Skinny Jeans, Leggings, and Other ’80’s Fashion Flashbacks

I wrote this fun little piece on November 6, 2006

They’re Baaa–aack! All those horrors we thought we’d left behind in the ’80’s are back; the 2006 fall season is all about leggings and big hair, and it’s all giving me a bit of a headache, maybe from the scent memory of too much hairspray and half a bottle of Charlie perfume.

I was a teenager in the ’80’s and indulged in all the hideous fashions of the day, including the shampoo infused with beer that was supposed to give hair extra body. Ever wonder who wore those sparkley rope headbands? It was me. Scratch your head pondering who would pair several pairs of leg warmers with Candies slides or jelly shoes? Ponder no more, it was (sadly) me. Ever want to find the person who wore those full flirty mini skirts with leggings so you could shake her until her teeth rattled? Look no further.

I’d slather on the white-lightpink lipstick and draw heavy dark lines around my eyes (especially the inner lower lid–nothing can really make an eye look smaller or more beady and demonic, but hey! I thought I looked great.). Then I’d shake out my brand new perm (this was mid-’80’s and post-feathered hair), scrunch it, dry it, tease it to within an inch of its life, and then protected the mile high thing from gravity by spraying it with half a can (yes, a CAN) of Aquanet. Then I’d wriggle my way into a stretch military style dress with hot pink stripes down each sleeve and side. And I was breathtaking (yeah, that’s inarguable, but not in the good way). What the heck were we all thinking? But then the ’80’s turned into the late ’80’s/early ’90’s, and we thought the madness had finally stopped.

Sure, fashion is about taking the old and making it fresh, new, and fierce. I just don’t think there’s any way to make those ’80’s styles anything other than what they are: hideous, unflattering disasters. The one saving grace these days is that leggings are being worn under longer skirts or tunic shirts and without (praise all that is holy) leg warmers. So far. But then the “fresh, new, and fierce” is currently manifested in the shoe-boot clunky heeled nightmare of this fall.

I’m 40 now, so I’m officially old enough to just say no to fashion’s more misdirected fads, so there will be no “Audrey Hepburn skinny black pants” or leggings in my closet this time around, and should the fashion powers that be decide to resurrect the zip legged jean or the shoulder pad, you won’t find any of those in there, either. Well, unless there are still some stuck back in there behind my box of Rubik’s cubes, roller skates, and cabbage patch dolls.

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