Monday, July 03, 2006

The gauntlet has been thrown ....... response to my recent scathing observations of current Aussie campus fashions, FlauntIT said: "hey! don't pick on us, what did U wear in the 80s?! Or R U still wearing it now..." Never mind the fact that her writing style reveals that SMS is more her modus operandi than typing out words in full, she has a point. What did I wear in the eighties and am I still wearing it now?

Firstly, please be kind - I'm bearing my sartorial SOUL here - warts and all, at a time from 12-22; quite simply the most awkward decade of anyone's life.

Let's start with 1980. I had only turned 12 in November that year and if you squint you'll see that my school photo reveals my very first zit (on the chin). I was rollerskating around our house with my homemade walkman (a tinny transister radio duct-taped to an old belt), listening to 'Dreamin'' by Cliff Richard; 'You can't stop the music' by the Village People; 'Shandi' by Kiss and 'Super Trouper' by Abba. My album of choice was 'Full Boar', a greatest hits compilation that featured a tasteful cover photograph of a dead pig's head wearing cushion-sized headphones.

I was twelve remember and, as you can see, was fully prepared to buy into my country town's fashion at the time - cord Levi's, desert boots (the 'cool' stitched ones, not the plastic soled, tucked in K-Mart Jobs), a v-neck and skivvy. Even in this outfit I managed to snag a boyfriend that year, although I suspect it was mostly due to the very brief running shorts that I used to get around in during PE that did it. And the fact that our 'relationship' was mostly conducted by ignoring each other entirely.

In 1983 I was 14-15 and you can see that Princess Diana had a big impact on my hairstyle. I was lucky enough to retain my childish blonde colour and spent at least, oh, two minutes every morning perfecting the flick-fringe. Having a compulsory high school uniform was actually a blessing I'd rather die than admit to - it was only on the last day of term, known as 'Casual Day' than my friends and I would be thrown into a frenzy of indecision as to what to wear - Smile jeans? Nah, too slutty. Corfu baggies? Too 1982. Kiaks? YES. Stupid-looking yes, but everyone was wearing them: that was all that mattered.

I watched 'Countdown' every Sunday without fail as it was vital to be able to contribute to the post-show discussions at Monday recess time. Favourite bands/songs were Madness (anything), 'Just got Lucky' - JoBoxers, 'Come said the Boy' - Mondo Rock and Huey Lewis and the News' 'Sports' tape. Yes, tape, that I proudly played on my inbuilt tape and one-speaker mono combo.

On a 2 week drama camp for students from each school in South Australia, I met - and fell rather heavily for - Patrick D. We snogged rather awkardly after rehearsals, and, like 1980, studiously ignored each other during the day. A few even more awkward letters were swapped when we were safely back in our home towns, but oh, that special night at the Hindley Street McDonalds!!

At the end of 1984, I had reluctantly bought into the Wham-Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, fluoro orange colour combo, but was not prepared to wear a 'Choose Life' t-shirt. I did get my fringe frosted a bit which was incredibly out there for a Goody Goody like me. (How could I not be a Goody Goody - my Dad was a teacher at my town's only high school and I threw up when I finally drew back on a cigarette at 14).

Howard Jones, Madness (still), The Police, Billy Idol, Frankie Goes to Hollywood were much played and even last year's Flashdance still got a spin on the turntable in the family room. Panelled denim jeans also arrived and I thought that they were designed just for large-arsed, thunder thighed gals like me - you could have been any shape or size in those parachutes for godssake....!

Favourite movies of course included Sixteen Candles, Class and a movie called Risky Business that featured a rather cute little chap...... No boyfriends for me that year - I had got into that 'the boys here at my school are soooo immature' phase and had last year's 'Ghost of Patrick' to pretend I was already taken.

In 1985 I was fully committed to perming my hair and preferred to wear accessories that were - *sigh, blush blush* pale pink or blue - a combination that I stuck with for the entire decade. I scored my first real boyfriend (luckily omitted from this picture of our end-of year-12 Senior Ball) and studied for matriculation to the sounds of Midnight Oil, V Spy V Spy, Sting, Bruce Springsteen, The Angels and Oingo Boingo. My mono had been replaced by a double tape Sanyo stereo with equalizer and detachable speakers. Coloured gold baby, gold. It was the possession I was most proud of - at least until I married Love Chunks a decade later.

