There is a rule in writing I’m sort of about to break — write about what you know.
I don’t really know, and really don’t care, about fashion, but then I read Allure, because …
Apparently, in 2017 we’ll all be wearing 1980s-inspired clothing, at least according to two of the latest analytical forecasts of next year’s trends.
It all sort of makes a bit of sense. We’ll have a controversial celebrity turned Republican politician in the White House. Popular music is as synth-heavy as it’s ever been since that decade. People are actually excited about new Star Wars movies. Stranger Things is the most buzzed about show of the year. Makeup on men is an even bigger trend than it was during the glam rock heyday. Heck, Hollywood is even rebootingDynasty.
According to Pinterest’s in-house analytic team, the ’80s trend isn’t about to die down. The team has analyzed the trends that have seen the most year-over-year pinning growth over the past year and that seem primed to peak in 2017. Among their forecasts is the belle sleeve top silhouette taking over the off-the-shoulder look, an even more heated interest in flair (as in things like stickers and pins), and of course, more ’80s.
“Other big shifts were in political Ts (no surprise there), backless shoes—and not just the mule—and multiple earrings,” writes WWD. “That goes hand-in-hand with the popularity of Eighties-style trends, such as high-tops, peg legs and denim skirts.”
Meanwhile, retail analytic firm Edited is also forecasting trend temperatures in the ’80s as well.
“The 1980s will be huge—everything from power suits and slouchy tailored trousers for office wear, through to off-the-shoulder looks, activewear and [over-the-top] ruffles,” the report stated.
So, while there are some disagreements as to the fate of off-the-shoulder tops, both agree that ’80s are in.
Which isn’t a surprise. Designers have packed recent collections with ’80s details. Hedi Slimane’s last collection for Saint Laurent saw more dramatic shoulders since the series finale of Dynasty, and other designers followed suit with Reagan-era stylings in their spring 2017 collections.
I actually had this thought before I read this as a possible explanation for the election of Donald Trump, who achieved prominence in the ’80s. Since I am from the ’80s, I should welcome a return to Republican presidents (although I remain unconvinced Trump is more than a Republican In Name Only, and Trump is no Ronald Reagan) and a more conservative nation, if that’s what the election achieved.
If Allure is correct about returning ’80s styles, the contrast is the Sarcasm Society’s view of what won’t return:
1. Slouch Socks
No one will ever wear these hideous excuses for capturing feet sweat again. Ever since the 80s people have not wanted their socks to remind them of their own bad posture.
2. Parachute Pants
Popularity of parachute pants has declined since the ’80s but since then there have been 2 recorded incidents of them being used in lieu of actual parachutes. …
8. Croakies That Saved Your Grandmother From A Burning Building
No matter what they did for you or your family you need to turn your back on the Croakies. They aren’t coming back in style. Not in any real way. I’m sorry I had to be the one to tell you this.
9. Spandex So Tight They Help You Feel Again
In the 80s the ability to experience any emotion became almost impossible. At a certain point spandex was worn just to make sure that you were able to still properly feel any emotion at all.
If you’re still wearing these then you need to realize that you’re living in the past and Rubix cubes and Alf hate you.
Stylistically I may not have advanced far from the ’80s. Most days in that decade I wore:
1A. Button-down shirt.
1B. Polo shirt. (No, NOT with the collar turned up though I was accused of being a preppie.)
1C. Button-down shirt with a sweater over it.
2. Levi’s blue jeans. (I remember the first pair I got.)
3A. White sneakers.
3B. Or boots, if the weather was bad.
I have only one pair of Levi’s; now I wear Wranglers and Lees, in part because of Levi’s attitude toward the Boy Scouts. I also wear khakis. I bought my first leather jacket in 1982 (it was, believe it or don’t, dark red); now I have several, to go with several non-leather blazers. My hair is shorter, in part because there is less of it (which I am reminded of every time I go outside in the summer sunshine without a hat). Other than that, what you see is what I got.
