Sunday, September 24, 2006

On the Street…….All 80′s, London

I can’t believe I’m old enough to say I remember selling this the first time around when I was a teenager working at Chess King!!

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  1. Anonymous

    September 24, 2006 at 5:43 am

    I know exactly how you feel. My sad admission is that I worked at “The Lark”. It is so hard to take these looks seriously. I ususally just want to laugh when I see it…or I start talking about what I wore in the ’80′s and end up sounding like an old lady.

  2. herringbonekid

    September 24, 2006 at 6:08 am

    oh dear me no.

  3. concupiscence

    September 24, 2006 at 6:11 am

    The first picture is SO London that my whole body aches for not being there. Please keep them coming.

  4. Anonymous

    September 24, 2006 at 6:19 am

    i hadn’t reached my teens, but i have to say that too much is too much. And the 80′s have been back for 3 or 4 years now (not in all theis splendour but by small doses) so I’m just fed up.

    long live the 90′s ;)

  5. Lorna

    September 24, 2006 at 6:26 am

    Yep, not a fan. Especially since that’s all you see in Britain right now (and in New York, if the Face Hunter is anything to go by). Strange how an ‘original’ look ends up being so generic.

  6. Gary

    September 24, 2006 at 6:30 am

    London is amazing. So diverse. So bold. Very British.

  7. kiarella

    September 24, 2006 at 6:36 am

    I still have lots of stuff I used to wear in the 80′s, but thinking at it as vintage is a bit depressing so I never wear those clothes though I love them!

  8. Anonymous

    September 24, 2006 at 7:32 am

    the girl in pink look great!

  9. blackbird

    September 24, 2006 at 9:30 am

    oh no!
    Chess King?!

  10. Anonymous

    September 24, 2006 at 10:28 am

    Oh wow, I absolutely love it.

  11. Anonymous

    September 24, 2006 at 11:14 am

    So, I agree; I was a teenager in the 80s and wore the things I now see college girls and teenagers wearing today. With this realization, part of me wants to reject fashion. Ever heard the phrase, “There’s nothing new under the sun?”

    I remember so distinctly going clothes shopping with my mom before the start of another year of junior high. We were in the dressing room and I was trying on cropped pants and bubble miniskirts and my mom just sat there shaking her head at the nonsense of the fashions. She said she wore them and, as a result, couldn’t find any beauty in them the second time around. Now I know what my mom was talking about. At the time, I thought, “Are you crazy!?! These clothes are so great!”

  12. Anonymous

    September 24, 2006 at 11:16 am

    not feeling the clothes, but happy to see a black person on the blog again. Its been ages!

  13. Maria

    September 24, 2006 at 11:33 am

    Thanks for the city, now we can read the “industry” in the global context.
    About “city trends” they are very different in expression, not for that they are less dramatic, or even less authentic. The difference is the amount of people involved in getting a “look” to the public. It’s basically the level of engagement in sartorial expression.

  14. positive_negative

    September 24, 2006 at 11:36 am

    I can sympathize. Just yesterday I was having lunch in Soho and these b-boys came walking by looking like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (multi-colored hats, wide framed glasses with no lens in them) and later on, I saw a girl wearing hammer pants (thanks Marc Jacobs).

    But if I have to go back to wearing Cross Colors, I’m leaving the country.

  15. Anonymous

    September 24, 2006 at 11:39 am

    Oh please have mercy, the eighties. Ow, ow ow, my eyes and my belly. This was a terrible decade for fashion overall, and it’s utterly perverse to bring the worst of the looks. And not perverse in a good way you ironists out there. This is just ugly.

  16. Anonymous

    September 24, 2006 at 11:46 am

    OMG…I feel like I stepped in the Merry Go Round store again! Thank you Norma Kamali for all those fab sweatwear.

  17. beth

    September 24, 2006 at 11:46 am

    Oh my gosh, this look was so hot (for mothers AND daughters and everyone in between) two years ago when I lived there. I must say the girls in the top photo do it creatively, though.

    Leggings… love ‘em or hate ‘em, they’re ubiquitous.

  18. Jessica

    September 24, 2006 at 12:25 pm

    wow! what hideous clothes…but i guess if it is in style it is in style….