Despite many visits to the hairdresser and much teasing in the bedroom (of the follicular kind, not the sexual kind), my quest for Big Hair was never very successful. However, on reflection the photos show that it was definitely big enough.

As for the dress, well, what can I say - it was some kind of bridesmaid cast-off that I thought looked absolutely beautiful at the time, and ensured that my blue mascara and frosted eyeshadow did it justice (I'm not yet strong enough to comment on the hair or the shoes or the tennis tans on my arms)

By 1987, my second year at uni, my hair resembled a deep fried packet of Two Minute Noodles, and I'm wearing my very favourite baggy shorts that I used to pine for when they were whirling around in the washing machine.

Songs played at this 21st BBQ party were made from my tapes - Nothing too Serious by Icehouse, ROCK in the USA by John Couger Mellencamp; Love Shack - B52s and, sadly, pretty well anything with a tempo that is still flogged to death on adult FM radios. It was fresh then, but now has all the zest and originality of a day-old vegemite sao.

This ensemble seemed to attract penniless geology students, flashers in the park ("I want a meal, not a snack" was what my friend was brave enough to say when it happened to her a day later), hard-hearted navy draftsmen and weird dancers - all of which I'd considered quite acceptable!

Here I am, all tarted up in my Glenn Close/Fatal Attraction get-up for the 1988 Lincoln College 'hop' - that year themed as 'The Movies.'

I saw my ex-boyfriend of three years hook up with girl he married a few years later, whilst I fended off some guy who was dressed as the priest from the Exorcist and picked me a bunch of flowers from the sour sobs he found in the park.

Finally, at decade's close, 1989, the ANZ bank somehow (rather hopefully) decided to employ me as a graduate trainee - obviously thinking that Major English texts and Roman Art & Archaeology majors would come in handy when drawing up home loans.

Huge t-shirts tucked into high-waisted long shorts paired with sockless sneakers were all the rage then, but it wasn't fun pulling off the shoes at the end of an active day. Still, this get up impressed a co-worker (even though he took me to see Rodney Rude at the Norwood Footy Club on our first night out!); an accounting student and another geology guy (you should never meet blokes via one of your female friends).

Dad found me Rodney - born 1971, and considered a good buy at $500 cash eighteen years later. I guess he was - Dad could rest easy knowing that the 'Rod was unable to crank up any faster than 80km an hour, and I had the comfort of knowing that my 'flying turd' would never be lost in the crowd at the supermarket carpark.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Brought it all flooding back!

I think you'll agree that the stuff we were wearing in the 80's must've at least been a lot more COMFORTABLE than what they're wearing now...?

deepkickgirl said...

Good work... loved it... honestly, the public humiliation is so worth it!

God help anyone if I dredge out my photos from the 80s. But I may just do so... keep watching the blog.

The early 80s saw my infatuation with all things Rocky Horror and Starstruck. So my get up consisted quite heavily of a black tutu (yes, the short ballet type) combined with two-toned tights, pointy shoes, striped t-shirts and heavily frizzed hair with giant bows. I can proudly say I almost caused car accidents in my neighbourhood on a number of seperate occasions.

The slightly later 80s saw me enter my punk merging into my ska skinhead days. The early variation included fashion such as genital earrings (bought at Paddington Markets), torn fishnets (but of course!), hand made dresses with words of punk songs written on them and, my favourite, a huge green mohair jumper knitted by moi using size 100 needles (I used to call it my pubic hair jumper, and loved it passionately).

In comparison the ska skinhead stage was very demure. Tiny tight jeans with Doc Martens and Fred Perry shirts, tiny tartan kilts with Doc Martens and Fred Perry shirts, tiny mini skirts with Doc Martens and Fred Perry shirts... do you see a pattern emerging?

Attila the Mom said...

What a blast from the past!

Jeez, I remember wearing gauchos (culottes) and satin skating shorts.

I'm so embarrassed. ;-)

fifi-belle said...

That Princess Di/wedding cake fairy ensemble is priceless!