Spring term Commission: task one, 1980’s fashion

The first thing people think of when it comes to the 80’s period is usually leg warmers, bright colours, shoulder pads and big hair!  The fashion of the 1980’s is iconic as well as the music that came from the time period. In this research I plan to look not only and the music and fashion but also news events, shows and the politics of the 1980’s most importantly the infamous Margaret Thatcher.

The fashion of the 1980’s could be commended for the outburst of creativity, shapes and colour choices that designers thought of when we are looking at the style of the 80’s. Designers of the 80’s period had a varied look about the clothes that wanted to make, some took ideas from the past such as a slight throwback to the 1950’s while some left the past in the past and others wanted to mould the future.

  as you can see here this is an 80’s style dress but you can see the 50’s flair to it. The hem line is above the knee but back in the 50’s it would have been more mid-shin level.

This is a dress form the 1950’s period. As you can see there are very strong similarities in both dresses, the neck line the colour the patten. However the hem line is longer, the dress has a petticoat underneath to give it volume as well as the neck line being thicker. This gives a lovely silhouette commonly known as the “hourglass” figure everyone dreams of. The first dress pays tribute to this with a thinner neck line and a less volumetric skirt but still giving the 50’s feel with a 80’s take to it.

 in the early 1980’s people still loves the rock and roll of the late 70’s and so the style stayed for the early 1980’s, as you can see here the colours are dark but still have yellow, pinks and blues to give it a lift. The early 1980’s were very different form the rest of the decade. There were minimal effort form the designers as a lot of the fashion form the 70’s crossed over the accessories has less emphasis and the colours became quite basic. There were a lot of browns, tans and oranges.

In this picture we can see the iconic look of the 80’s that we would use for a fancy dress or Halloween parties. We have the leg warmers, the bright colours and of course the fluffy haircuts. This is the mid 80’s and pop starts like Cyndi Lauper were ushering in this new style that people associate with the fashion of the 1980’s today. As you can see the bright colours, accessories, bangles and hooped earrings along with teased hair, loud make up and neon were very important to achieve this style. This style appears to be aimed at younger people however throughtout the 80’s the demographic in society is changing and for the first time there were more older people in society then there were young. Combining this with the economic boom, fashion was also being marketed at the middle-aged, in particular middle-aged, middle class professionals. Hence, we see the birth of the power suit.

“In the 1980s, fashion was influenced by the western economic boom. Youth culture stopped hogging the scene as the teenage market lost impetus. The dominant market was getting older and was also financially secure…People were living longer and seemed to act younger at the same time. Old industries died, while new technologies developed and boomed.”
http://www.fashion-era.com/h1980s_lifestyle_and_fashion.htm#The Economy Boom


Here we see the Princess Diana dresses in a power suit, we can see the shoulder pads give her a broader set of shoulders like the men in the 80’s Hugo Boss collection of male power suits. These became very popular in the world of business especially for women as they were becoming more involved with business and becoming more equal.

”   Fashion history reveals that the 80s fashion look was a tailored look. It was hard to go anywhere without at least a jacket, but preferably a complete suit. This was influenced by several movements including media influence on 1980s fashion through the popularity of TV dramas like ‘Dynasty’ and ‘Dallas’. Costume dramas brought fashion into real everyday eighties life.”

“Corporate business suit dressing, Margaret Thatcher in tailored evening suits, Yuppies and the copying of styles worn by Diana Princess of Wales, all contributed to stamping the era ”


    Margaret Thatcher never aspired to be a style icon, her quote “never flashy, just appropriate” made it clear that she didn’t wear clothes for the aesthetic  of having lovely beautiful clothes nor for the joy of wearing them. She wore the outfits she did because they were bold and neat, Thatcher never thought of herself as a fashion icon such as Princess Diana. However her fashion choices were vastly effective as they helped to convey the power she had. More and more woman started to wear power suit because they saw more woman like Theatre and Princess Diana, they saw that it made them look broader in the shoulders and more masculine but with the softness of being feminine at the same time this look was perfect for a woman in this era who were in the line of business because it made them look strong and independent which they needed if they wanted to be taken seriously in a line of work that was more dominated by men.





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