Fashion-wise, the '80s are back. Again. Having lived some solid pre-teen and teenage years in the decade, I can say: I loved the '80s. But their (constant) return makes me a little sad.

New York Times writer Guy Trebay talks to Laura Wills, proprietor of vintage store Screaming Mimi's (Cyndi Lauper used to work there). Wills says: "People embrace things so quickly… They move on so fast that they constantly need new references. Around the store we laugh and say, ‘Didn't we already do the '80s? Didn't we have that neon moment five years ago?'"


The answer of course, is yes. And I remember the neon socks I wore in 7th grade so vividly! Plus: My obsession with Swatch watches, rubber bracelets, rhinestone necklaces and plastic skeleton earrings. I liked polka-dot shirts and giant socks by E.G. Smith. And the girls at my school were all decked out in Benetton or NafNaf. Remember Fido Dido? And the leggings! Oh, the leggings. Fashion seemed fun back then: Animal prints, faux-fur, poufy skirts, big shoulders — there was whimsy in getting dressed, and self-expression at work.

And let's face it: A lot of good shit came out of the '80s. Trebay notes:

… the latest fashion cycle an opportunity for a new crop of designers to find in that dubious decade a mother lode of irony ready to be mined. "Dallas," Cabbage Patch Kids, "The Cosby Show" and Princess Diana (whose style Germaine Greer likened last year to that of a TV anchorwoman, but with dreadful and "inevitable" hats) all made their debut in the '80s. So, in an indelible pop-cultural sense, did Brooke Shields, in her "nothing comes between me and my Calvins" phase.


Not to mention: Michael Jackson's "Thriller." Ms. Willis swears that this fall, a studded jacket is "all anybody's going to be looking for."

Of course, the '80s wasn't all brights and happiness. There were the rebels, the edgy activists, the artists, the Guerrilla Girls, Leigh Bowery, Boy George.

But while it does stir up fond memories to see Urban Outfitters serve up striped tees and leopard minis, there's something tragic about going back to the well again and again. It's like a former high school football star who can't stop reliving the homecoming game. Did we peak in the '80s? Are we clinging to the era like a security blanket, coddled by its warmth but afraid to move forward and leave the jelly shoes and the Dirty Dancing plotlines behind? I'd like to hope not. I'm saying this as a person who knows every single word of dialogue in Desperately Seeking Susan: We need to let go of the '80s. There are so many other fashion ideas to explore. Like the here and now! Or the future! Or Mad Men's early '60s.


Right Round, Baby [NY Times]

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