1980’s – an excess of fashion!

I was a teenager in the 1980’s and totally, utterly obsessed with fashion  I started my first job and my first pay was immediately spent on a turquoise cable knit “sloppy joe” oversized jumper .

(I received the handsome sum of $18 for working weekends at my Mum’s video store).

Once I was older and moved to the city my girlfriends and I lived for clubbing.   Shopping was our most competitive and consuming past time.  Now, I look back and thank the fashion gods that cameras didn’t proliferate like now.  Thankfully, photos of our most bizarre fashion moments are few and far!

I’ve been collecting vintage clothes and costumes since I was about fifteen years old.   Along the way I’ve gathered a huge inventory of fashion gems………here are some of my most favourite outfits from the fabulous, naughty, excessive, crazy Eighties!

80's festival dress
1980’s Festival skirt and blouse by “Mr Simon”

I love this outfit above – it is a crisp cotton material with heaps of gathering on the flounces of red, yellow and bright blue.   I’ve added a blue sash and gauze headscarf – it is by “Mr Simon”.

Pink and blue tulle 1980's dress

This cute gauze dress is another great example of early 1980’s blasts of colour.   The tiered skirt is bright hot pink and bright blue while the bodice is hot pink with blue spaghetti straps.  I’ve matched it with a soft blue lace top and white lace gloves and the mandatory beads plus doubled belt.

Red and black peplum 1980's cocktail dress Black gathered sequin cocktail 1980's dress 1980's peplum red satin cocktail dress

Soapies glamour!


Those synthetic cocktail/bridesmaids dresses are difficult to take seriously now but they were as popular as Dynasty and all the 80’s soapies stars with big hair, long nails, sharp heels and masses of hairspray manes.  Big hair and big attitude mandatory.

Styles included shoulder pads, peplum waists, gathering, elastic waists.  Chuck on some sequins for good measure.  If you were feeling too understated don’t hesitate to reach for some statement jewellery either.

Blue glamour cocktail dress 1980's Floral tribute like this didn’t come cheap – this bright blue cocktail dress had a designer price tag.

1908's green tartan outfit black floppy hat 1980's spotted overalls Kath Yellow and pink 1980's rockstar costume

My dream day outfit was probably the pink pvc miniskirt, black net top, lycra singlet and neon leg warmers.   What I ended up wearing would have been more like the middle outfit of a spotted pair of overalls!

White and tartan bubble dress 1980's Black silver dotted 1980's cocktail dress

Classic Eighties isn’t always huge pops of colour – it can be more subtle!  This cute white bodice combines perfectly with the tartan bubble skirt.  The black cocktail dress has silver dots, front gathering and a keyhole neckline plus heaps of attached petticoats.

1980's pop star dress

Too much?

Sometimes people ask me “Is this too much?”  and I always have to tell them I am not really the person to ask!  All these years of collecting vintage clothing has destroyed any perspective on dressing too over the top.  I’ve combined a strapless taffeta dress, tulle petticoats, studded belts, tons of bracelets, beads plus a fur stole with brooches……channeling my favourite Cyndi Lauper film clip, you know the one!  If this is too much, you could easily tone down by taking off some kilos of jewelry.

Some characterise the Eighties as a time of “greed is good” and excessive consumption – which I agree it certainly was – but there is a quality I really like about this era – the bravery!  Designers, music, pop culture, all served to push the boundaries of the fashion of the moment forward.

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