  19. Anonymous

    September 24, 2006 at 1:29 pm

    i can totally relate about how you feel. i was already in college during this era. YIKES! it seems like it was just yesterday. oyy… i remember chess king, jay jacobs, up against the wall and all those stores. ohmygoodness.

    here in germany – alot of the kids are into the 80s, as well. come to think of it – i don’t think the 80s left germany! haha.

    by the way… love.love.love your blog! keep it up.

    rita n.

  20. Anonymous

    September 24, 2006 at 2:40 pm

    man, those are hideous clothes. let’s not hear that “it’s in style” nonsense. if jumping off a bridge was in style….yea you get my point! :P

  21. Anonymous

    September 24, 2006 at 2:47 pm

    Chess King was the most coveted retail job at the time!

    From the looks of most European tourists, did the 80s ever really leave?

    I find bad fashion to be wonderfully entertaining.

  22. F.A.

    September 24, 2006 at 2:48 pm

    photos are coming out G R E A T
    how much was your camera ??
    i want the same one

  23. comtedamour

    September 24, 2006 at 3:04 pm

    uh oh, chess king. mall rat. just teasing, having a laff as they say in london.

  24. Jonathon

    September 24, 2006 at 3:22 pm

    Aren’t we just about done with the 80s?

  25. MD

    September 24, 2006 at 4:37 pm

    I have to say, I’m sort of loving the 80s with a 90s twist = mid to late 2000s. I mean, why not have fun with clothes? Isn’t it just a bit *restraining* to always worry about looking good? Why not enjoy what you are wearing? That’s how I’m getting your London pictures. It’s about the enjoyment.

    And isn’t hair care technology so much better today than in the eighties? So sleek and rich looking. How frizzy we all used to look.

    (The students here in Boston look adorable – some of them are so earnest in a chunky, clunky, nerdy eighties way. Yeah for beads, yeah for bangles, yeah for sensible shoes……)

  26. Anonymous

    September 24, 2006 at 5:46 pm

    Dear Sartorialist,

    i enjoy your photos, your manage to catch a je ne sais quoi (humour, beauty… in daily life).
    You’re even mentionned in the french magazine L’Express Mag !

    Mumu

  27. EMNH

    September 24, 2006 at 6:41 pm

    I remember when there was a Fiorucci at Water Tower…I would cut school and go Downtown to go shopping with my friends. We would go to Express…when they were still cool…they carried Naf Naf and Kikit…all that stuff.

    Then we would hit Benetton and try on sweaters just to watch the staff refold them. We would top the day off by going to Wax Trax to take pictures in the photo booth. A bunch of 17 year old girls from Mother McAuley having decadent fun.

    My husband worked at “The Oak Tree”…selling lots of Miami Vice clothes…so he could make money and buy Miami Vice clothes.

  28. Phyllis S

    September 24, 2006 at 6:44 pm

    I think I had that sweater.

  29. Olivia

    September 24, 2006 at 8:13 pm

    oh god no. NOT feeling it. I almost thought this was in NYC and cringed, but as long as it stays far away from here, i’ll be okay :D

  30. michael

    September 24, 2006 at 8:31 pm

    Taking me back to London in the 60′s – great pictures and commentary

  31. Anonymous

    September 24, 2006 at 8:37 pm

    Dude, you worked at Chess King. Nice. I worked at Oaktree

  32. positively the same dame

    September 24, 2006 at 10:09 pm

    chess king! up against the wall used to intimidate the hell out of me — how could i ever be that cool? i don’t think it’s possible to make the ’80s look fresh — it was just that bad.

  33. Windy Lampson

    September 24, 2006 at 10:27 pm

    I can’t help it- I LOVE that look! So much fun!

  34. Tamberk

    September 24, 2006 at 11:00 pm

    Love that you captured the diversity there is on the streets of London!
    Shame on the catwalks for not doing the same.

