Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A Century Of Style: The Challenge (1980-1990)



Welcome to my Style Challenge, where I'm dressing in the style of each decade of the Twentieth century. Today is the turn of the Trashy 1980's, the decade that taste forgot.


To those who think the 1980's were fabulous must have been priviledged Yuppies or twinkles in their mummies' eyes because to a Midlands-dwelling girl in her formative years the decade was a Thatcher-dominated period of injustice and grinding poverty. Forget Club Tropicana and Gold, our anthems were Ghost Town and Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now.

In 1985 I collected my A Level certificates, left home and signed-on as Tory means-testing put paid to a university grant. I lived in the damp front room of a condemned Victorian terrace and scraped an existance from cash-in-hand bar work. With a disposable income of £14 a week fashion took a back seat as I rummaged for wearable clothes at jumble sales and charity shops. The once thriving industrial town I grew up in had an unemployment rate of one in seven and a worryingly high suicide rate. I was harrassed nightly by the local pimps to come and work for them in the burgeoning red light industry for which the town had became infamous. During the summer of 1985 the inner cities burned and the high streets with their corrigated windows resembled war zones.


Whilst the Yuppies knocked back bottled Mexican lager in City Centre wine bars we learnt how to make a 76p pint of mild last all night whilst organising marches against the Poll Tax, Apartheid and Nuclear Power and we all Rocked against Racism.

Anyway, enough of the ranting. In the Eighties anything went, gold with silver, mock-croc, shiny patent, fake fur and fake tans. Make-up was neon bright with painted on cat's eye eyeliner and lashings of bronzer. Hair was big, fluffy and backcombed, spiral permed or crimped. No self-repecting fashionable girl ever had straight, shiny hair. Lycra leggings and fingerless gloves were the must-have accessories. We wore our jackets huge, raiding charity shops for vintage gentlemen's evening jackets which we wore with the sleeves rolled up and pinned blingy brooches to the lapels. Style icons included the cast of Dynasty and Princess Diana but they left me cold, Madonna was my idol. I don't know how many times I saw Desperately Seeking Susan, our local cinema (long since demolished to make way for a crappy retail park) only charged £1 a film so it was a great way to keep warm.

Vintage evening jacket and mock-croc clutch bag (Jumble sale), Graphic print mini skirt and lycra leggings (Car boot Sale), Lycra bodysuit (Charity Shop), Patent heels (Local Market), Blingy jewellery and fishnet fingerless gloves (Bought in the 1980s)

44 comments:

  1. I had those clothes! I left school in 1984, didn't qualify for a grant and got a job instead, but they were good times for me and had my son in 1985

    ReplyDelete
  2. This post made me laugh out loud, Vix! You look fab but oh dear, what a pile of pants the 80's was! I was praying for you to wear a neon batwing sweater, just praying for it! I had a spiral perm that I wore 'wet look' with gel. Delightful! Footless tights, rara skirts and flamin' Rick Astley are all reason enough to forget it. However, The Breakfast Club was my highlight of that decade. Lynda xxx

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think this is my favourite.
    Not so much for the outfit, but for a true view on a regular person living in the 80's. My mum and dad have told me how it was, and how scary things got at times.

    p.s I do love the side pony, big hair rocks my world.

    xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow! You didn't forget the huge side ponytail. I loved this post, actually. I didn't know the 80s were that bad, as I never really knew much about it beyond the fashion. I think the 80s is a period that's glamorized too much nowadays. Oh well...

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's amazing how so much of the 80s style is about right now - from the blazer to the leggings to the shoes! Lovely!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh! You are adorable. You do look dressed right the decade. Have only seen in pictures and movies. But now hearing about it ... sounds like an interesting decade for life-fashion-everything!

    ReplyDelete
  7. love it! The leggins suit you very well! And the look is back too!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I hated 80s fashion but you have made it look fabulous. I was one of the batwing-wearers. Marks and Sparks. Hideous red plastic pixie boots. Leg warmers. Red and black. I loathe red and black. Yuk. I wish I'd looked like you look in the pix. It made me shudder to watch the latest Ashes to Ashes. When even Kelley Hawes looks bad then you KNOW it was pants.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This may be my fav, too Vix! The history is so incredible. I too was a Madonna type, only I took to the look of Prince, and saw Purple Rain a dozen times. I had a spiral perm on top with a straight mullet-style tail in back that went into a long point. I wore only 1 earring and lots of leggings and giant tops buttoned to the top of my throat! This is so much fun :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I LOVE IT its a mix of The Nanny and madonna!! so the pics I took were in oklahoma, in the Arbuckle mountains!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Well, I think you look fabulous here! And I actually like some 80s fashions. I was a kid then so I don't know too much of what was happening politically and economically, so thanks for the info! And yeah, the 80s did sort of lack taste, but at least they had style. The 90s recovered taste and a bit of decorum (that is until the advent of low rise jeans) but lacked style... Really, I think fashion is finally starting to recover...or so it seems. I thought I looked good in the 90s (as a teenager) photographic evidence shows otherwise. ;-) You though, look fabulous here.

