Back To The 80s

During the summer I received an invite from my friend Tracy inviting my husband and I to her 50th birthday party.  It was to be a “Back to the 80s” fancy dress party, to boot.  Normally, I’m not a big fan of dressing up but it sounded really fun to relive memories of being a teenager in the 1980s.  In 1981, I was 16 and pretty shy but by 1984 I had embraced the 1980s with fervour – I loved the big hair, the bright colours and the sexiness of the decade – and then by 1988, I swapped my blonde spiky big hair for a brunette perm and shiny tracksuits … (that part was a blip!) Make up was just as bright – and plenty of black eyeliner!  I needed to get some ideas on what to wear for the party. First of all I looked at Amazon – the fancy dress outfits were mainly leg warmers, leotards and from the Flashdance film era; with a splattering of early Madonna outfits. They were very nice but wasn’t what I had once worn, so I decided to look back at some old photos to see if I could recreate my old looks.

1981 – My old bus pass aged 16!  I was wearing a long black leather coat (my first purchase with my first wage packet!) and a black & gold glitter jumper.

1982 –  I used to wear a lot of red and matched my outfits with red lipstick, red earrings, red handbag & red shoes! My hair was in the style of Lady Diana.

1984 –  This was me aged 19 on a night out.  The shirt was one of my favourites.  I was wearing a faux black leather pencil knee length  skirt.

1989 – perm!  I kept this style until 1997 when I then had my hair cut short.

I remembered I used to love the strapless peplum dresses on a night out; my denim jacket used to take pride of place alongside my leather jacket; and if I was going to the local disco – my shiny black satin tight trousers with a yellow lace body and a yellow & black kimono style shirt; a winter’s date in the pub – fuchsia pink knitted dress with fishnets and high leg boots; or a rib knit purple maxi skirt with matching cardigan teamed with a fuchsia pink satin blouse…. 

In my wardrobe, I found my original denim jacket and a black string vest …. 


Looking in my Bon Prix catalogue, I realised that a lot of the 1980s style were making a comeback – I found white slouchy boots, sling back shoes…

I found stirrup pants (used to be known then as ski pants); jeans with piping down the sides (I used to have a khaki pair with red piping); fishnets (haven’t really faded from the fashion scene); tight satin disco trousers and black faux leather skirts. 

It was harder to recreate the make up but, not impossible.  Having a pale matt foundation was no problem but I had to forego the subtle contouring or hint of blush that I favour today – in the 1980s blush was loud and proud!  In 2017 I like a pale or nude lip gloss; me in 1984 favoured red or burgundy – it was really strange to wear such a bright colour.  Even more embarrassing was that I found at the bottom of my make up drawer my original Charlie red lipstick….

When it came to my husband – he said he used to wear a rock band t shirt and jeans… not much different to today’s attire.  He decided to join in the fun and become an iconic favourite of his in the 1980s – Axl Rose of Guns n Roses.  He managed to get hold of a kilt, wig and bandana from Amazon.

In the end I got my outfit: blonde rockers wig (from Amazon); denim jacket; 80s red/black/white strapless satin dress from Envy Boutique; black fishnet faux stockings; black slingback shoes from Bon Prix.

The party was a big success… there were Baywatch star lookalikes, early Madonnas, Flashdancers, and even Slash from Guns n Roses too. We drank pimped up prosecco but I somehow thought babycham would have been great if it was still around…. then guess what I found on my supermarket shelf the other day….

What would you wear to an 80s party?  Can you remember any favourite outfits from that era? Do share your stories … 

Linda x

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All photographs are by Linda Hobden 

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22 thoughts on “Back To The 80s”

    1. Glad you loved my post Jess! I think of my perm era as being the 1990s era – my hair is naturally wavy so the perm was always pretty tight, although my hair was really long and curly in 1991 when my eldest son was born ..!! 🙂

    1. I love all the music from 1978 -1989 – rock, punk, pop, disco, soul, reggae, electro… all equally have a place in my heart 🙂

    1. Yes, the lipstick really is a lovely bright red – it’s long lasting too! Wearing such a bright colour felt really strange as my “go to” lip colours nowadays are paler 🙂

    1. It was an improvement on the tank top and flares era of the 70s – I can remember wearing lots of mustard yellows and browns too so the bright colours of the 80s were certainly a contrast! At least you can experience some of the 80s frivolity in the latest trends hitting the shops today! 🙂

  1. Yeah I’ve seen a few 80s comebacks recently too – leggings almost came back but I haven’t seen them as much lately – although I can’t claim to be much of a teen fashion aficionado. 🙂

    1. Basic leggings are still more or less a wardrobe staple – the tight disco lurex leggings of the 1970s/80s haven’t really come back – I always think of Olivia Newton John in Grease wearing those tight black leggings in the final scene singing “You’re The One That I Want”… 🙂

  2. What a great post, Linda. I can’t believe you still had some pieces of clothing from the 80’s. I love all your ‘looks’ and you are still so adorable. Looks like it was a fun party!

    1. It was a fun party, Molly 🙂 I didn’t realise how much of a hoarder I was until I spotted the mesh vest in the back of my wardrobe!

  3. You went as Cyndi Lauper! She was my 80’s heroine. I wore weird outfits back then, including a kimono with my hair done up in a big bun on top of my head. Legwarmers, shoulder pads (what work outfit came without them?) and fingerless gloves—which I still do a version of today. How else can you type while it’s cold outside? But I never did neon.

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