The History of Rock and Roll Fashion – Part Four

The 80s

In the novel, 1984, George Orwell describes the eighties as a dystopian state – “an imagined world far worse than our own”.  And when it comes to fashion of that time, he was, of course, correct.

80s-fashionGot my shoulder pads?  Check.  How about my neon genie pants?  Check.  Now if only I could find my stone-washed jeans hat…  Oh, there it is, right next to my poster of Alf.  How did rock music possibly influence this decade of bizarre clothing?  Like it does in every decade – it sets the trends in motion.

Madonna and groups like Run DMC ushered in the giant, gold jewelry look, wearing so much of it they sometimes looked like human versions of those  “we buy back gold” store at the mall.Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)  Pers: Madonna  Dir: Susan Seidelman  Ref: DES030BX  Photo Credit: [ Orion / The Kobal Collection ]  Editorial use only related to cinema, television and personalities. Not for cover use, advertising or fictional works without specific prior agreement

Bands like Twisted Sister and Poison wore skin-tight neon clothes that had been shredded with scissors and heaping amounts of fluorescent blue eye shadow.  Rockers also started the trend of big hair in the eighties, with most bands going through more hairspray in an evening than the entire cast of Dynasty did in a year.

The eighties rockers moved away from the seventies rockers more theatrical style costumes (Cher, Elton John) with their clothes having a more unfinished and almost a DIY quality.  PRZ-005752Anyone with no sense of decorum and a Bedazzler could mimic their favorite artist.

I did not manage to escape the eighties unscathed in the fashion department.  On the contrary, like all decades, I have a knack for finding the uncoolest and most embarrassing cultural phenomenons and embracing them as my own.  As a ‘tween, I never left the house without my Members Only Jacket, a pair of parachute pants and my limited edition, Mr. T Snoopy.

I looked like a train wreck, but fortunately, I had a very supportive boyfriend at the time…

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