The public Trump wears nothing but suits, occasionally without a tie. I’ve never owned a double-breasted blazer, in part because I don’t button blazers and in part because I don’t spend large sums of money on clothes. (You may have been able to figure that out by now.) If you were doing an ’80s party dressing would be pretty easy: (1) button-down shirt, jeans and white sneakers, or (2) a dark suit with a red “power tie.”
I would say it would be funny if ’80s music made a comeback, except that ’80s music really has never gone away, for better or worse. The difference now is that ’80s music is being played on oldies radio, somewhat replacing ’60s music in that format.
There are a few things not worth emulating from the ’80s. The ’80s was where the sexual freedom of the ’70s ran into the incurable disease of herpes and then the then-fatal disease of AIDS. Fax machines, personal computers and cellphones got to the mass market in the ’80s, but of course none worked very well compared with now. (The first Macintosh I used for work required a floppy disk to start it; there was that little built-in memory. The screen was about the size of two Post-It notes, and of course it was black and white.)
Wisconsin sports fans probably would not like a repeat of the ’80s, because there were not many sports highlights in the 1980s:
That’s basically it.The Brewers had a few winning seasons and two playoff berths. The Packers had two winning seasons and one playoff berth in the ’80s. The Badgers had four winning football seasons and three bowl games, one of them their first bowl win. (And then both crashed, with the BADgers and pACKers combining for a 5–22 record in 1988.) The Bucks were the best team of all, but never got past either Philadelphia or Boston in the NBA playoffs.
While the ’80s produced some great music, as with every other time period in popular music, some music ranged from dreadful to who-the-hell-thought-this-was-a-good-idea. (See Murphy, Eddie, and Johnson, Don.) The nadir of ’80s music may well have been (don’t call them Jefferson or Airplane) Starship’s “We Built This City,” described by its guitarist thusly: “The song says we built this city on live music, let’s bring it back—but the music is computerized. It complains about techno pop, but it’s a techno-pop song. It exemplifies the problem it’s protesting.”
Cars of the ’80s were, to quote my state boys basketball champion coach/physical education teacher, not very impressive. The automakers had not figured out that electronic fuel injection would be the answer to stiffening fuel economy and emissions regulations, so we got the traveshamockery that was GM’s Computer Command Control (which should have been called Crappy Car Control). And there was the Yugo.
TV started changing in the ’80s thanks to the advent a few years earlier of TV signals broadcasted by satellite, which expanded our offerings beyond the three commercial networks and PBS to …
(Believe it or don’t, MTV stood for Music Television, and used to play music videos 24 hours a day.)
Another feature of the ’80s was irony and sarcasm. (As if.) This either was led by or demonstrated by the NBC-model David Letterman …
… when he was funny.
Face to Face says …
In contrast to the across-the-board sarcasm of the ’90s, teenagers in the ’80s reserved their eye-rolling for only what was pretentious. Funny as it may seem, the most visible — and audible — pioneers in this trend were the Valley girls, not proto-hipster wannabes. Some little nerdlinger presumes to ask out one of the cute popular girls: “Oh I’m like so sure!” Some aging hippie teacher tries to work her students up into a burst of cleansing synchronicity: “Ugh, get a job.
Barf me out.
Gag me with a spoon. …
Those teenagers still felt enthusiasm for what truly deserved it — and not just bitchin’ camaros, bodacious bods, and totally tubular tunes. Letting your guard down and sharing your life with friends, and belonging to an active social scene, were still earnest and sincere pursuits. This distinguishes the zeitgeist from one of “kill yr idols.”
The tone of youth culture in the ’80s, then, was fundamentally one of stabilization — letting the air out of the over-inflated, while showing appreciation for what we have taken for granted.
The other thing that stands out about the ’80s was the concept of conspicuous consumption, the zenith (or nadir depending on your perspective) of which was probably the syndicated TV show “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous.” If that’s going to come back, Trump will have to do a better rescue job on the economy than Ronald Reagan did.