  35. Anonymous

    September 24, 2006 at 11:32 pm

    blaaah! with how much the sartorialist harps on the necessity of a good fit in terms of men’s fashion, for anyone to overlook the incredible cringe-worthy fit of the clothes on these women is a crime. how unflattering…

  36. The Sartorialist

    September 24, 2006 at 11:38 pm

    to Anon 11:32

    I talk about fit for suits and for a guy that is trying to achieve a certain look – these London kids are just doing their own thing and it is a completely different realm of expectations

    I bet though if you asked them how they wanted their clothes to fit they would know exactly

  37. Girl of Approval

    September 25, 2006 at 12:54 am

    The fashions of the 80′s never should have happened in the first place, but really should not have happened again. I know no one who can look back on pictures from the 80′s and think the clothes and hair they were sporting was a flattering look unlike people I know who were alive in other decades such as the 60′s, 70′s, and some of the 90′s. I don’t think this is people doing their own thing by wearing these throwbacks to a decade gone-wrong. They are just doing what people did 20 years ago and I see no modern twists on the clothes of today.

    What I don’t understand is why so many people jump on the fashion bandwagon when they look like hell in what’s “in.” Sometimes what’s in the fashion magazines is exactly what you don’t want to be seen in.

  38. Sartorialist, come back to NY!

    September 25, 2006 at 1:06 am

    Why are Londoners so tacky? I was in London a few years ago and everyone dressed this way! In the airport, I can almost always spot a Brit based on their trashiness of their outfits. And did anyone see the NY Times piece on the new, young British designers? Why??

  39. Anonymous

    September 25, 2006 at 1:36 am

    I don’t know why every seems to hate these clothes simply because they are from the 80′s. A lot of people here come across as pompus and elitist about fashion, and thats sad to see. Fashion should be a personal representation of yourself, not some clothes hanger for a designer brand.

    Enjoy your clothes, and don’t hate others because they don’t live up to your high standards.

  40. The-E-Babes

    September 25, 2006 at 2:05 am

    I was also a teen in the 80′s and had some amazing outfits that when I think upon, wish I had them today…punk plaids, bright tights, polka dots and 50′s style cotton strapless dresses. Yes the 80′s had crappy fabrics that would ignite near a flame along with that crazy blind-you-if-you-look-straight-at-it garish metallic teal, but I dont think these kids look bad at all. The wonderful thing about being young and fashionable is you get to do it rebelliously. We all had moments when we dressed to spite others, especially parents. Youth equals experimentation and that’s what they appear to be doing. When I was in high school, we were stealing our mothers’ youthful looks all the meanwhile them saying “you like this old thing?!”. How the history of dressing repeats itself.

  41. Max

    September 25, 2006 at 2:10 am

    It’s all new to us.

    On the other hand, the whole look is sort of tired to anyone who’s been paying attention.

    American apparel is working hard with the 80s vintage look and has been for a while.

  42. Max

    September 25, 2006 at 2:22 am

    Oh my god.

    I just searched for “chess king” on eBay and realized that the uber hip brown leather jacket I’ve been wearing is straight out of their look.

  43. Anonymous

    September 25, 2006 at 9:15 am

    I disagree with the negative comments. I lived through the 80s in awe, mostly with an eye on musicians–Nena, Aha, Duran Duran, let’s see…Grace Jones–not so much because their fashions were to my taste but because of their fashion attitude. What counts for me is that the people in the photos have a sense and attitude of style.

  44. Anonymous

    September 25, 2006 at 11:52 am

    This post is so funny. I work in the Garment District in NYC, and today was walking behind a woman thinking, “Gee, even buffalo plaid is back!” 80s redux indeed!

  45. tweedles

    September 25, 2006 at 12:48 pm

    i don’t get it…how is this tacky? i love their colours. i guess it’s different but not any the worse for being different.

  46. hoi polloi

    September 25, 2006 at 4:06 pm

    I like the 80′s style. It was quirky and colorful. True some of it was bad, but some was very creative. One thing I like about it is the way you can mix things around be it colors or layers. It allows for a more personalized look to ones outfit.

  47. gobsmack'd

    September 25, 2006 at 4:33 pm

    Come on people! The 80s saw Miyake at his most creative. Gaultier today would not be the same without his 80s days. Nor would la Westwood be able to have her retrospectives … the list goes on. Don’t forget the sheer genius that was forged from the creativity coming out of clubland. Mind you, there’s absolutely NOTHING going for legwarmers!

