Stocking jeans, Kimye on the cover of Vogue and the paradox of Normcore—fashion has gotten weird, of late. Think it will be better in the future? We aren’t so sure. We’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite futuristic fashions from the silver screen. And really, what better time than now, when Hollywood is furiously releasing screen adaptations of dystopian literature? From Divergent to The Giver, the future will be interesting.
Spike Jonze has seen the near future, and it is depressing. Her teaches us that in a decade or so, advanced operating systems will break human hearts and high waisted pants for men will make a grand and frumpy return. The male torso will be ruthlessly cut in half, creating demand for the male crop button down, a hybrid of the ‘90s crop top and a classic dress shirt. Unfortunately, collars, denim and even belts will not survive. When your pants cling to your ribcage like Theodore to his Samantha, everything else is overkill.
The Giver imagines a society where citizens choose “sameness” in order to eradicate pain and suffering. Not surprisingly, with the death of individuality comes the death of personal style, and the citizens of the Community wear identical outfits in muted colors. (Think mandatory Normcore.) While a world modeled on a more drab version of the J.Crew catalog doesn’t sound exactly terrible, the reality is rather unsettling. Throw in Meryl Streep’s grey blunt bangs and daily injections that suppress human emotion, and we’d prefer to opt out of the Cult Chic movement.
In this potential future scenario, avant garde is the new ready-to-wear. From a scale of sweatpants to Lady Gaga, the citizens of Panem’s Capitol don the equivalent of a meat dress to grocery shop. Plain dress is a fashion statement in the Capitol, where a willingness to be over-the-top is a kind of conformity. (Essentially, if anyone from The Giver wandered into the Captiol, there would be a serious mind control fashion throw down.) In the dystopia of Hunger Games, the excesses of fashion personify the perversity of a world where watching teenagers fight to death is high entertainment.
In the future, our clothing will be color coded based on our dominant personality traits. (Basically, only the Dauntless will be fashionable, in that edgy, all-black-everything sort of way.) Quite the opposite of the color explosion of Hunger Games, everyone in this world wears solids with clean, minimalistic lines. Pros: Not having to worry if you’re matching, because you’re forced to wear monochrome. Cons: The tragic red/yellow combination of the Amity faction, being murdered for wearing floral print.
Teenage boys wake up in a monumental maze, unaware of their previous lives or how they got there. All they have is their name, and the knowledge that they’re going to be wearing the same distressed cotton tees indefinitely. To grasp this futuristic aesthetic, imagine one of those swanky California brands that shamelessly charges $70 for a tank top full of holes. Then, subtract freedom of choice and all glamorous appeal, because you are going to die in a maze wearing rags. Bleak, no?
5. Doctor Who
The stylistic predictions of Doctor Who vary wildly, depending on which part of the future they visit in each episode. However, we chose to focus on Billie Piper’s appearance in “The Day of the Doctor,” from Nov. 2013. The Doctor has the ability to end a destructive war, and Piper appears to him as the Moment, the personification of a doomsday weapon. Items to note: Teased hair with a messy front braid and layered, distressed lace. With smokey eye makeup and a brown vintage-looking vest, it seems like her getup is straight from a Free People catalog. This is a future we like.
There is a lingering sense of doom surrounding Hailsham boarding school, where the students are sentenced to death in young adulthood, and their dreary uniforms add to the joyless atmosphere. Neutral greens and browns and muted maroons signal the underlying sadness and feeling of loss. We only see punches of color in moments the characters believe they can break away from their tragic destiny, but they fade to gray again later. (Though, to be fair, if you were going to have your organs harvested, you might not be concerned with vibrant dressing, either.) As with many dystopian dramas, personal identities succumb to conventionality, and characters appear almost interchangeable.
For Sarah Manning, the near future is brimming with fashion possibilities. As a result of a creepy cloning experiment, Manning encounters multiple versions of herself, and thus starkly different incarnations of “her” personal style. Ever wonder what you would look like with dreads? Or with a close cropped bob? Or if you were a peroxide blonde covered in keloid scars? The world of Orphan Black has the answers for you (and you and you and you and you).
In a totalitarian society in 2020, you have two options: prison camp or revolution. If you opt for prison camp, you will will probably end up rocking the Sinead O’Connor buzz cut circa 1990, dreaming of the time before the fascist Norsefire regime, when you wore red lipstick and future-retro house dresses. If you choose to join the revolution, we hope you like Guy Fawkes masks and John Mayer hats.
They say beauty is skin deep. Want to be truly alternative and escape from all future fashion trends? Try a nice blue hue instead. (Is this what Eiffel 65 was talking about?)