1980s fashion

The Designing Women in their 1980s finery!

After spending a week watching not only daytime TV but oldies from past, I can’t help but comment on fashion.

It’s always interesting to see how fashion changes through the decades. I can’t say that the “I Love Lucy” era spoke to me. However, the 80s programs (except for Rosanne which had no fashion sense at all) were near and dear to my heart.

I graduated from high school in the 60s. I remember that decade as very formal. I wore girdles, garter belts and was ecstatic when panty hose was invented.

Towards the end of the 60s, out went the pantyhose, along with the bras! Long straight hair parted in the middle with beads, sandals and peasant blouses arrived and sailed through a good part of the 70s.

There was also polyester. It laundered beautifully and never needed ironing. However, if you would sweat, it would slide on your body and soak up a stink. Poly pants were just disgusting.

By the time the ‘80s came along, I had a good job. That translates into nice clothes. Work was still formal. I wore a lot of wonderful suits and dresses. What I remember best were the gorgeous jewel colors. It was before earth tones dulled down a beautiful navy blue blazer. Or grays turned nasty.

I love shiny, drapey fabrics and the 80s had a lot of them. I had wonderful blouses to wear under my wool suits and they were all soft. I was never one for cotton or broadcloth blouses. I am a small person so they bunched at the wrong spots and made me look like a padded Michelin tire person. A silky top could make anyone feel gorgeous!

I am not saying that there aren’t some great styles out today – just that some of them are not for everyone. Back in the day, a little shoulder pad could balance out large hips. Now those hips are flaunted with no attempt to create balance with detail at the neck/shoulder area.

And shoes…sigh! This week I watched a lot of entertainers teeter on incredibly high heels while claiming they were comfortable. They couldn’t even walk right. How on earth could they be comfortable? A nice spike or stiletto at a reasonable height makes a leg very sexy but come on!

I love the variety in jeans that is available now although most of us shouldn’t wear skinny jeans or jeggins. The winter season has brought some variety in color which is all good. Remember the Brooke Shields ads for Calvin Klein in the 80s? It was a scandal at the time! Everyone wore Guess, Jordache or Gloria Vanderbilt.

The old long sweaters or what we called tunics were wonderful. They covered a variety of problem areas while making the wearer look slim and trim. You can still find some but they are now cut-away in the front with ruffles to accentuate your butt.  My butt does fine without any accentuation thank-you-very-much!

Each era has its good and bad and today is no different. There are wonderful new fabrics available along with some great comfortable casual shoes. After all this blogging I think it’s time for a shopping trip! For research purposes only of course!

Am I alone here or does anyone else remember the 80s clothing fondly?

29 thoughts on “1980s fashion

  1. I remember 80s style with great fondness! There was a lot that was goofy about it(ahem – parachute pants-ahem), but most of it was fabulous. Then the murky 90s, and now – well, I don’t know what now. Too high shoes and so forth. BTW, I saw some drapy, shiny blouses at Penney’s the other day! But that was here in Anchorage – no idea what Penney’s in Whitehall has. 🙂
    Great post as always!


    • Yes, I am not sure how to define the fashion of this decade. Yes, skinny jeans and too high heels but for the rest I am at a loss. The hair is mostly nondescript too. Natural and no particular style.


  2. I loved the fashion of the 80s, too, Kate. If I remember correctly we had more flexibility with hem lengths, too. I had some things quite long, and others above the knee. Isn’t that when we wore split skirts, too? My eras sometimes blend together. I loved “Designing Women,” too, and they always just looked beautiful in their clothes and big hair! 🙂 This was fun, Kate! 🙂


  3. I’ve been looking through catalogs lately and it seems the sweater knit little dresses I wore in the 70’s have returned. I love it. I would really love it if I was still in a shape to wear them. But the shape I am in these days is more pudgy than slim. But I am in luck that tunics are in. I have found some that are not low cut or ruffley or too clingy. And you are so right about skinny jeans and jeggings for those over 30 and more than 110 pounds they should be illegal. I am very opinionated tonight…


  4. I like this era best of all, because now we can wear pretty much whatever we want – in clothing, hair styles, AND footwear!! Whatever suits you or enhances your ‘elements’ is a good choice – and even secondhand stores do the trick for low-income people with flair! Fun is good 🙂


  5. Hated shoulder pads. I always removed them if I could. My shoulders didn’t need the extra width. I’m glad that style has come and gone.


  6. Silk blouses and blazers to work! Moderately high heels. I feel glamorous just thinking about the 80’s. Today’s pants with short zippers and lowered waistlines alter the female form and not for the better. Now they want to cover it all with tunic tops over skinny slacks for the maternity look. Great post Kate. Let’s stick with the looks that flatter!


    • It’s easy to balance with shoulder detail. Sometimes I don’t understand why more designers don’t work with that. Statistics show that there are more women who have broader hips than narrow ones.


  7. I loved each decade as they came – the sixties – the mini as well as the long skirts , the seventies – those gorgeous oxford bags, the eighties, lovely fabrics, and still looking lady-like… the nineties… not much there to fasten on.,Now? I’ve found my style and stick to it!!!


    • So true! I loved my first maxi coat. I wore it everywhere. The 60s had great boots too. Like you, now I wear what I think looks good on me and adjust it to reflect the current style but I don’t go crazy.


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