    ReplyDelete
  12. We're of the same era Vix; I remember going to jumble sales too and buying oversized men's jackets, waistcoats and 40s and 50s dresses and skirts all for under a quid! My friends and I dressed 'alternative' and were far away from stonewashed denims and frosted blonde perms as possible.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I was an 80s child and remember my Mum wearing the big jackets and leggings amongst some other hideous things lol. I was always nagging to have my hair crimped and put in a pineapple with a terry band which looked ridiculous but I thought I was fab!
    Dx

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a fascinating insight into your life. The 80s are always presented as bubblegum perfect - all rara skirts and spiral perms. It's so interesting to read a different side of the decade - one that's about survival, rather than fashion. x

    ReplyDelete
  15. I'm guessing the 80s weren't your favourite decade then, Vix? Just a wild stab in the dark!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I like your rant, i just remember the eighties and you're so right it was pretty damn depressing in the UK, and over here the troubles were bad at that time too, i remember being out shopping with my mum when really young and getting caught up in a bomb diffusion/scare in Belfast, as was pretty much the norm in those days. All that terror seems so long ago now

    Anyways... i think it's better if we just remember the 80s through rose-tinted Ray-Bans as all A-Ha and and crimped hair!
    x

    ReplyDelete
  17. I was so busy surviving young motherhood that I didn't pay a lick of attention to fashion in the eighties. Sounds like it was a little rough to be "coming of age" for you...You wear the look well today though!

    (Thanks for tip about testing for amber! I'm going to give it a try.)

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love this post, its interesting reading your take on the 80's as you always hear different views from the yuppies!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Great rant,Vix.
    Spot on outfit.I adored Desperatley Seeking Susan too,and was wild about Madonna.I still think she is awesome,if a bit plastic,now.
    Ugh,I also left school in 84,was working in a shoe shop.Tube skirts and sandals with socks,that's what I remember most.Thank goodness I became a Goth,at least Goths had some style!!!
    LOVE Helga xxxXXXxxx

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi there-totally spot on with the authenticity and style, you so rock in this outfit my dear! x

    ReplyDelete
  21. This outfit is so hardcore. I love it!! You definitely do 80s Madonna proud here. In fact, this looks like an outfit I would totally wear today. Is that bad? Hehe.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I think most people want to forget quite how rotten the 80s actually were for the majority & choose to remember only a rose tint bespectacled idealism of the era.
    Glitz & glamour blindingly radiated from our TV screens & greed was good, at least for those immoral few who had no reservations about stepping over dead bodies & selling their granny to medical experiments, en route to monetary success.
    In many ways, legitimate parallels can be drawn in-between then & now, cause once you peel away the distracting gloss of popular culture (the happy Kodak moments & Colgate smiles) we’re still left with the same old can of worms that has haunted humanity like a relentless presence throughout history, a presence that was especially rampant in the 80s.
    Alas today we still have a bunch of self-serving puppets running the country, we’re still enslaved by the banks & the square mile is still riddles with smug bottom feeders that worship at the church of mammon.
    For me fashion has always been a frivolity & a diversion, something that effectively brightens up an otherwise rather bleak outlook; it’s escapism from a reality that is a whole lot more like Pulp’s – Common People than Madonna’s - Material Girl.
    I love your trashy look, it’s definitely one I favour myself, even to this day :)
    …xXx

    ReplyDelete
  23. I love this post, I think it is my favourite so far but they have all been amazing! The way you described the makeup is pretty much how I do mine now (without the bronzer though)! x

    ReplyDelete
  24. wow, i really like the 80s to 90s look on you! i love dss! Madonna was so super cool in that!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Dear Vix,
    I've decided that both you & Reva deserve to be winners of last week’s giveaway but as I only have one of the tops, I've decided to give that to Reva (as you had some slight reservations about it anyway) & I’ll find you something equally lovely :)
    Please e-mail me your address & I'll pop your ‘surprise prize’ in the post asap.
    ...xXx

    ReplyDelete
  26. Wow Vix, interesting and thoughtful rant. As I recall, I was working, had my friends, was into margaritas, big hair, big shoulders and lots of eye shadow. I liked to wear pastels for some reason but not always. Wore a lot of leggings, flats and oversized shirts usually belted.

    I loved Hall & Oates, Madonna, Culture Club. One of my fave 80s songs is Don't You Forget About Me from the Breakfast Club. I liked that movie so much that I threw myself a birthday party once with the BC theme.

