Neighborhood fashionista

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

The passing of Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett have had me thinking (almost completely obsessing) about growing up in the 80s.

That was a decade I'm both proud to have lived through, and yet am strangely embarrassed by it. Must have been the fashion.

I spent last weekend watching VH1 Classic's three-hour video tribute to The Gloved One. Remember that glove? If you don't, just stop reading, because the rest of this won't make any sense whatsoever. I had a friend who actually had a white glove she wore on only one hand. It was wicked.

Did you have a red leather Thriller jacket? No? Then you so weren't cool. Did you wear white socks with ankle-length skinny black jeans? Come on!

And Madonna? I (and every other girl of that generation, plus some metro guys) had arms full of black rubber bracelets. Some of my trampier counterparts even broke out the bustiers. I mean, gag me with a spoon! Why not just wear your bra on the OUTSIDE of your shirt? Oh yeah, we did that too.

The 80s was a time when, as they say in July's W Magazine, "partygoers and the economy were flying high." It was all about excess shoulder pads, gaudy plastic jewelry or bold gold snake-head hoops. The bigger the better. There also was the "no accounting for taste crowd" sporting clear plastic jelly shoes, neon clothing and leg warmers. On the flip side, preppy was the new black. I wish I still had my pink and green Preppy Handbook. It was my Bible. With a side of grunge.

Flashdance brought us off-the-shoulder, oversized sweatshirts with super-tight leggings. And don't forget the acid-washed jeans and MC Hammer parachute pants.

Did you wear your Izod shirt with the collar up? Did you wear two at a time; different colors? (I'm talking to you, S.K. from my high school!) Did you channel Pretty in Pink and wear baggy blazers with the sleeves pushed up? Penny loafers with real pennies in the toe area?

It was all so EXTREME! That's why it was so great. And why I still love it. I am a junkie for I Love the 80s on VH1. I still have my favorite 80s music on my iPod. And I still want to see a comeback of Big Hair ala Farrah.

So why are the crazy, over-the-top fashions of this time period back in the mainstream (even at Target!)? Perhaps it's because of today's economy and our general distrust of those things bigger than us (hello, Iran?). We still want to at least pretend to be the haves, not the have nots. We can still bust a move in the 00s version of jelly shoes or Hammer pants. And we do it because it gives us a sense of control in this new millennium.

Long live Frankie!