Friday, December 4, 2009

My 80s fashion - 60s inspired

Before you go any further you must go to Jodie Ansted's (@jodieansted on Twitter) blog Livin' in the 80s .  She set a challenge...I have accepted the challenge...and here it is...

For most of the 80s I was not so proudly dressed by my mum.  I had the disadvantage advantage of  having a mum who could sew, and because clothes were much more expensive (relatively speaking) back then (OMG I sound so old saying that) she used to make everything I wore.  I was desperate for normal, trendy, store bought clothing...I always felt a bit different, not quite 'in'.  It wasn't until I was about 17 and started sewing my own clothes, and buying them that I felt truly comfortable in my own cloth skin.

A lot of fashion is borrowed from previous eras and in the 80s, the 60s were cool!  Much of my fashion had a 60s feel to it.  It wasn't only fashion, 60s music was also big in the 80s.  My college housemates and I bought the box set of Beach Boys tapes (yes, those little rectangular boxes with two spools and actual tape).  I also bought Beatles records and Frankie Valley was popular all over again.  Who didn't get up to 'Oh What A Night' at the nightclub???

Jodie was, as you would have seen, the epitome of 80s fashion.  I on the other hand can show you the daggy side of 80s fashion.  So, Jodie, just for you and anyone else who's interested in fashion, here are my best (and some worst) shots from the 80s...


Let's start at the (very daggy) beginning!

This was taken a few weeks before my 13th birthday.  I was trying desperately to get my hair to flick perfectly symmetrically but having a cow lick thwarted all attempts.  I've cut my brother and sister out to avoid embarrassment to them, however they both looked way cuter than me!  Yes, my brother is wearing a kid sized safari suit!!


Year 11, dressed for my school formal.
This is a perfect example of Mum dressing me.  She made the outfit, a skirt and top, and I hated it.  Look how 'hippy' I look!



Year 12, I made my debut and was invited to a boys' boarding school formal in Brisbane!
I absolutely loved my deb dress (still do).  I found it in a bride magazine and Mum copied it exactly, this time I was very proud to be dressed by my Mum.  For the formal I found another dress in a magazine which Mum again copied perfectly.  It was what I asked for but I felt a big daggy beside my friend who went for the much more mod option.  At least my shoes and stockings were trendy!


This is when I took over as my own stylist!  I finally grew my hair out into a bob (the alternative to the perm).  Then I actually got the courage to get 'the perm'.  And I was so proud of my fringe, I got it higher than most people I knew.  I also started sewing, I made the first black rolled collar top (very 60s), the patterned pencil skirt (with sling back shoes...60s again), and the checked blue & white top.  I was starting to feel much better about how I looked.


First Year at college.  For the college ball, even though I mostly sewed for myself at this point, I asked Mum to make my dress.  I drew it, it had a wide rolled collar which went to a 'V' at the back, the 3/4 sleeves had pointed tips and the rest you can see for yourself.  Oh, and I made a gold 'Fergie' bow to attach to a clip for my hair.  I was sooooo proud of this dress, as you can see in the group photo, it was cutting edge!  I was finally 'with it'!!  In the family photo I once again made my dress, it was floral with pin-tucks and lace... a little Laura-Ashley-esque.


This was a bit special for me!  I was the Friesian Dairy Maid (you heard!) at the Brisbane Ekka, hence the black & whiteness of my dress.  Don't you just love the white stockings with black spots?  The next photo is me all glammed up for a wedding.  Mum sewed again, I did love this ensemble ...floral ...again.  Notice my very bronze eyeshadow and lipstick.


A ball, my 21st, hitting the nightclub & graduation.  1989 was a big year, still had the spiral perm (it lasted 2 years!) and teased fringe.
Back to designing...I designed and made my college ball dress.  The bodice was black velvet (I also made a black velvet bolero jacket to wear with it), another 60s inspired shawl collar and all over lace for the skirt and collar.  I felt very stylish in this little number.
For my 21st I chose a very demure option (which I made).  Floral (again) collar and covered buttons.  I think I was channeling Jackie O.
For clubbing I loved black, here I'm in a black t-shirt, skirt (which I made) and very wide cummerbund style belt (which I also made)...once again I went for the bronze make-up, probably to match the crest on my t-shirt.
For graduation I made another dress.  Red, which I never usually wear, with puff sleeves and lace trimmings.  My design was inspired by a black velvet dress Sam Brown wore for something, but not for 'Stop' (try getting that song out of your head now!)

And apparently sarongs were also 'in' in the late 80s!!

So there you have it.  A walk through of my 80s fashion.
And just to prove that it all comes around again, here is a pic of a Barbie I bought for my 2 year old at the supermarket this morning.

Check out that skirt!  You can't tell me that's not inspired by the 80s!!


  1. Oh, this is just magnificent! I LOVED "Oh What A Night". My friends and I had an actual choreographed dance we used to do to it. Can you believe that?

    I LOVE the group shot of all the girls with you going to the formal. I have a similar one taken for my Yr 12 ball. There were quite some frocks going on there!

    I'm tempted to go out and buy that Barbie for myself. A reminder of those good ole days in the 80s.

    Well done. Masterpiece! And congrats on the Friesian Dairy Maid title. Not many people can say they've had that honour bestowed upon them.

  2. Very brave. Think I wouldn't be brave enough to hunt through the photos and do this :) (you look gorgeous btw)

  3. hehehe so funny - such a designer!

  4. Oh this is great! I must say, the white court shoes caught my eye.... having had a a similar pair myself! My kids still play with my favourite 80's sarong in their dress ups box!!
    OK, I really must get some of my 80's photos from Mum and do my own 80's challenge! Thanks Thea & Jodie! :)

  5. She's done it again!! another brilliant blog!!! he he..!! and I can SO relate to the whole thing of ur mum sewing ur clothes for u.. I was born in 84 and my mother sewed all MY clothes for me, so although they were made and worn in the 90's, we wore a fair bit of 80's fashion.. This was of course back in the good old days where it was feasible to sew ur own clothes. Back in the day when clothes were a lot more expensive... (I must sound old saying that...) Thanx for the trip down memory lane oh pretty lady!!!! xxxx


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