What Goes Around Comes Around

Updated February 21, 2017 | Factmonster Staff

Everything old is new again. In the world of fashion, most “new” looks have been around before. Here are some examples.

Unisex clothing

Women and men have worn the same clothing for centuries. Ancient Romans and Greeks wore tunics, so the unisex clothing of the '60s wasn't really new. The traditional clothing of China, India, Japan, and Malaysia has always been unisex. Some time during the Middle Ages women took off trousers and put on dresses, and gender-related fashions began.

Long tops over leggings

This popular women's wear of the '80s was worn in the fifteenth century by men as a tunic over tights, like Robin Hood and his band of merry men.

Platform shoes

The ancient Romans wore platform shoes to keep their feet out of the mud and water. Platform shoes were revived in the '30s, the '70s, and again in the '90s in the U.S.

Shaved Heads

Both Egyptian women and men shaved their heads. Unlike today, the ancients covered their shaved heads with wigs.


These two-piece bathing suits may have shocked the modern world when they appeared in Paris in 1946, but bikinis first appeared in a fourth-century mosaic in Sicily.


Egyptian noblewomen went topless. They wore tunics that wrapped below their breasts and were held up by a center strap. In 1964 topless swimsuits were fashionable. Women who wore them in the U.S., however, were arrested for indecent exposure.

Belly Bags

As far back as the Bronze Age, people attached bags to their belts to hold valuables.

Body Piercing

From earliest times, piercing the ears, nose, and bellybutton has been a superstitious practice: the holes were thought to release demons from the body. In Europe during the Renaissance, wearing one earring was the fashion.

Stick-on adornments

Known as beauty patches, stick-ons date back to ancient Rome. Women wore small patches of adhesive cloth cut into the shapes of stars, crescent moons, and hearts on their cheeks, foreheads, and throats. During the Middle Ages, beauty patches were used to cover smallpox scars.

High-top sneakers

These canvas sneakers were first popular in 1930.

Pea coats

Navy pea coats first appeared in Army-Navy stores after World War II. Since then they have had periodic revivals, including a period in the 1960s when they were worn by hippies. Pea coats resurfaced yet again in the winter of 1994.

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