Increased environmental concern. New understanding of our connection with people of diverse cultures. And a surge in patriotism.
As our world changes, the way we dress changes.And in 1991, these bold changes are reflected most apparently in the expressive motifs of men's ties and women's scarves.
Striped ties are out. Floral designs, fruit and vegetable prints, geometric and beauty-of-the-earth patterns and red, white and blue are in.
Traveling and nautical themes - maps, postcards, sailboats, reproduction of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower - are popular in ties and scarves.
The tie and scarf industries are experiencing a burst of creativity. Even traditional themes such as paisleys and polka dots are getting reworked in artists' patterns.
The new, wider tie shapes give artists plenty of canvas to express their ideas. Mainstream widths are 33/4 inches, with some designer neckwear at 4 inches.
"In the past, men's clothing has been conservative and narrow. But there is new, adventurous direction that is opening up," says Susan Collins, fashion direction and designer buyer for ZCMI. "Creative people want to add color and excitement to men's wardrobes. This whole environmental awareness movement has inspired a lot of designers."
Adding an interesting tie to an outfit can create a whole new look. It's a relatively inexpensive way to expand a wardrobe, Collins said.
Fine silk ties cost between $32 and $45, she said.
"I think a 100 percent silk tie is the best bet. The design and material are usually better quality."
A survey conducted by Research Forecasts Inc. in New York showed that people judge a man not by his smile or the look in his eye - but by his choice of tie.
More than any other character trait, you can tell something about a man's taste and lifestyle by his tie, the survey concluded.
A man who wears a blue tie is seen as sophisticated, confident, wealthy, strong and successful.
A man sporting red ties is viewed as powerful, youthful, aggressive and somewhat impulsive.
Having just returned from a New York fashion show, Collins said that strong red, white and blue themes are leading the women's fashions for the summer - reflecting a new devotion to patriotism in America.
Scarves are being worn in more unconventional ways such as around the waist as a belt for blue jeans.
"There're ethnic feelings as women are wrapping scarves around their heads. They are also attaching scarves to hats and around handbags to coordinate, add color and flair to an outfit," Collins said.
Prints of English gardens, elaborate leaf patterns and vivid florals in scarves follow the same country theme apparent in men's ties.
"The sheer variety of tie and scarf colors and style offer men and women freedom and an opportunity to update an outfit while expressing individual concern for environment, love of travel and own sense of personality," Collins said.
"The way a person puts him or herself together is a definite expression of values and lifestyle," she said.