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The other day my friend and I were watching an old television show from the eighties and were horrified by some of the hairdos and fashions worn by the actresses. This got us into a general discussion about fashion and it often appears in retrospect to be absolutely hideous. We made a list of all the different fashion trends through the years that would have been far better left only in someone's mind. We started with the eighties.
Huge shoulder pads: Let's face it, everyone looked like a football linebacker in drag. They didn't seem too pad at the time, but when you look at them now they seem ridiculous. For some reason, the shoulder pads of the 40's don't seem so pad, and it baffled us as to why. We finally decided that it was because of the cut of the clothes and the hair.
80's hair: Lord help us all, 80's hairdos redefined the definition of ugly. Big hair, frizzy perms, and claw bangs. Claw bangs were the worst. They stuck out from womens' foreheads like the terrifying teeth of that fake shark in jaws. Unbelievably, I still see women now and then sporting claw bangs and I am always amazed. I guess some people have trouble giving up on a bad idea no matter how frightening.
Bell Bottom pants: I won't lie to you, I wore them just like everyone else. I had a pair of bright orange hip-hugger bell bottoms that I thought were the bomb when I was 14. Thinking they were wonderful didn't make them any more attractive, however. Bell bottoms had a minor resurrection a few years ago but thankfully, it didn't last long. Fashion may be cyclic, but there are some cycles that definitely should be cut off at the pass before they can go full circle and bell bottoms are one of them.
Blouses with big ruffles: Almost no one looks good in giant ruffles. Big, tall women can pull it off better than petite women can, but no matter how big you are you still end up looking sort of clownish. Small ruffles are okay. Even Ben Franklin looked good in those.
Leisure suits: Honestly, I never liked them. When you watch an old movie or TV show with men in leisure suits, they look absurd, especially if they are made from a particular kind of polyester too ugly to be believed. The only thing worse than leisure suits is leisure suits with white shoes.
Giant platform shoes: Yes, I realize that they are popular again, but they didn't seem to come back any more attractive than ever were. It is even worse now that the average woman has a bigger foot than the first time around. Platform shoes always remind me of those silly shoes that Japanese Geisha wear that force them to walk with tiny little steps as if they had a physical infirmity. Not that anyone does that in platform shoes – mostly they just clump around like Frankenstein's monster dressed for Las Vegas.
Unformed tailoring: Another gem from the 80's. Men and women both wore jackets that hung loosely like a potato sack and had no shape and therefore, no grace. They were about as stylish as cutting a hole in a green garbage bag and just pulling it over your head.
Shiny spandex leggings: It isn't that spandex leggings are so bad, I have some that I wear under tunics or dresses. It's when you make them all shiny that they take a turn to the dark side. Even football players look silly in shiny spandex, in fact, macho football players in shiny spandex pants is a little disturbing if you think about it.
Sequins: It's not that I object to sequins on principal; some sequined evening and cocktail dresses can be very pretty. My problem with sequins is when they are stuck on everything, regardless of incongruity. For awhile there you couldn't buy a sweater or a shirt that didn't have sequins on it. There were sequins on t-shirts, sweatshirts, bathing suits, handbags, and underwear. There were sequins on sneakers, flip-flops, slippers, and boots. Everything had sequins and unless you happened to be a relative of Liberace, your look started to tend towards tacky. It's a question of knowing what works where. Think of it this way, while there is nothing whatsoever wrong with a child's Sesame Street plastic sip cup, would you really want to drink an excellent 1929 Merlot out of it? It would just be so, so wrong.
We have all been slaves to hideous fashion at one time or another in our lives and we wear that fashion like shackles even when we know we shouldn't. Sadly, even shackles would look more attractive then some of the things I've worn.
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