So the movie “Rock of Ages” opens today. Here’s the trailer:
It’s a rock opera/musical kinda thang, adapted from the Broadway production by the director of Hairspray.
It is now time to take a stroll down memory lane, and drag out our jelly bracelets, hair spray, Flashdance tops, leg warmers, and Duran Duran pins.
C’mon. You know you want to. And you know you want me to admit that I, like, totally dressed like that.
Ah, the 80s. Big hair, big music, big dreams. At the risk of making you all gasp in horror at my Methuselah-like age, I spent the 80s in high school and college. I thus know a bit about that decade and the often atrociously bad outfits and hairstyles that accompanied it. I can say that because yes, I partook. And I will proudly own it, proudly own the goofy, kitschy stuff I wore and the angst-ridden bad New Wave I danced to. Remember this guy? That’s Mike Score from the band A Flock of Seagulls. I tried to cultivate that kind of hair and did get voted “coolest hair” when I was a junior in high school. Bless all our hearts. WTF did we know? It was the height of the 80s.
I also pegged my regular and acid-wash jeans and wore thrift store trench coats and men’s black blazers with lots of band pins on the lapels. Which bands, you ask? Duran Duran, Culture Club, Depeche Mode, Big Country, Sex Pistols, Echo and the Bunnymen, Simple Minds, New Order, Siouxsie and the Banshees. Among others. Oh, and yes, I owned and wore a pair of “elf boots” and lots of jelly bracelets:
source: The Find
My music fanatic self emerged in high school (and remains to this day), and fortunately for me (in terms of all the available fashion in the 80s), I got into a lot of music out of the UK and Europe, including punk and goth. I spent hours haunting import bins at the record store on The Hill in Boulder, Colorado and still have some seriously awesome stuff on vinyl. Because I discovered this music, I stopped wearing those elf boots and Culture Club shirts and suspenders and instead developed a penchant for Dr. Martens, beat-up jeans, and plain button-down shirts or tees with obscure band names. Kind of a hybrid between punk and new wave without too much fanfare.
I still own and wear Dr. Martens and to this day, I still think pegged jeans look super awesome with a pair of basic black Docs. I’d mix it up, too, and wear my red or black hi-top Converse. Classic looks, both, and I sport both still. I guess I never grew out of the timeless styles of “Mo” and “Lois” in early Dykes to Watch Out For (Alison Bechdel, you are a goddess among women). You can take the girl out of the 80s, but you can’t take the 80s out of the girl.
And, look! The 80s are back among us. People born either in the 80s or 90s seem to be resurrecting some aspects of the clothing and hair. Here are some sites to help you either re-live OR live those days, depending on your age.
Like Totally 80s (fashion, music, pop culture)
The Great 80s, with cringe-worthy photos of the “fashion.” Egads. Members Only jackets. Stop before someone gets hurt.
Top 10 80s fashion trends. You, too, can look like a linebacker with those enhanced shoulder-pad shirts and blazers.
80s music vids. Bitchin’. I can tell you exactly where I was when MTV debuted August 1, 1981. The first video they played was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles. Let’s give a shout-out to Pat Benatar, because “You Better Run” was the second video. Shout-out to Rod Stewart. He was third.
Access Hollywood’s stars in the 80s. Grab your Wayfarers.
New Wave mullets. The 80s needed a hair intervention.
Relive the 80s. Punk and New Wave.
And watch some movies. My suggestions (anything John Hughes, basically): Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club (freaking CLASSIC), Pretty in Pink, Goonies (one of my all-time FAVES), Back to the Future, Road Warrior, War Games, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (hello. Tina Turner.), Purple Rain.
There are many, many others. But if you want to catch some of the 80s ethos, start there.
Back to hair. Don’t forget the big hair metal, as exhibited by bands like Poison, White Snake, Twisted Sister, Ratt, Def Leppard (yes, I listened to these, as well). Guns n’ Roses were a great power band in the 80s, too. Here. A list of 25 hair metal bands to keep you rockin’ in the free world.
Oh, my. This is quite a jog down memory lane. The 80s are part of collective pop culture history, now, so there you go. A primer into my sordid past. And the pasts of everybody else my age who is right now looking through high school yearbooks and shoeboxes of photos and realizing that Omigod our hair really was that nuts.
Happy Friday, all!