Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

November 5, 2012

Tidbits: It's 1985 all over again

By Heather Mullinix
Assistant editor

CROSSVILLE — I've just identified where I can make a significant dent in my budget — my clothing costs.

A recent trip to the store made me wonder if I had stumbled into a phone booth or a flying Delorian and dialed up the 1980s, with the return of shoulder pads, skinny jeans in a rainbow of colors and sequins to the fashion scene. You'll also find oversized sweaters matched with leggings beyond the neutral shades of recent years, and even leg warmers are back. Thanks to the "Dallas" revival this past summer, power shoulders are back in force with the new (old) trends.

Fashion, like many other things, tends to cycle through trends. I recall my parents looking in horror at the return of their 1960s-style bellbottoms many years ago. They didn't understand why anyone would want to revive that trend. And the '80s fashion revival makes sense when you look at all the remakes, reboots and reshoots of '80s movies and TV shows. Did you know there's a remake of the TV series "Beauty and the Beast" on the air this fall? We've already had the Footloose, A-Team and 21 Jump Street remakes. And, of course, "Dallas" took cable by storm this summer, bringing the Ewing family back to the top of television.

My main issue with much of '80s styling is that it's not exactly flattering. Take the skinny jean, for example. It's really hard to wear this style without drawing attention to the hip and thigh area that many women would prefer to camouflage. Usually, these styles are high waisted (um, no) and then taper from the hip down to the ankle. The boot-cut jean was a godsend. It provided visual balance, evening out a heavier top and balancing those girlish, curvy figures. I actually own a pair of skinny jeans. They aren't true skinny jeans as they're cut with a little room to them, and I can pull off the look with a sweater and some tall boots — the only good thing to be recycled from the '80s.

Of course, the long sweaters and leggings can provide body camouflage, but then you feel like you're walking around in a tent with no shape whatsoever.

Shoulder pads can help narrow shoulders appear wider and make a waist and hips appear more narrow by comparison, but don't get too carried away. We all remember the women of "Dynasty," and they sometimes looked like they were ready to take the field with professional football players.

Then there's the razzle dazzle of sequins. How many of you still have a Bedazzler? Turns out that tool for adorning your clothing and accessories with sparkly baubles never went away. I need to check with my mom. She's probably got ours tucked away in the basement somewhere.

When dealing with sequins and sparkles, though, remember less really is more. You don't want to look like you're auditioning for a remake of just about any 1980s country music video.

Mini skirts got shorter and shorter, to the point even Madonna would blush. Well, OK. She wouldn't, but her mother would. Then there were the earrings that were huge and heavy. I can't even stand to wear small stud earrings because they are bothersome. Don't expect to see me sporting big hoops anytime in the near future.

And then there were leg warmers because, I guess, people had cold legs. But that was sometimes paired with fingerless gloves. Were their hands not cold, too? I don't understand the point of fingerless gloves.

As those of us who lived through the '80s once before cringe, you know the kids will be clamoring to get their hands on these updated styles and berating you for not keeping some of these fashion monstrosities so they could have something authentically vintage. Don't worry. One day they'll look back, as we all have, and shake their heads that they ever thought a jelly shoe was cool.

Until then, grin and bear it as best you can. But I'm drawing a line in the sand. I will not, ever, return to the mile-high bangs. Other than that, I suppose I can muddle through and hang on until the next trend wave hits.

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Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at