Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Coming Around Again

Have you noticed how some of the 80s fashions are being seen again? Not quite the Madonna-esque bits of lace hanging everywhere, and more kohl eye liner than the Ming Dynasty, but there’s definitely a hint. If you did it the first time round, you’re probably not able to blithely don your old rags without some moderation. For me at least, it has to be worn differently once you reach a certain age.

Take the resurrection of skinny jeans, which initially caused me to consider a sack cloth as an alternative. Being an apple shape, my legs can still take it, but since there’s more torso these days, a long sweater or jacket is required to balance things out, and definitely chunky boots instead of ballet flats. Posh Spice once said that you shouldn’t wear skinny jeans with flats because they make your legs look like golf clubs, and for once the wee lass was right on the money. And no matter how trim a forty-something is, there’s no mistaking the 40-something derriere. Skinny jeans require a skinny bum. End of discussion.

Then there’s the long top and leggings which reappeared last year. Never having embraced this outfit first time round, I didn’t even think about it this time. Why emphasize thinner legs and a larger bod with that little number? Anyway, it always makes me look like I’ve just given birth. Well, not literally, but like I’m not quite back into my normal clothes. Oh wait, I’m still not back into my “normal” clothes.

And what about the tops slashed and hanging off one shoulder. Initially I thought this was death to older boobies, given that you can’t really wear a bra, but since the fashion is to layer at least two tops these days, some vintage women can actually carry this one off. Although most of us require substantial support to keep the girls aloft, and braless isn’t really an option, (or shouldn’t be, an option), the first layer can easily be a tank/bra if you can get away with one. The thing to avoid is having the inch and a half wide bra strap showing. If you’re ta-tas are large enough to need the industrial bra, then don’t go showing the straps unless you’re at your mammogram appointment.

This year I’m seeing the return of harem pants, another trend I avoided like the plague. I accept that they looked good on a limited number of genetically blessed individuals (usually being paid to wear them in the glossier magazines) but on most people they looked utterly ridiculous. Hang on though, - even though a baby with a full load looks more graceful than harem pant wearers, aren’t they just the outfit for hiding a sagging bum? Hmmm. Might be worth at least trying some on.

Whether your fashion icon of choice was Madonna, the Bangles or Duran Duran, the question remains – What were we thinking? Sadly, at the time, we all thought we were IT, and our clothing was out there and edgy. But looking back folks - WTF?


  1. I'm recalling the grundge days, and thought that I lead the parade in my ratty jeans and paint smattered sweat shirt with the neck half ripped out. And don't forget the ugly sandals everyone seemed to sport...great post...sad memories lol!

  2. Just think how I feel, looking back on my youth in the 1970s where I went from loon pants to punk? Our fathers and grandfathers had it right - wear what your parents did. Only don't wear your mum's nightie if you're a boy.

  3. I have worn some dreadful things over the years and often have a chuckle when looking at old photos. At the time I thought I was the car's whiskers!

    Everything. goes around & comes back full circle if we wait long enough.

  4. At least the punk look was different and daring - the guys in the 80's were often more bouffant than the girls.

  5. Saw a girl walking down the street the other day wearing legwarmers. Thought that was the worst of it until I turned to look in the window of the shoe store and saw jelly shoes. Aaack!

  6. Funny you should post about this... a week ago I was looking at some old photos someone sent to me from the 80s. I was shocked at how I looked. I was lean and fit and everything I was wearing was in the 80s style - sharp suits, shirts, sharp looking haircut... and a moustache that looked more like a soot smear across my top lip. If I didn't have the dreadful moustache, I would have looked very groovy. Now I know why my family ripped on me so much for having the tash!

  7. Oh those were the days and god forbid they should be coming back!

    I am in need of an industrial bra LOL so no way will I be wearing that top and who wants to look like MC Hammer ffs!

    I have to say though if this is what you are seeing around Chi-town, I look forward to some free entertainment!

    No these days I have my own fashion, know as 'what suits Sarah'!

  8. Leggings should be consigned to history, along with the Elizabethan ruff collar, and the Crusaders' chain mail. No excuse to bring them back.

    But that slashed off-the-shoulder thing? Hm. Maybe that is just where I might be headed, given the 'no bra straps' advice you give. This could be a whole new sartorial world opening up to me...

  9. Oh yeah, so true!!

    I was just chatting with friends about this very thing. I was remarking that I'd been shopping at Target one day when I was attrached to shiny bright dangly jewelry just like I had been as a teen!

  10. I couldn't help but notice it when my son asked for black trousers, a black shirt and a white skinny tie for the prom. So 80's. But they can keep the Harem pants along with the leg warmers, rainbow suspenders (braces) and the painter's pants.

  11. Its the return of neon that is most irritating to me. But when acid wash, high waist, pleated jeans come back Im heading for the hills.

  12. I don't really remember these trends the first time around (was only a babes in the 80s) but im not much a fan of them . On my toddlers i love the top/leggins combo but thats about it.
    As for Harem pants , NOPE NEVER

  13. I remember in middle school I had these FOUR INCH wedges- YELLOW wedges, with red blue and yellow WIDE stripes across them.

    They. were. hideous.

    and I loved them.


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