Net / mesh shirts

Net / mesh shirts

Fashion Synopsis

Moms went into cardiac arrest when they found out you’d spent your hard-earned allowance buying ripped jeans, fingerless gloves, and shirts with holes in them. The deconstructed street style of 80’s dressing confused parents but pleased retailers as kids scarfed up ‘dirty’ street fashion to emulate their favorite stars. Madonna revealed her starpower in mesh belly shirts, and L.A. glam metal gods Mötley Crüe strutted around in skintight net shirts and leather pants. All things holey had become holy.

The 70’s heralded the dawn of the perforated athletic jersey, which evolved into the mesh and net-style shirt for both men and women. Mesh was a cotton knit fabric punched with holes, much like the perforated jersey, but with wider holes or even rips. At the same time, fishnet—a design much like a fisherman’s net, but with a tighter weave—moved from the realm of seductive stockings to the land of outer clothing, but it maintained the shock value.

Net and mesh-style clothes were originally hand-made by the anti-fashion punk rockers: their need to shock and offend was satiated by the destruction of everyday items. A simple t-shirt sliced, diced and ripped to shreds became a symbol of their angst and rebellion against the normal fashion. Ironically, many of the punk elements made it to 80’s mainstream fashion: safety pins, zippers, shredded clothes and fishnet stockings were borrowed by fashion-conscious scenesters and pop icons.

Neon and net became solid companions, and the punk style soon turned from hard-edged street style to a circus of clashing colors. Hot pink net shirts draped over neon green tank tops, and fluorescent yellow mesh hair bows crowned the shocking ensemble. And Mom passed out from a coronary.

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