Beyoncé. She runs it, and she runs it well. This past Saturday, I was given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Queen B live in the flesh, and she somehow had the ability to surpass any expectation I could have ever held about the experience. She added the St. Louis concert to The Formation World tour, so I obviously had to force my best friends to accompany me for the ride.
And being the person that over-prepares and over-analyzes my outfits for big occasions like these (I know Beyoncé can see me and will remember my outfit, right), I had to get the perfect outfit for a night like this. I purchased this two piece set at a cute little boutique downtown called Muse Clothing, solely for the purpose it had lemons. Because Yoncé was “served lemons” and she “made lemonade”… so I had to represent that based on my outfit, of course.
But, my favorite part about the concert was paying attention to what was being worn. In ‘Lemonade’, Beyoncé’s album that she released in mid-April, it spoke volumes about several issues she witnesses and experiences as a black women in this society. The lyrics in her songs motivate power, portray feminism, and influence the confidence women of any age should have in our society. It left a huge impact on women, giving them this energy to exemplify the strong hearts they have. The minor details that are included in her album and concert have an immense amount of meaning behind them. It’s something that I can spend so much time researching and analyzing to figure out what she truly means in the words she speaks, the scenes that take place, and the most important factor of it all… the outfits she wears. They give clarity and symbolize all the ideals that she shared with the viewers of Lemonade.
The outfits that Beyoncé wore during the concert, in particular the one featured above, consisted of structured and stiff shoulders, thick detailed collars, brass buttons, fashion-forward epaulettes… all aspects of a military style that is a way for females to show an edge in their appearance. This trend of incorporating different aspects of replicated military clothing has continued since the 18th century, starting with a garment called the Spencer jacket. This jacket is a cropped style of the outerwear that British officers had worn, but women adopted the jacket to use as cardigan or a fitted jacket to wear with outfits.
Once World War 1 hit, trench coats were needed to protect from the cold and wet weather conditions… so who else to make these coats than Thomas Burberry? Known for his trench coats now, learning about how they originated is an awesome concept to think about. As time went by, by the mid-1940’s people everywhere were adopting this trench coat fashion, seeing both the practicality and the stylish influences of the piece.
Obviously, the Spencer jacket isn’t a trend (right now), but it’s not the identical jacket that has stuck with us today. It’s the action of adopting a style from the military to incorporate bits and pieces into women’s fashion that has carried through the years of wartime, shifts in trends, and the changes in our society- economically, politically, socially. What is being worn is often a reflection of how we are doing in our lives. When there is a war taking place, much of the overall thought, actions, and money is directed to soldiers and circumstances that are taking place. That leaves many sacrifices being made in home life, work atmospheres, and production of apparel. The impact of the war was seen in the style and silhouette of the clothing. The limitations in expenses due to war being at top priority led to these shifts in the appearance of the clothing during this time.
This was for both economic reasons, like the development of the L-85 manufacturing regulations that had serious consequences if broken … but also emotional reasons. With men being in war, women were taking the “husband” position and beginning to work. Women were deemed the ability to wear trousers, which was once seen as heavily negative. It’s such a crazy idea, to think that women at one point were not even allowed to wear dress pants. But, the acceptance to this ability gave women empowerment, determination, and independence.
The fact that certain details have maintained a strong prevalence in women’s wear because of the vision of strength that it portrays is an overwhelming thought. Clothing is worn because of the satisfaction the wearer has while being worn and the impression is portrays to others. Having the opportunity to take a “girly” concept, like fashion, and putting a masculine twist on it isn’t taken advantage of. However, the fun part about the military aspects in women’s clothing is the ability to put certain twists to it to still remain the “feminine” side of our apparel.
Presenting a bomber jacket in a soft, lustrous lilac gives a masculine-toned bomber jacket a touch of femininity. Along with the ever-popular trend of the ascot scarf in camouflage, being able to be worn with neutrals like brown and black. As well as my favorite article clothing of the moment, joggers, including cargo pockets and the army-green color that illustrates this military style subtly.
Lemonade revolving around women strength, self-prioritizing, aspects of the Black Lives Matter movement are all such dominant characteristics to depict. It only makes sense for the words and emotion being shared with the audience was replicated by her outfits as well.
Soon I will write a blog post about the clothing being worn by the people who attended the concert! It was so interesting to me to see some of the things being worn by us in the crowd worn by Beyoncé herself, like over the knee boots for example! Imitation is the best form of flattery, and who doesn’t strive to be Queen Bee?