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Back To The Future: Eighties Nightmare Returns

Back To The Future: Eighties Nightmare Returns

The styles strutting down fashion catwalks this season suggest the answer is "yes". The ubiquitous eighties insanity has ravaged the fashion world, again. Gag me with a spoon!

Leg warmers paired with stiletto heels? What am I saying - leg warmers period?

Slouch boots? Teased hair? Oh, and let's not forget the iridescent blue eye shadow and frosted lipstick. Yes, they've all risen from their all-too-shallow graves and are packing a punch in 21st century trends. Don't as me why, because I don't know. All I can do is shake my head and protest that it's hip to be square.

Let's briefly review and you can decide whether or not you'd like to join the new retro crowd. I propose we get the absolute disasters out of the way first.

It seems that ruffled mini skirts have found their way back into fashion, except they've shrunk. I remember wearing those when I was ten. Call me nostalgic about some things, but certainly not that garish number. And then there's that issue of the leg-warmer. In my view, these knitting mishaps are acceptable only if you're figure-skating, and even then, they're questionable. If your legs are cold, put on a pair of bloody pants!

I can only pray that acid-washed jeans (and colored jeans in general) never see the light of day again. I'm still trying to forget that nasty episode of bubblgum jeans.

Black and white pairings are big again, but let's just hope we're spared the agony of neon, spandex and ultra-tacky brooches!

Now, even I must admit that certain localized 80s elements may be safely extracted from the otherwise tacky decade and inserted tastefully into contemporary fashion. For example, the wide belt is a smart addition to new millennium fashion. It's all about balance, though: a flashy, funky belt is clever only when accessorizing a relatively simple skirt, pant or dress. A snazzy belt is a great way to dress up a pair of sexy jeans and shows that you really know how to accessorize. Pull it together with a coordinating shoe or boot to complete the look.

I can't say enough about the bold new colors, patterns and heels that are emerging this season. Designers are really having a lot of fun with accessories, so take the plunge and invest in at least one quality bag, boot and belt trio that will carry you through countless outfits.

Another brief moment of 80s greatness can be found in the fishnet stocking, which is officially leading the way in the hosiery revival. This naughty accessory is actually a double retro, as fishnets were also all the rage in the 1960s, and have long been associated with cabaret dancers, ladies of the night, and punk rockers.

In their newest incarnation, fishnets have been pronounced chic by designers and have been making splashes all over runways this season. Designers are playing with scale and playing with a range of mesh sizes. The nets are widely available in classic black as well as many updated options including cocoa, white, nude, and even red!

Update work attire with more conservative neutral colors. Some fashionistas are even layering fishnets over brightly colored hosiery; not my thing, but give it a try if it interests you. A general rule: if you snag 'em, bag 'em. Holes and runs in hosiery (especially fishnets) are never cool. Never.

Off-the-shoulder shirts and sweaters will always be hot. A pair of comfy jeans paired with a knit sweater that reveals a peek of bare shoulder emits the message that you're sexy, especially when you're not trying.

Bohemian-style floral print shirts and skirts are another casually sexy look that are making a comeback - separately, of course. This look is also a double deja vu, hailing previously from the 1960s and 70s. The object here is not to look psychedelic, though, so don't' overdo it: Pair a flowing feminine peasant blouse with a solid pair of slacks or skirt. Likewise, a floral skirt should go with a solid top.

The denim jacket is a trendy casual fall item that looks great with a chunky scarf and an otherwise non-denim outfit, such as a tweed skirt with flat-heeled suede leather boots. Yes, it's from the 80s, but the jean jacket is a great way to dress something down.

I can only pray that acid-washed jeans (and colored jeans in general) never see the light of day again. I'm still trying to forget that nasty episode of bubblegum jeans.

The upside to this fashion exercise in regurgitation is that the eighties were recent enough that local thrift stores are stacked to the gills with eighties-wear. If you insist on returning to the crazy 80s, dig out your old Madonna tapes and have fun. I on the other hand will extract what I like and wait it out.

Back To The Future: Eighties Nightmare Returns

Back To The Future: Eighties Nightmare Returns

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