Not a Material Girl

A while ago, I was watching some TV show (I hate to admit it, but I think it was Oprah), and they were doing something about how to dress attractively or how to dress your age... I don't know, I didn't see the whole episode. Anyway, they pointed out how a woman in her 50s can look beautiful, but really shouldn't attempt to wear the low-cut jeans that girls in their teens and 20s are wearing.

One thing that stuck in my mind was that they said, "If you wore a trend the first time around, you shouldn't wear it the second time it comes back into style."

And I agree. If you wore bellbottoms in the 60s as a teenager, you were probably better off skipping the trend when they came back in the 90s and you were in your 40s.

I mention this because lately I've been seeing a big resurgence of 80s clothes in the magazines.

I was a little kid in the 80s, so I probably didn't "do" the trends as much as someone a few years older than me might have. But my best friend had an older sister who dutifully kept us informed of every trend and showed us how to feather our hair and what shades of blue eyeshadow "worked" best. We were the coolest kids in the sixth grade, not that anyone else really understood what we were trying to do.

One of the funniest thing I remember was that this best friend and I used to take totally normal sweatshirts, and wear them pulled down off the shoulder. Because we weren't allowed to cut our sweatshirts and there was no way our mothers were buying us the cool sweatshirts that had a big wide neckline that fell naturally off your shoulder. Getting a regular sweatshirt to stay off your shoulder requires holding an uncomfortable neck-ache-inducing-pose to ensure that the sweatshirt doesn't just slip up to where it's supposed to be. I also remember ponytails all the way on one side of the head, which also gave me a bit of a neck ache.

So, I am old enough to remember the trends of the 80s and to think that they look very dated and... how shall I put this... tacky.

Which is why I was so disturbed when I've seen these 80s trends reappearing in the stores and in fashion magazines.

Just for example, in the March issue of Lucky Magazine*, there is not only a little piece on how to properly wear leggings under your dress, there are a few models featured in leggings under their dresses. I'm not too proud to admit that I did this on the day of my 6th grade class picture. Hey, I was young and very impressionable.

Also in the same issue? The very next page, in fact? "Batwing Sweaters." No, I can't remember ever participating in this trend - but it looks very 80s to me.

Same page? "Puffed Shoulder Jacket." Yes, sort of like shoulder pads, I suppose, but they probably know that printing the words "shoulder pads" would be the kiss of death for any fashion magazine.

There's even a page featuring a model in a gold lame jacket and skinny pants. Unbelievable. This is the kind of thing that I'd look at in someone else's yearbook and laugh.

And don't think that Lucky Magazine is the only offender here - they're not. It just so happens that I only had Lucky Magazine in my reach. (Although, really, did you see the picture on page 214? I need to get a scanner. You wouldn't believe this. It's straight out of Sixteen Candles. Which was a great movie, but not my fashion inspiration.)

What's next? Hyper color t-shirts? Lace fingerless gloves, a la Madonna? Will we all walk around saying "Psyche?"

I may not be too old to pull off the 80s look again, but I'm definitely old enough to not want to.

Because, you know, the 80s weren't so long ago that there aren't people still wearing their 80s trends from the first time. And looking completely ridiculous doing it. And for at least 15 years now I've wanted to shake those people and say, "THE 80S ARE OVER! GET CHANGED! LET YOUR BANGS GROW OUT! AND GO WASH OFF THAT TEAL EYE SHADOW!" Hell, there was a girl in my law school class who probably spent hours everyday achieving her 80s hair. It's one thing not to bother much with your appearance - it's an entirely different thing to put a lot of time into making yourself look bad. I can only hope that when she got to her law firm someone convinced her to get a makeover.

And then if we all start wearing 80s clothes as if they're cool, then we've let those still-wearing-the-80s people win. And we don't want that, do we?

*Yes, I realize this is my second magazine-based post this week. What can I say, I'm a complete magazine addict? Admitting it is the first step.

9 comments:

  1. One of my greatest outfits of all time was black jeans (tightrolled), a neon green oversized shirt that said "Choose Life" (hello Wham!...I had NO IDEA what that meant) that I tied on the side, a headband with a neon green lace bow on it that fell over both sides of my head, and neon green lace fingerless gloves. Plus TONS of jelly bracelets, and jelly shoes. Oh yeah.

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  2. Wasn't the Wham "Choose life" tshirt an anti nuke message? I've been telling myself that for years...

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  3. jelly shoes made a comeback not that long ago. It was a scary time.

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  4. Aaah, jelly bracelets and jelly shoes. Who invented that kind of plastic and said, "You know, this would be great to wear?"

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  5. Ooh, jelly shoes!

    I had ALL the things you mentioned, aside from feathered hair. I cut the necks out of my sweatshirts and wore them inside-out, baffling my parents. I totally forgot about the existence of batwing sweaters until you mentioned them. I used to wear LEGWARMERS over my jeans.

    And, a few years later... I had MC Hammer pants!

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  6. Wait, saying "psyche!" went out?

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  7. I have absolutely had enough of the legging thing. I wore enough of them the first time around (with lace at the bottom! in every color!) that I can't stand seeing it now!

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  8. Three years ago I worked with a woman in her late thirties who had a total eighties short feathered hair do. Looking at her was like experiencing a time warp. I think she fell into doing her hair that way and just never got out of it. I am stocking up on "bootcut jeans" (I was not around for the bell-bottom craze) and riding out the "skinny jean" hallucination. What's next, acid wash? Pegging your pants leg? Like, gag me with a spoon!

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