Wednesday, 8 October 2008

What were we thinking?

Husband and I went to a party last weekend. An honest-to-goodness, out after dark without the children, party. A friend of Husband's is about to turn 40 and decided to celebrate the fact with an 80s themed do, given that all of us who are 40 or thereabouts had our finest moments growing up in the 1980s. All guests had supplied a picture of themselves from the said decade (Husband's was of himself playing in the band he was in at school and mine was taken by Husband in about 1987 and showed me with my growing-out perm. Classy.)

We entered into the spirit of the thing by taking along a bottle of Blue Nun. Did you know they still made that stuff? Neither did I until Saturday. It now comes in a blue glass bottle making it look just a little like a very expensive bottle of window cleaner. (Don't worry, we also took along something drinkable.)

The conversations with the other guests were hilarious. There was a large poster on the wall displaying all the photographs which had been sent in and we had a great time figuring out who was who and discussing the fashion/hairstyle choices. Now, I had always thought that I was not really much of a fashion victim in the 1980s. I never went out dressed like Madonna, for example. But in the discussions on Saturday night I realised that in fact, I wore some pretty abysmal stuff in my teens. Really. You want details? OK, here goes:
  • legwarmers. Need I say more.
  • fishnet tights. Electric blue fishnet tights.
  • jeans so tight I could barely move and had to lie down flat to zip them up. Any sign of a slight flare in the leg was a direct route to social suicide.
  • one of those scarves with gold thread through it, worn wrapped around the neck with the point at the front so you looked sort of like a Broadway version of a terrorist
  • bright red baggy dungarees, worn loose with the legs rolled up to mid-calf, with a yellow collarless shirt underneath. And a leopard print chiffon scarf tied round my (permed) hair with a big bow on the top. I wish I had a photo of this one.
  • metallic pinky-purple lipstick. It came from Miss Selfridge and the shade was called "Boy Gorgeous" It made your teeth look yellow.
  • electric blue mascara. To match the tights, presumably.
  • My dad's black cashmere V neck sweater. Worn back to front with the V at the back, accessorised with a double string of pearls. What was that whole V back thing?
  • Hairspray. LOTS of hairspray.
  • White court shoes (I am so ashamed)
  • Black fingerless gloves, which went well with the........
  • nail varnish. My dad took one look at this combo and declared that it looked like I had dropped a brick on my fingers.
  • Brown trilby hat. John Taylor had a lot to answer for.
  • Ra-ra skirt. Least said the better.
  • Grey and red striped boating jacket.
  • White high necked blouse with purple and black pinstripes and a bow at the neck. Ack.
Looking back at the list of stuff I was impressionable enough to wear in public, I am now slightly less surprised that my friends also managed to make me go to see Kajagoogoo in concert.

Right. Your turn. Make me feel better in the comments with your fashion faux pas. Or just laugh at me, whatever you prefer.


  1. Oh god. Your list of clothes is PETRIFYING. Because I had half that stuff too ... Legwarmers, drainpipe jeans (I had the figure for them, back then, humph),metallic scar, collarless shirt, permed hair, scarf in the hair (extra special cringe!), back-to-front v-neck jumper. I never had the ra-ra skirt or the trilby, though, and my boating type jacket was black.

    Jesus. I'm away to be sick now. Thanks for bringing all that back in such glorious detail!!

  2. Oh, and I, er, had the pearl necklace thing going on too.


  3. My favourite going out outfit was a red rara skirt, white ruffley blouse, gold pumps and of course a trilby. I also had a grey boilersuit affair with a scarf worn as a belt and white stiletoes. That was fun when I needed the loo! I also had the glam terrorist scarf, crumpled jackets with the sleeves pushed up Miami Vice stylee, and of course massive baggy white tshirts with "Choose Life" and "Frankie Says Relax!" written on them.

    Make up - I loved my electric blue mascara, wonder if you can still get that? I used to line my inner lids in white, and my eyeshadows were scary bright colours like orange, green, red, tourquise. Subtlety was an alien concept to me.

    I had a dodgy perm of course, but also went through a stage where my very dark brown hair was streaked with white blonde, like a skunk, and cut short and spikey on top.

    I was very New Romantic and loved Spandau Ballet and Adam Ant, ABC and Duran Duran. Oh and Soft Cell and Aha and Wham and Frankie Goes to Hollywood and.....and.....and....LOL it's a long list :-)

    Happy days!

  4. Goodness me, that was good for a laugh!

    I'm ashamed to say that there's a few of thos items I've worn in the not so distant past withthe whole 80s revival thing. I'm sure my shame will come.

    No white court shoes though! :)

    CP x

  5. Oh yeah, well here in the sticks of New Hampshire, back in the 80's when I was waaaay too thin (yes, there was a time) I wore 2 terrible things. I clingy tube top dress that probably made me look like a tart, and corduroy overalls about three sizes too big! Oh yeah, I seriously needed Trinny and Sussanah to help me!

  6. I can't help you here, since I have always been the picture of elegance. Ahem.

    I think we need photographic evidence of some of your fashion statements...

  7. You saw KajaGooGoo live? Wow. I am one of those saddos who still look them up on Youtube in moments of weakness. *Sigh*

    My personal disaster was Twilight Teaser lipstick - a kind of two-tone affair that prompted my dad to ask why I'd taken to making myself up like something from the morgue.

    Living in Jersey meant we were rather limited on trendy clothes. I, um, had to knit my own legwarmers. Man, I looked cool. Not.

  8. Actually, I do not remember Isabelle wearing anything particularly terrible in the 80s. She did have a perm at one point.

    Let's see now. I too had a ra-ra skirt (bought to go to my first school disco, aged eight or nine). And dungarees. But since I was only ten when the 80s ended, I probably looked quite cute, and I escaped hair and makeup disasters.

    The worst I can think of is the green culottes with turnups, worn with tights and a white textured jumper, and a padded hairband. There is televisual evidence of this outfit out there, unfortunately, although maybe it was the very early 90s.

    Oh, and the white jeans spattered with pink and lilac camellias, worn with pink and lilac fluffy angora jumper. That was quite 80s.

    My mother would tell you that my 90s outfits were considerably more eccentric.

  9. I remember having the same fear of flares.

  10. I completely forgot about the V backs!

  11. Seriously. I don't what age-backwardness I went through in h.s. but I owned and wore both a Winnie the Pooh sweatshirt, as well as a Tigger sweatshirt.

    YIKES! I am making up for it now, I am a fashionista in progress now compared to then...ha ha ha! :)

    I loved this post. It made me laugh!

  12. Ahhh, this list took me back! I only really got into the late 80's fashion and have to say that I still cringe thinking about how much hairspray I used. Oh, and those hyper color t-shirts that changed color depending on where you were sweating... man I loved those. Who doesn't need to see EXACTLY where I'm sweating?