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Archive for the ‘Fashion’ Category

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Great Costume Choices from the 80s

Posted by Big Boo on March 6th, 2014

i-love-the-80sIf you are looking for the perfect 80s fancy dress costume, think “excess”. The 80s were the decade for over-the-top fashion, music and design. From thick mascara and heavy makeup to excessive jewelry, chains, mullets and punk rock fashion, this was the decade for over-indulgence and extremes both in terms of music and fashion.

A popular 80s costume can certainly include a tribute to the music scene of the time. Popstar fashion, such as Michael Jackson’s military style jacket, red Thriller jacket or the classic Billy Jean ensemble will bring an immediate retro look to your 80s costume. Other popstar costumes to consider include costumes recreating the looks of top popstars of the decade. From Madonna to White Snake, Blondie and U2, their unique styles are now popular retro looks.

Punk and new wave were other distinctive sounds and looks of the decade. Punk fashion was as unique as the music and you might want to consider the fact that many people who were into the punk lifestyle used clothing to make a statement. Choosing an authentic retro punk costume is easy. Typical punk fashion included motorcycle or combat boots, jeans that were often torn, bleached or distressed, heavy chains, leather skirts, leather jackets, studded leather bands and t-shirts of punk bands or with political statements.

With new wave 80s fashion costumes, the mix of punk, glam rock and mod culture are all rolled into one. Experimental new wave music used synthesizers, fast tempos, electronic productions and a great deal of diversity and this same diversity is epitomized in the new wave fashion of the 80s. Tailored clothing, skinny ties and guys in makeup were all part of the fashion scene.

Of course, there was a lot more going on the in 80s than just the changing music scene. Excellent costume choices to depict this decade include a Ronald Reagan costume, Karate Kid, Smurfs, Ghost Busters, Magnum P.I., Bluto from Animal House and many characters from other popular movies and television programs of the times.

Whether you want to dress as the iconic Madonna Virgin, Cyndi Laupner, the Golden Girls or an iconic 80s item, such as a Rubik’s Cube, choosing something to represent this decade can be fun and entertaining. Even if you aren’t considering a costume from the music scene, a classic 80s mullet can be used with a wide range of costume choices for an authentic retro 80s look.

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Posted by Big Boo on November 18th, 2011

jumpsuitDuring the late Seventies and early Eighties the jump suit was a popular item of fashion clothing, though I personally have to wonder why. I guess some bright spark fashion designer must have been sat in a garage waiting for their car to be MOTed when they caught site of one of the mechanics, and inspiration suddenly hit them.

The phrase jumpsuit was first used to describe the one piece overall worn by skydivers and parachutists, but over the years it has become the term used to describe any item of clothing which has a one piece design for covering both arms and legs. They normally, though not exclusively, fasten up at the front of the body.

Whilst jumpsuits are worn by pilots and racing car drivers for safety reasons, the popularity of them as an item of clothing for every day wear can most likely be attributed to pop stars, starting back in the Fifties and Sixties with Elvis Presley of course, but other notable wearers of these clothes in the 1980’s include Freddie Mercury and Suzi Quatro.

It appears the popularity of the Jumpsuit was on the rise again earlier this year, and indeed many of the fashion websites are, at the time of writing this, still selling jumpsuits of various designs, including one off shoot known as the Playsuit. As far as I can tell this is a jump suit with the legs cut off. Fine, if you like that sort of thing, but I do think they could have come up with a better name for them. I can’t help feeling that Playsuit sounds distinctly seedy…

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Slap Bracelets

Posted by Big Boo on August 17th, 2011

Slap BraceletsWe human beings are a funny bunch. Everyone likes to think they are unique and have their own mind, yet at the same time there’s nothing we like more than being part of a group, which explains why so many people end up getting caught up in the rage for the latest must-have fad item.

One such fad fashion accessory popular in the late Eighties was the Slap Bracelet (also sometimes known as Snap Bracelet), which became a craze that both girls and boys got caught up in, though for possibly different reasons.

The Slap Bracelet consisted of a piece of springy metal wrapped in fabric. It could be straightened out into a long thin rectangle, and then wrapped around the wrist (or any other item for that matter) simply by flicking it sharply at it. On contact the springs would coil the bracelet around your wrist, making it fit perfectly.

For girls the Slap Bracelet was seen as a cool new fashion item. It was available in many different colours and designs, and most importantly was cheap, so you could have a whole collection of them to co-ordinate with your wardrobe.

For boys however the appeal was probably more in the snappy action of the bracelet. Boys being boys, the act of performing the slapping action tended to get a bit over zealous, and so it wasn’t long before schools across the land started banning the Slap Bracelet. I don’t know if anybody was ever badly injured by one of them (I wouldn’t have thought so) but I’m sure there were more than a few instances of slightly smarting arms, wrists and other bodily parts.

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Posted by Big Boo on July 11th, 2011

C&AI have very vivid memories of the dreaded clothes shopping trip when I was growing up. If either my sister or myself needed new clothes for any reason (e.g. new school uniform, grown out of old clothes, needed something for a special occasion) then the shops in our local town were usually next to useless, so the weekend meant a trip to the next biggest town about 15 miles away.

I think we loved and hated those trips in equal measure. Of course there were the good shops (i.e. toy shops and for me, computer game shops) that we got to look around as well, but the biggest part of the trip was going round the various clothes shops, which at that time usually included a visit to C&A.