    Anyway, you are a totally cool 80s chick! Love the side pony tail. This has turned out to be a really cool challenge and when it's over I'm not quite sure what to do with myself!

    xo, Bonnie

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hehe great post! I'm not the 80s biggest fan either, I couldn't wait to see what you would wear but I like the outfit and would definitely wear it now, possibly with different hair though!

    xx

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh how I love the 80's fashion. I was only a wee little baby then. I like your input on how lived in the 80's very interesting. x

    ReplyDelete
  29. Very cool that you're having a style challenge. I really like the button on your blazer. Looking great

    ReplyDelete
  30. your clutch is beautiful! i love the the print on the skirt :)

    ReplyDelete
  31. I remember the fashions as the 80's well, I was 12 in 1985 so was rather oblivious to all the political goings on. I went for a spiral perm at age 12 the hairdresser was not keen as my hair was down past my bum - oh what big hair I had! I was (and still am) a Prince girl all through this time.
    Kandi x

    ReplyDelete
  32. Great post! The 80's was unfortunately when I discovered fashion and there is plenty of photos of me in some pretty outlandish 80's gear as a teen! I grew up outside the UK though and we looked at the images of punk, new romantics, mods and goths coming out of the UK at the time in admiration and awe without really realising what it was like to be young and living through those times.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi vix, Love your evening jacket. Hope you have a great day xxx

    ReplyDelete
  34. tres annees 80,j aime bcp te veste over size et la pochette ;O)

    ReplyDelete
  35. Loved this post, Vix! Fascinating, about the history, I was sitting in my suburban high school bedroom listening to the Smiths! That's crazy about being solicited, too, wow! Fabulous post, you look gorgeous! XO1

    ReplyDelete
  36. I grew up in the 80's so this was a cool post to see.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Wow Vix, this is quite a post. Thank you. This is an honest retell of what I can remember as a(nother) bleak time in England's economic and political history. I remember my parents discussing all this with friends.
    You see... I grew up in England. In the seventies. We moved to India and then the Pacific at the start of the 80s decade.

    I'm so sorry to hear that the 80s was a dismal reality for you but also absolutely interested in reading about your life. Through it all you remained strong and stylish as all get!

    The 80s for me was a very different experience... so I have to say it was fabulous... And Madonna was my idol too! And Cyndi Lauper also! I was wearing suits with mismatched coloured heels and safety pin necklaces!! Or lots of lace and neon material!! Crazy stuff. And yes... mens jackets (stole my dad's) and shirts belted and worn with tube lace skirts and lace in my crimped spray painted hair!!

    LOVED the 80s styling, yes it was too much, too OTT but... it wasn't 'beige' you know. It wasn't 'safe'.

    You know... you actually look rather 'now'!!!

    ReplyDelete
  38. Definitely my least favourite outfit but that's in no way a reflection on you - just that I don't like 80s fashion very much! The giant clutch is fab though.

    The text has probably been my favourite of the challenge so far. I was born in 83 so spent most of the decade being dressed in nice sensible kiddy clothes by my Mum and being blissfully unaware of all the societal upheaval going on. This was quite an eyeopener.

    I'm very intrigued by what you'll come up with the 90's look...

    ReplyDelete
  39. This was such an insightful look into the 80s. I think fashion wise it was very daring and bold, and sometimes wish I could go there just for one day, walk down the street wearing whatever I fancied in a rebellious way.

    This challenge is so engrossing. I may have said it before but seeing each decade has been a wonderful vision xx

    ReplyDelete
  40. I love your honesty! I can see why it was your least favourite decade!

    ReplyDelete
  41. I love this look, definitely does look very 80s!

    ReplyDelete
  42. Its so weird but this outfit although from 80's would totally be right today. Boyfriend blazers, tights, graphic prints - looks like fashion is all about recycling !! Do like ur look:-) it does have a "Madonna" feel to the it..

    ReplyDelete
  43. Great post. Yep, the '80s were s**t for an awful lot of people. The year I left school/started uni was '89 - luckily things were a bit different in Scotland and grants were still around, as was the hardship fund and other such ways of getting extra support if, like me, you didn't come from a monied background.

    One of my strongest memories is of sitting in a lecture theatre listening to the lecturer drone on and, all of a sudden, someone bursting through the door, yelling 'Thatcher's out!' and the whole place going wild! It was amazing in a way to feel so strongly about something.

    Anyway, I digress! This outfit is scarily like some of my outfits of late - the black blazer, the leggings etc! Yikes - I need to move on!

    xx

    ReplyDelete

Don't be shy, if you enjoyed your visit leave a comment, I can come and visit your blog if you do.
Love from Vix
xxx