Part 1: Hammering home the 80s

eightiesTouch it at your peril

Loads of stuff in the 80s was, and still is, pretty great.
But it wasn't all black and white. It was fluoro, shiny, eye-wateringly bright and a bit hyper-colour.
It's always fun to borrow from other decades, and today's kids have been known to turn their hungry eyes to the Greed Is Good decade.
Generation X, and the younger Baby Boomers, have been watching this revival very carefully, mainly because they are concerned you crazy kids might moonwalk into the vortex of stupidity that was '80s fashion.
It's all fun and laughs until someone gets hurt. Musical maverick MC Hammer boasted at the end of the decade, U Can't Touch This. He was alluding, I think, to the fact that his clothes – and indeed his moves – were too hot to touch, like molten lava. Unfortunately, the friction caused by his enormous synthetic pants was the only thing raising a sweat. (You can buy MC Hammer 'old-school rapper pants' on eBay. Search under 'costume' – that's a hint). 
The following items have been filed in the Hammer-esque category Don't Touch This.
That is, they should never be revived, well at least until every person who grew up in the 80s has gone to the big Studio 54 in the sky. 

OK, let's break it down.

Garments made of parachute material: Aviation kit, usually pants and jackets, should be worn only if you are doing a job that has 'air' in the title. Air Guitarist doesn't count.

Jumpsuits: Now this is a controversial area, as a few of my younger female friends have admitted to owning new-age jumpsuits. I'm still going to say don't touch them, especially if they have elasticised waists/backs, and good luck avoiding that camel toe. The jumpsuit is particularly bad if you are a bloke. Any doubts? Check out David Bowie and Mick Jagger in the Dancing in the Streets video. Yes, Jagger's shirt and pants are puffy, but his mate is rocking out in a snakeskin jumpsuit. The only thing that saves him is a cream trench coat, and that's saying something. 
He looked more than happy to be wearing the get up, but I'm guessing that had something to do with his love, at the time, of Peruvian marching powder rather than fashion joie de vivre. 
So, to sum up, only wear a jumpsuit if you are qualified to work in an enclosed space, a carnival worker or involved in a HAZMAT situation. 

Knickerbockers: They appeared on the Paris catwalk a few years ago but never took off. For one good reason: they look bogus.
If you have any doubts, put on a pair – preferably made from velvet or corduroy – and ask someone to take a picture of your arse. 
Lady Di fancied them, but she also thought Chris De Burgh was a musical genius.
I know of no man, outside those in New Romantic pop groups, who wore knickerbockers in the 80s.
But, if you are a young male who is convinced that the knickerbocker will revolutionise your wardrobe, enact a 24-hour cooling-off period and, in that time, Google pictures of Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, Nik Kershaw and Ultravox in their heyday. They usually paired this pant with a frilly, or 'poet' shirt. Bless their little synth-pop hearts.

Tight acid-washed jeans: These look putrid worn on their own, but it's a whole different ball game when they're matched with an acid-washed jacket. If you commit to this combo, you also have to commit to a greasy mullet and a criminal record. It's the law.

One sequinned glove: Enough said.

White court shoes with ankle socks, or anything else: They look like the dress shoes your great aunt pulls out for weddings.

And the beat goes on... MJx

Part 2: Hammering home the 80s

A perm is never the solution

Here's Part 2 of the Don't Touch This (DTT) list:

Man perm/New Romantic mullet combo: John Farnham and Michael Hutchence  gave the mullet a red hot go for the Southern Hemisphere. The rest of the world was represented by most of the men, and some of the women, who took part in Live Aid.
Duran Duran was a perm super group, as every member embraced the new wave. 
It was crazy hair for crazy times. But it never needs to be that crazy again.
Think of the children.

Bleached hair tips (for men): Foil freaks included Howard Jones, Limahl, Don Johnson and Whamsters George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. Wham's contribution is best appreciated in the Club Tropicana video clip as Ridgeley's hair frosting clashes with Michael's white budgie smugglers (another DTT candidate, by the way).

Enormous hair (for women): There is nothing wrong with big hair. Cyndi Lauper still rocks the big do as does Siouxsie Sioux. Amy Winehouse's beehive was sublime. But if you already have big hair and you think a  perm  is a good idea, think again.  I didn’t. 
My mid-80s spiral perm looked good for about two weeks ... tops. A male  admirer commented at the time that I looked like Nicole Kidman. That is, Nic in BMX Bandits (1983). I was flattered then; not so much now. If you don’t believe me, have a look at Working Girl (preferably rent it on video ... Beta or VHS) and see if you think Melanie Griffith’s or Joan Cusack’s dos have travelled well. 

The 'Lady  Di' hairstyle:
 If you want to look lik
e the kindly organist at a county church, go for it. But it’s creepy if you are just 17.

Man makeup:  I’m not talking about a hint of guy-liner and a smudge of  mancake.  I’m talking a full face of slap (see Adam Ant, the Cure’s Robert Smith, Boy George, Nick Rhodes and Marilyn – not Manson, just Marilyn. Google him, he’s fancy). 
Basically, it belongs on a stage. It looks acceptable in a spotlight – or headlights. But if I saw a youngster wearing it in the supermarket I would get out 20cents and wait for him to start his little mime act. 
If you decide this is the path for you,  stop wearing it when you reach 30, unless you are a serial killer or a bona fide sad clown.
Alarmingly, the horse has bolted on a few DTT items: Canvas slip-on shoes in jaunty colours for blokes, male skinny jean, and the pastel suit/no shirt combo.

Kids, disregard this advice at your peril.
Go forth and create your own fashion catastrophes.

Choose right, because guilty feet have no rhythm - and that's a really, really bad look. MJx

 





  

Hey, how you doin'? Fine thanks, but I'd be better if you would ease up on the bleach and piercing stares.

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