Post by T.M.
When I was a youngster, I shared a mutual hatred of the 1980’s with CM and my cousins. Well, not the ’80s per ce – we all agreed it was the best decade ever since it was the one we were all born in – just ’80s fashion. I think the problem lay with our hate-watching watching of Degrassi Junior High on TCC which was actually set in the ’90s but also set in Canada, so…*
That’s why I’m so surprised I do not need a sick-bowl right next to me whenever I watch the 1984 set The Carrie Diaries. Yes, you read right, I watch The Carrie Diaries – the Sex and The City prequel featuring a teenage Carrie Bradshaw. Anyway, forget my shameful watching secret for now because I want to tell you something important – the costume designer responsible for the outfits on the show has managed to pull off the impossible; he has made ensembles of the mid-’80s look – dare I say it – covetable.
Before all of you with photo albums lurking in the attic, full of snaps from the time before you could make your own sartorial decisions, wonder with tilted head and squinted eye why those funky folk above bare scant resemblance to what you may have previously thought the ’80s looked like, well, that’s that’s because this is definitely not an accurate depiction.
It’s a funny thing though, the outfit young Carrie is wearing in the pic above would have been considered absolutely hideous in this day and age – in a universe where SATC had never existed. But we love daring looks now, for when SATC sprung on our screens back in 1998, it altered our perception of fashion forever. Forevvvvverrrrr.
Back to the ’80s, for a very long time it was dubbed the decade that fashion forgot. Oh, ho ho ho, how times and attitudes have changed. I read in a respected magazine last week (I forget which one but it could have been The Sunday Times Style ) that the ‘70s was the time of style misfires (which, for the record, I totally disagree with) and we are reaching an age I never thought would come – the age when Material Girl-ism is back.
Of course, fashions always change the second time round. The Carrie Diaries’ costume guy, stylist Eric Daman, has done a fabulous job of not showing the ’80s…realistically. Let’s face it, no one looked good in ’80s suburbia. Carrie and her friends, preppy Mouse, slutty Maggie, metropolitan Walt and her boyfriend, leather and black-clad bad boy Sebastian Kidd all have distinct fashion identities (that I’ve just revealed.)
There was a stage in the 1990’s when everyone used to love dressing as hippies for fancy dress parties. CM and I even had a hippy- themed birthday party. Then, those clothes actually came into mainstream fashion, slightly modified for the grunge era of course. While we were raiding our mother’s wardrobe for flares and platforms to wear out and about in real life, we laughed out loud when we came across her loafers and shoulder pads and pants that were wider at the top than they were at the bottom.
Today I’m wearing pants that are wider at the top than they are at the bottom with a pair of blue loafer-style shoes (that I bought in Penney’s three years ago curiously) with a dinky little jumper and shirt underneath. However, my hair is not big.
While we have to prepare ourselves for a decades’ time when our children laugh at the clothes we are wearing in the present, let’s just go with it and accept that ’80s-style clothes are comfy and cosy and I am going to bask in their current stylishness for as long as they remain in fashion.
Canada friends, I really can’t talk, Ireland only caught up with the rest of the world sartorially speaking when the internet went mainstream.