  48. Anonymous

    September 25, 2006 at 5:41 pm

    Right on. And thank god it’s the flashdance-type ’80s they’re channeling and not the other side: high-waisted skirts and frilly sleeves, Gunne Sax lacy dresses with high collars or Safari style Ă  la “Out of Africa”…velvet knee-length pants and everything burgundy…

  49. eurobrat

    September 25, 2006 at 6:40 pm

    FABULOUS.

  50. sandman_gr

    September 25, 2006 at 7:27 pm

    Looks like Haloween is early this year…

  51. Anonymous

    September 25, 2006 at 9:51 pm

    So many high brows! Like all people should be cut the same way.

  52. Anonymous

    September 25, 2006 at 11:10 pm

    the girl in pink looks so joyous and happy. would that i could be as confident as her.

  53. ken

    September 25, 2006 at 11:39 pm

    Looking at these girls restores my hope in vintage, especially the girl in the hooded unitard. Vintage has become an absolute cliche in New York; the girls here who wear vintage and thrift store stuff all look like the Olsen twins. These Londoners at least each have their own spin on vintage and aren’t buying into the whole Jackie O shades, huge leather belt, Edith and Daha purse and dress-over-leggings look.

  54. Anonymous

    September 26, 2006 at 12:07 am

    There is a pattern here. Girls like to dress like their ‘mums’ did when they were children. In the 70′s – young girls liked to dress in 40′s/50′s. I notice women in their 30′s like to dress like the 70′s – wrap dresses, big sunglasses, open toe shoes.

    And now, in the 00′s, kids seem to like the familiarity of things 80′s. It feels comforting…

  55. savvylondon

    September 26, 2006 at 5:43 am

    the 80′s will never die in london. it has consistently been the street-fashion/and often club scene period of reference for at least the last 5 years.

  56. Anonymous

    September 26, 2006 at 11:41 am

    Chest King? Hey Scott, was that the one in Castleton Square or Washington Square?

  57. noraneedles

    September 28, 2006 at 12:41 pm

    For me these pictures are all about the light, that gorgeous nostalgic light, and the fun the girls seem to be having. I don’t like the clothes but they could be worse, and anyway I’m not 20 anymore and don’t have to wear them. When I was 20, I too bought what was available in thrift stores (the dresses I wore then would be expensive vintage now) and wore them in ways that made people the age I am now shudder and roll their eyes (riot grrrl, anyone?)

    Also, anyone who’s been a sweet young thing in a big city knows what huge amounts of unwanted attention dressing in fitted, purely pretty clothes can get you, so part of their look may very intentionally be a sort of punky “aesthetic of ugliness” (especially the girls in the top picture). When you are young and naturally beautiful, you long to be interesting.

  58. LBellatrix

    September 30, 2006 at 1:42 pm

    Noraneedles, amen to your last statement! That’s why I can’t totally knock this look.

    I came of age in the 80s (graduated college in 87) and even though a lot of this stuff does make me cringe, I think for me it’s simply a generational thing. I’m sure my mom cringed at some of the stuff I wore (Madonna in her lace period, anyone?) when I was young.

    On the TV at the gym HSN was advertising them as being suitable for all women. Um, no, that’s okay…I got my leggings fix out of my system in the 80s, thanks. :)

  59. Anonymous

    October 8, 2006 at 10:00 am

    I’m definitely not a fan of the 80s…I guess the first is a measured dose with a British twist, but the second one?

    Please God no.

  60. Anonymous

    September 26, 2008 at 9:42 am

    My favorite part about this post is the confession of working at Chess King. Sart, your candor is so appreciated. As a poor kid trying to emulate fashion trends, I admit I shopped at…Joyce Leslie (gasp!) We’ve both come a long way.

  61. Gosia

    December 7, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    I’m from Poland and 80′s wasn’t so colorful in our country but I visited USA that time, staying there for 2 months. It was the best time of my life. I came back to country with bag full of crazy cheap clothes. I felt like a pop star wearing them at school in our reality. I love fashion of 80′s, maybe except the shoulder pads :):)

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