Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I Don't Love the 80’s

On Monday, August 7th, trend analyst Kelly Smith and I went out to Crocker Park for my birthday. The visit had a dual purpose since she will be leaving to return to school in NYC and we wanted to do a fall preview column in our September newsletter.

I am not a huge trend watcher, so I’m thankful that Kelly has her finger on the pulse of what’s new and hip in the fashion world. And because the fashion world is constantly recycling old styles, we never know what we’re going to get each season.

Imagine my dismay when I learned that the 80’s were back. Yes, the 1980’s – the decade of Flashdance, Working Girl and the Brat Pack. I thought I was going to die when I saw what the stores were offering. We saw everything from bubble skirts to belted sweater dresses with leggings, super skinny jeans, bold black and white, black and purple, and black and red horizontal stripe tunics – which are wrong in so many ways. I mean, wasn’t Freddy Krueger around in the 80’s? And didn’t he wear a red & black horizontal stripe sweater? Who in their right mind wants to look like that??!!

We also saw a plethora of dolman sleeves, very wide belts, vests with ruffled shirts a la Janet Jackson in 1986, high-waisted skirts, and clutch purses. Layering is still really big. There is also a lot more gray out there than I have seen in years.

What does this all mean?

Kelly thought a lot of the 80’s inspired outfits were cute. And some of them were. But, as I explained to her, there is a reason those styles did not catch on and stay in style and become classics. It is because they do not flatter most bodies. Try putting a big thick belt on a short-waisted woman. Or a sweater dress on someone who has a few pounds to lose. How about a horizontal-striped top on a woman who is topheavy?

Unfortunately, most people are oblivious to their own unique body shape. I warned Kel that the fashion victims would truly be victims this fall. There is a lot that can be done wrong with the season’s clothes. And wouldn’t you know, I was at Beachwood Place the next day when I saw one of those fashion nightmares.

A young woman, probably in her early 20’s was dressed like the 80’s. And I’m sure she thought she looked super cute and on the edge of fashion. Unfortunately, she was about 5’0, very fair skinned, and wearing a black and white horizontal-striped tunic with a wide belt over leggings with flats.

Nothing about this outfit was right for the person wearing it. From the colors and contrast that completely overpowered her to the horizontal stripes that made her look shorter and wider to the belt that created rolls of flab where there probably weren’t any to begin with.

So, yes, the 80’s are back, but I will be warning every trend-conscious woman out there to pick and choose their pieces even more carefully than usual. I am predicting this look will not last beyond winter. Thankfully.

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