Remember How Chic We Looked in the 80’s? Neither do I.



Searching for my worst fashion moment in my bottomless pile of photos, I knew exactly which years to look through. For me, there was no time like the 80’s for bad style. It could be argued that the 70’s were worse, what with disco, polyester, blue eye shadow and more, but since I was in high school in the  late 70’s I could get away with just about anything, as could most girls at the age of 17.


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The 80’s, though, were just one long stretch of ugly stuff. And not just for me. I bet you looked pretty bad back then, too. In fact, I dare you to go dig out a picture of yourself from the late 80’s and tell me you looked good, because I’m guessing you didn’t. No offense.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

In retrospect, this mortifying photo of me is not as bad is it could be, because look at that smile. That was a very happy time in my life. It was the spring of 1989, and I was engaged, preparing for my wedding…

Did you find your picture? See, I told you so.

So back to me and my fashion sense. Can you believe that hair? A permed mullet – it doesn’t get much worse, does it?

Nope. It doesn’t.

What about the rest of it? Pretty awful too. See those acid-washed jeans? They probably buttoned somewhere up around my belly button, and made my butt look like it was 3 feet long. That crew neck t-shirt doesn’t do me any favors – can you say matronly?  No doubt I had acrylic nails that were very long and very red. And what’s with all the pearls? Who did I think I was, Barbara Bush?

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How about the horizontal striped sweater? That’s a no-no in any decade.


But do you see how happy I look? 

I know, I know, it doesn’t matter. I still look like a “before” on “What Not to Wear.”

That was the last perm I ever had. For good reason.

I looked a lot better at my wedding. Although, we should probably talk about those poofy sleeves…

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  1. says

    I don’t know how I found your blog, but this post resonants with me. I had a sweater [in pink] very similar to the one you’re wearing, but I had a curly [frizzy] wedge haircut that made me look like a blonde stalk of broccoli. I looked awful, but didn’t know it.

    Please tell me that 80s fashion isn’t going to make a comeback. I don’t think that I could take it twice in one lifetime.
    Ally Bean recently posted..In Which I Decide On A Word Of The Year. Finally.My Profile

  2. says

    Sharon, you looked great. Acid wash was an undeniably stupid mistake, but, really, your hair doesn’t look bad – especially not compared to the rest of our permed heads. About the sweater: it’s not the stripes; it’s the dropped shoulders. I wish I’d figured that one out decades ago.
    Ginger Kay recently posted..Making up the rules as we go alongMy Profile

  3. says

    I loved growing up in the 60’s …. Living on the west coast, I was a surfer (and dressed as the classic surfer girl), a beatle lover (so dressed as a mod? or was it a rocker?) …. a flower child so dressed as a hippy …. as the mood struck me … thank goodness it all involved long, straight hair and bangs! lol! At least until I cut my hair in August of 1967 into a Twiggy cut! loved it … all of it!
    Itty Bitty Boomer recently posted..2012 = Habits vs 2013 = IntentionsMy Profile

  4. says

    What in the name of Barbara Bush is with all the pearls and perms?! I’m wearing them in my photo, too. And a word to the kids out there: if you already have naturally curly hair, do NOT get a perm thinking it will tame your unruly locks. You’ll just be adding fire to the flame. For those like Sharon and Anne, who have straight hair, a perm can be forgiven. But never a mullet. No, never ever a mullet. Sorry Sharon, had I been there when you were settling into that chair in the salon I would have yanked you out so fast your hair would have curled on its own. Your post is once again spot-on—the 70s and 80s were, by and large, nightmares in fashion. But here’s the paradox: those decades also brought us the gorgeous fashion photography of Francesco Scavullo and Richard Avedon. Is there a lesson here? Maybe we thought what we were seeing at the time was indeed beautiful. But the styles did not age well at all. I think what was missing was a timeless classicism. Silhouettes like Audrey Hepburn’s, for example, will always captivate us. The mullet, permed or otherwise, not so much.
    Marci Rich recently posted..Don’t Look: She’s Not Who You Think She IsMy Profile

  5. says

    Oh my goodness…Sharon, I didn’t even know that was YOU. I’m reading the comments and wondering why you are responding to everyone!!!

    I absolutely loved your hair styles! I had the same mullet, and then the feathered hair you have in your wedding picture.

    So sweet that all you can see in that picture is your happiness!
    Bonnie recently posted..Smokin’ Hot: A Complete Fashion DisasterMy Profile

  6. says

    I cringe too when I see old pix of me, not just the ones from the 80’s. I believe that 20 years from now I’ll cringe at the pix taken of me today. We all try to look our best utilizing the fashions of the day. Back in the 80’s, I thought I was dressing great. Today I think I’m dressing great. It’s all relative. I can’t get too upset about the way I used to dress. All I can do is smile at my old style and move along to tomorrow’s fashions.
    Kate recently posted..Top 10 Destinations of 2012My Profile

  7. says

    I think fashion has a certain cycle, in four parts. First there is the Coming Into Fashion phase, and the “I will never been seen in those (insert cargo pants, low rise hipsters, Uggs, yoga pants” belief. Second phase, In Fashion – yes we are so cool, hot, groovy… Third, Out of Fashion, with mini phases of five or so years each: ‘just old’, ‘no one ever wears that anymore’, and ‘OMG how could we have?’ Given enough time, those painful fashion choices often age into something historic, which designers might even want to reclaim and recycle. 50’s shirtwaists? 60’s minis? There will come another time for curly hair…
    Sarah@afterhood recently posted..The Tree is a MemoryMy Profile


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