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What's the ultimate 80s fashion piece?



Membersonly Whenever I mention I write a blog about the 80s, usually the first thing out of people's mouthes (other than an obnoxious snort) is something like: "Where's your Member's Only jacket?"


For the record, of course I owned one. A nice maroon knock-off brand version, which I probably wore for one short winter. Thankfully I outgrew it and I'm sure it's sitting in some thrift store to this day.

But let me ask this: Is a Member's Only jacket the definitive piece of 80s fashion? Or is it something else? The Ray-Ban sunglasses maybe? Leg-warmers? That dreaded, sleeveless Union Jack t-shirt made popular by Def Leppard?

Let's break some fashion icons down:

MEMBER'S ONLY JACKET: Possibly the only piece of fashion with a punchline for a name. The snap-collar was the distinguishing feature. Both nylon and leather versions available. (Still allegedly worn by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.)

Risky_business RAY-BAN SUNGLASSES: Give "Risky Business" and Tom Cruise the credit here. Moderately priced then. Expensive as hell now. And still very popular. (Never owned an authentic pair myself.)

OCEAN PACIFIC GEAR: Only a fool said "Ocean Pacific" -- it's just "OP" ... right? I never liked the beach- and surf-theme shirts and shorts. The designs faded fast, and they only looked good on blonde, tanned beachgoers. Still around today? Check it out.

Jane_fonda LEG-WARMERS: Who gets the blame for these? The movies "Fame" and "Flashdance?" Pat Benatar? Jane Fonda? Rumor has it they're sneaking back into the fashion world today. This is NOT my fault.

PARACHUTE PANTS: Whose idea was it to create pants made of nylon and zippers? They were to the 80s what bell-bottoms were to the 70s. I never owned a pair. And since they've been extinct since '89, I never will.

Vans VANS: You can thank Jeff Spicoli and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" for unleashing this brand of casual shoe on the world. The skating world embraced the uniquely patterned shoes, and they're still with us today.

SWATCHES: Watches from Switzerland -- they only look cheap. So many varieties, you could spend a lifetime looking and never see every one. Don't get me started on the "Swatch protectors." And yes, still around today. (Check out a Swatch commercial from the 80s.)

Don't forget: Converse tennis shoes, Frankie Say shirt, rubber bracelets, hair bows, stone-washed jeans, rhinestone gloves, neon shirts.

So what's the ultimate 80s fashion accessory? Which ones did we leave off?

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:28pm]


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