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.
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!”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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……)
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.
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…
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.
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??
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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…
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.
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…
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.
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. :)
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.
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 :):)