constantly amazed at how looks that are quite daring, jarring and even shocking to the eye at the start of a trend become the new “normal” after a period of time. The adjustment can take anything from a season to many years. Here are some examples.

Seattle is full of people with tattoos, rainbow hair and disconnected haircuts. Body art used to be a very dramatic and bold addition to one’s appearance. But these days it’s sported by men and women across a range of ages. In Seattle, it’s almost as popular as jeans and sneakers. It looks very normal. 

Green, blue, pink and purple hair looked quite shocking six or seven years ago, but in my neck of the woods, it’s beginning to look “natural”. Disconnected haircuts (when parts of the hair are shaved leaving other parts longer and “disconnected” from the rest of the hairstyle), used to be a very daring look. But the drama has been tempered as it has become more commonplace. 

Green, blue and black fingernail and toenail polish used to be a jarring look that hard-edged punks sported back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Now those nail polish colours are completely mainstream and can be sported in professional settings. 

Taking myself back to the ‘80s, it wasn’t long before hectically large linebacker shoulder pads looked completely right. The more inverted triangle you could make your outfit, the more fashionable you were. It was quite a shocking concept at first, especially after the sensual figure hugging styles of the ‘70s. Yet the new ‘80s silhouette looked “normal” in no time. 

When harem pants made a comeback about nine years ago, I did not fancy the look. The dramatic dropped crotches looked very odd and I couldn’t get my head around the silhouette despite loving rock star Hammer in his pants back in the ‘80s. Then we visited Israel where I saw many women sport harem pants with panache. I was very inspired and purchased a silk pair right away. My eye adjusted to the strange silhouette virtually overnight, and now harem pants look “normal” to me. Still a little dramatic and avant-garde, but not jarring and shocking like they did many years ago.

I count it a blessing that we’re able to adjust our visual perceptions to new fashion trends. After all, daring new trends create change and keeps things moving forward. It keeps us hungry for the next new thing. It’s fun to be shocked with a new look because the surprise creates an adrenaline rush and keeps things fresh. When we get used to the aesthetic and it appears more “normal”, we feel a sense of calm and even accomplishment.

So when you’re shocked that fashion-forward make-up artists suggest blue lipstick and white eyeliner, remember that after a while the look will probably become the new normal.