C&A was a huge shop selling clothes for every possible member of the family, from babies through to grandparents, so it always seemed an extra long trawl as you had to negotiate the racks and racks of women’s clothes, up the escalator to get to the children’s clothes.

Then we’d try to find something both ourselves and our parents liked, and which the shop also had in the correct size, then go and try them on (hopefully in the changing rooms, though there was the odd indignity of having to try something on in the shop itself) before then taking the items to the till to pay and have the giant security discs removed.

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Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Moon Boots

Posted by Big Boo on July 1st, 2011

Moon BootsLooking at a pair of classic design Moon Boots, it is immediately obvious how the name was chosen, as they look just like something an astronaut might wear. It’s hard to think of any other name that would suit them better.

Moon Boots were first created by Italian company Tecnica in the early Seventies, but it wasn’t until the Eighties that they really took the fashion world by storm.

They were originally designed as a highly practical shoe for use in snowy conditions, as they are waterproof, warm, and easy to slip on and off. Unlike most shoes they don’t come as a traditional left and right pair. Either boot can go on either foot.

The boots have a rubber sole made in two parts, a thin rubber outer layer, and a thicker cellular layer to cushion the feet. The shoe itself is often made from a polyester material, giving the boots that spacesuit like quality, but suede and fake furry versions are also available, though these tend to look more like a normal boot.

Laces cover the top of the foot before criss-crossing round the back of the leg to be tied up at the front near the top of the boot, which helps to keep the boots on when trudging about in thick snow.

The Moon Boot logo, written in a style that wouldn’t be out of place on Space 1999, adorns the side of the boot, so you can easily tell a proper pair from an imitation.

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Posted by Big Boo on May 11th, 2011

SweatbandsThe Eighties was great for many reasons, but it also had its fair share of less than admirable moments, and many of those are related to what we might now call questionable fashion ideas.

One such fashion statement was the craze for wearing Terry Towelling sports socks (in either standard white or a range of neon colours) as every day socks, which is something I’ve covered here before.

Another piece of Terry Towelling apparel that became popular was the sweatband. Sportsmen and women wore them (particularly tennis players as I recall) as they served a useful purpose, but for some reason they suddenly became the in-thing to wear normally.

Whilst some went the whole hog and wore a head sweatband, most toned it down a bit and went for one of the wrist ones, which quite often had the name of a football team too.

I’m not quite sure why these became so popular, but my best guess is because of Dire Straits’ Mark Knopfler, who famously wore a rather illuminated neon one in the video for Money for Nothing (in fact that was all you could see, as his face was blacked out in the video).

I wonder how long it will take for this particular fashion to resurge? I’m guessing it might be a while, but who knows?

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Velcro Fastening Trainers

Posted by Big Boo on March 18th, 2011

Velcro TrainersVelcro has to be one of the most useful inventions of the 20th century. It can be used to fasten together all kinds of things, including clothing, bags, wallets and just about anything that requires two things that need to be repeatedly joined and un-joined. Perhaps most surprising though is that whilst I personally think of it as being a fairly recent invention, it was actually invented in 1941!

I’m not sure if they first appeared in the Eighties or perhaps earlier, but I distinctly remember trainers appearing that were fastened by Velcro and immediately on seeing them I wanted a pair. After all, who wanted to mess about with laces, which kept coming undone, when you could slip on your trainers and have them fastened in seconds?

Eventually I got a pair, once we had managed to locate a pair that were reasonably priced as most of the initial versions were made by the big names in trainers and so had price tags which my Mum wasn’t prepared to pay (and to be honest I can’t say I blame her either).

I forget which manufacturer made my pair of trainers (they were probably unbranded ones to be honest, a sort of shoe shops own brand) but I did love them dearly. They were dark blue in colour and the Velcro fastener consisted of a U shaped strap which was fed through two oblong metal rivets. You just needed to pop in your foot, pull over the strap and push it down and you were done. Brilliantly simple!

Whilst Velcro trainers are still available today (as are Velcro fastening shoes for that matter) you don’t tend to see them about quite as much these days for adults, though for kids they are still very popular given that young children can find tying laces pretty tricky.

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Dr. Martens Boots

Posted by Big Boo on November 19th, 2010

dr martens bootDr. Martens boots were the footwear of choice for a number of different groups of people during the late Seventies and most of the Eighties. Skinheads, Punks and Goths all found Dr. Martens appealing, not just because of their looks but also, though they might not admit it, the comfort of the boots.

I wonder how appealing they would have found them had they known a little more about their history though?

Dr. Marten was actually a real doctor believe it or not! Klaus Märtens was a doctor in the German army during World War II. Whilst on leave he was enjoying a spot of skiing when he fell and hurt is ankle. He found his standard issue army boots very uncomfortable with his injury, and set about making a few changes to the boots design in an effort to ease his aching feet a little. Softer leather was one change, and another was to add an air-cushioned sole.

After the war Märtens decided to go into business manufacturing his new boot design, and they proved highly successful, albeit with housewives over the age of 40! The company did well, and in 1960 the boots arrived in the UK, when British show manufacturer R. Griggs licensed the rights to make the boots for the British market. They made a few tweaks, such as reshaping the heel and changing the stitching colour to yellow, and they also named the soles AirWair, a name which became synonymous with the Dr. Martens brand.

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