Monday, November 15, 2010

Reliving the 80s

The 80s were cheesy in many ways, but you had to appreciate the simplicity of the fashion. Pretty much clear through that decade you could do Big Everything, or you could do Vintage Everything (with big hair.)

I personally preferred vintage - this was a time when older people were shedding 50s party dresses and giant twirly skirts to charity shops that sold them for a buck or two apiece, which even the teenaged me could afford - and when I wasn't taking in the seams on a dress I was sewing up vintage patterns I found in the same shops. I have particularly vivid memories of the way dart construction set a 60s blouse apart from the 50s equivalent.

(incidentally, both versions were seriously high in the armpits. I honestly don't know how people moved around back in the day - what price long-waistedness, to the max.)

It was in the 80s that I learned to knit, too, and while I eyed vintage knitting patterns I'd learned my lesson from the armpit experience and focused on the other end of the current fashion spectrum. By which I mean big shapeless sweaters you didn't need to knit a gauge swatch for. Yay!

So you can imagine how intrigued I was when Vogue started putting out books like this one...

...books that promised to take those vintage patterns and update them for contemporary use. Made for me. Except, you know, for being priced out of the reach of a girl working two jobs to pay off her student loans, which is why it was particularly fun to have this very book come into my possession along with the destashed yarn I mentioned last week.

After all these years, I still love love love the vintage look:

and was therefore bewildered by the 80s update of same:

Shall we have that again? Before:

... and after:

Yes. I am shaking my head. The updated versions lost all the punch, which is not so much what I remember about 10 years that produced giant pants and giant shoulder pads and giant hair all designed to allow a girl (and also, Joan Collins) to dominate the visual landscape. I guess there was a season or two of a more relaxed, natural look that I either missed entirely or found forgettable.

There was a punch moment, though. Look!

Yep, that's Andie McDowell, who I'd forgotten modeled for Vogue before she started into movies. It was pleasantly nostalgic to keep running into Four Weddings And A Funeral-esque pictures of her throughout the book, though I don't know why it surprised me to see her. Her picture is, after all, on the back cover.

Think this sort of thing is what started me off on the hat obsession?

1 comment:

Kathleen Taylor said...

I am seriously liking that leafy-stranded sweater. Some of the 80's preferences work for me. I've always favored loose and shapeless when it comes to sweaters (though ruffles, lacy fingerless gloves, and fedoras- not so much). The original model on the leaf sweater looks familiar too- Christy Turlington maybe?

I'm particularly fond of Groundhog Day Andie McDowell...