And we really believed we looked good…
It was the decade of Margaret Thatcher, yuppies, massive mobile phones, designer labels and, in the words of Harry Enfield ‘loadsamoney’. Nothing quite marks the 1980s like big hair, bold fashion statements, luminous colour and synthetic fibres.
Here we look back at 10 of the biggest (and most cringe-worthy) hair and fashion crimes of the 1980s. Be honest, how many were you guilty of at the time?
1. The mullet
Business up front, party in the back. That’s the mullet. Believe it or not, this is the haircut that graced the fashion runways, our TV screens – and our Kylie and Jason record sleeves.
2. Crimped hair
In the 80s a girl would be lost without her crimpers. How could you look like Madonna without them? Making your barnet as big as possible was also a must, so a can of mousse was another dressing table essential.
3. The ra-ra skirt
When it comes to 80s clothes, the ra-ra skirt was out there leading the way – most likely with white stilettos. This layered little number came in a whole host of colours and could be flat or puffed out like a tu-tu. How do you wear yours?
4. Shoulder pads
The 80s was the time of big hair and power dressing. Shoulder pads were added to everything from dresses to jumpers and jackets. Some even came with velcro for you to add layers and pump your shoulders right up to Dynasty levels.
5. Over the top make up
Anyone for some face painting? The more noticeable your eye shadow and the bolder your blusher, the better you looked. Even men got in on the act (and often applied it better).
6. Stonewashed denim
Stonewashed jeans were those mottled looking jeans that had the top layer of colour removed. Tapered, tight or held together with safety pins, these were a wardrobe must have. If you were in the ‘it’ crowd, you probably had a stonewashed denim jacket to match. Double denim - mmm...
7. Slogan t-shirts
Slogan t-shirts were as big as 1980s hair, thanks to designer Katherine Hamnett. Wham! danced away donning the slogan "Choose Life" and Frankie Goes to Hollywood wore the now-iconic "Frankie Says Relax" t-shirt.
8. Jumper over the shoulders
This fashion statement seemed pointless even then. Why did anyone think it was a good idea to wear a jumper, but not actually wear it? It was the accessory of choice for yuppies and an affordable way for everyone else to look like one.
9. Lycra and leg warmers
Lycra spilled out of the gym and onto the high street. Rock stars teamed their animal print Lycra trousers with ripped shirts and made it an essential for any cool kid. If you looked like you’d just been to aerobics or studied at the Fame Academy, you were at the height of fashion.
And finally, continuing on the sporty theme - the shell suit. Both stylish and practical...
This list of 1980s hair and fashion faux pas could go on and on. Who can forget corkscrew perms, Miami Vice suits with the sleeves rolled up and taffeta meringues? What 1980s fashion crimes were you guilty of? Were you young enough to blame your parents or old enough to know better? We’d love to hear – and see – your evidence.
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