Those of us old enough to have lived through the 1980s are able to remember some real 80s fashion disasters! The really funny thing is, though, that many of them have made a recent comeback (mercifully, fashion being fashion, only putting in a temporary appearance). Here are some 80s fashion disasters that nobody in their right mind should ever have worn …
1 Ra-Ra Skirts
There were some terrible 80s fashion disasters, and the ra-ra skirt was out there leading the way. To my eternal shame, I can remember, aged about 12, being desperate for one, and hating my parents for refusing to give in. Now I am profoundly grateful that there are no embarrassing photos of me in one of these awful layered skirts!
This summer, when I walked into a store I thought for a moment that I had been timewarped back to the 80s. I was confronted by wall-to-wall neon clothing that made me want to put on sunglasses. Folks, nobody can get away with clothes that bright. Respect the retinas of those around you, and lay off the neon!
3 Big Hair
You can generally date an 80s photo by the fact that the hairstyles are huge, in a way that nature never intended. This look was achieved by backcombing and applying massive quantities of hairspray (goodbye, ozone layer). And then there were the perms … oh God, the perms …
Leggings should really only be worn by small girls. Yet this item, which should not be seen outside the gym, became strangely popular in the 80s. However, they make slim legs look like twigs, and bigger legs look like overstuffed sausages. Do yourself a favour, and get a decent pair of jeans instead.
5 Shoulder Pads
Shoulder pads became synonymous in the 80s with shows like Dallas and Dynasty. Unfortunately that is not where they stayed. Throughout the decade, no jacket, dress or top was complete without that “American footballer” look. Then we saw sense and started ripping them out. Truly, they made everyone look awful.
80s denim tended towards the acid wash and stone wash look. This led to the odd situation of people paying a fortune for something that looked as though it had been half-destroyed. True style offenders also did “double denim” – that is, combining acid washed jeans with an equally faded denim jacket. Definitely a step too far.
In theory, this was a good idea … but like many good theories, it didn’t work in practise. The body was a one-piece garment, designed to avoid the annoyance of having your top come untucked from your skirt or pants, and to give a smooth line. However, for practicality (you wouldn’t want to take the whole thing off every time you went to the bathroom), it fastened at the crotch with press studs. Doing these up was bad enough when sober, but virtually impossible after a couple of drinks …
8 White Stilettos
White stilettos, like many ghastly 80s fashions, have for some strange reason been declared back in style by none other than Vogue. Proof, it seems, that magazines are not in touch with what is actually flattering. White shoes are impractical, unflattering, and should be consigned to the garbage bins of history.
The best thing about 80s fashions, for those of us who were fooled into wearing them, is that time moved on. So if you are young enough to have missed out this hideous fashion era, be aware that if you are tempted by any of them, you will be laughed at by people who remembered them first time round! Leave the neon and leg warmers on the rack. What is the most embarrassing “fashion” that you used to wear?