Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Retro Dressing: How Far is Too Far? Or, Are the 80's a Good Idea?

Belinda writes:

"I wanted your opinion on some of the 80's fashion that is coming back. Love it or hate it? Personally, some of it just makes me cringe. I distinctly remember being a kid and thinking it looked bad the first time around..."

Belinda, there are things we love about the 80's and also things we loathe. Love? All the great Brat Pack movies, anything with Molly Ringwald (ever seen "For Keeps"?). Loathe? Some of the disgusting fashions that have managed to worm their way back into the shriveled hearts of fashion designers. Sometimes I think that big fashion names sit at their easels and think: "What can I dupe the public into wearing this year?"

No matter how you feel about the 80's, it's clear that they're back with a vengeance.
Here's a visual run-down of some of the 80's fashions I like...and some I wish never had existed in the first place:

Minis with leggings: Or really, leggings with anything. Or actually, minis with anything. Really, who thought of this? I don't care who you are. Don't wear them unless you're under 17 and even then, where is your mother, young lady?

Shoulder Pads: Fortunately, this one may have passed us up. I really hope so. They're an unnecessarily masculine touch. Who wants more bulk around their shoulders?

The Gold-Strap Chanel bag: This style, I think, never really went out altogether. It's one of the less obnoxious fashions and when worn with the right outfit, can look polished and classy.

The Louis Vuitton Bag: Another 80's classic, this one never disappeared. Today, it's been reincarnated in different colors and knocked off by everyone, but it's a symbol of class that will probably never leave us.

Lace and Patterned Stockings: I'll be honest. I've been known to wear stockings just like these. And I love them. I'm a firm believer in wearing stockings. They're ladylike and sophisticated. Lacy stockings can add a feminine twist to what would otherwise be a rather boring outfit. Just be careful about overcomplicating the look. If you're going to wear lace or patterned stockings, keep the rest of your outfit simple!

Vans: I didn't like these back then, and I don't like them now. Even at the tender age of 8, I had a feeling that shoes with checks on them were a bad idea. I've seen teenagers wearing them, and on a teenager I suppose it looks OK, but my standards for fashion are considerably higher than the average mall rat. Again--wear them if you're 17 or under, and if you HAVE to wear them, then keep the rest of your outfit simple.

These...things. I hesitate to call them boots. That would insult the entire sartorial genre of the boot. At any rate, LOATHE. AVOID. Avoid these boots like you'd avoid buying boots that are too pointy or too square. Why?

Because next year, or in a few years, you'll find them buried in a dark corner of your closet and wonder what in the name of all that is good and sensible you were thinking.

Which is what, I suspect, most of these people are wondering today: