Taking a cue from the grim economy, this fall's fashions at Banana Republic, Gap and H&M are featuring a distinctly Depression-era trend of cloche hats, pencil skirts, conductor caps and baggy, vintage-style dresses.You know, I am occasionally troubled by the very existence of Gap*; it is a powerful argument against the idea that there is justice in the universe. But I do take solace in the thought that when we actually do "connect with our heritage" - rather than making smarmy fashion statements about it - we will no longer be tormented by its existence.
One of the most popular styles appears to hark back to the impish, newsboy getup of the 1930s: baggy trousers, caps, pinstriped vests, oxford lace-up shoes and utilitarian handbags.
"We associate the newsboy look with urban poverty - street kids of the 1930s," said Daniel James Cole, a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology.
"Given that we're in an unstable economy and an uncertain political landscape, it's possible that a retro style has come back as a way to connect with our heritage."
* Banana Republic, on the other hand, is probably here to stay, not as a store but as a nation, thanks to the efforts of the Banana Republicans.