One of the things on my (very long) list of stuff I wanted to buy when I reached my Slimming World target was a good, well-fitting pair of jeans. In the last two weeks, I have bought four pairs, and have my eye on a few more. I had forgotten how comfortable they are when they fit properly.
I did have a couple of pairs of jeans when I was bigger, but they were always uncomfortable. Because of my endless yo-yo dieting they were rarely the right side for me, and even when they were, they would still dig uncomfortably into my middle whenever I was sitting down, which was most of the time. I think this was largely because up until a couple of years ago, jeans were still uniformly low-rise, and so they hit at a really uncomfortable place for me.
The return of high-rise waists suits me a lot better, in terms of both comfort and style (they look more ’80s. Everything is better when it looks more ’80s).
I am now learning about all the different styles you can buy at the moment – skinny, super skinny, slim leg, straight leg, mom jeans, boyfriend jeans, the list goes on. This is an exciting new world! I am not about to let it get to the levels of my shoe obsession, but I am really glad to be done with the phase of my life that involved wearing leggings every single day.
There have been a few periods in my life where I’ve tried to fit in with the prevailing fashions of the day, but in all honesty, I’ve never really succeeded, and when I look at photos of myself during those periods, I always think I look uncomfortable and not quite right. The style of the ’80s has always felt ‘correct’ to me; it gives me a strong sense of ‘these are what clothes SHOULD look like’, and later fashions just look dowdy and unstylish to my eye. I’m not sure whether I just internalised it really strongly when I first came into the world, or whether I’ve just come to love that aesthetic by chance, but thirty years later it’s still what I’m drawn to, and I think I always will be.
So, my history of being an ’80s fashion throwback, then. I don’t think it counts as being a ‘throwback’ when you’re still in the actual ’80s, but that’s where it began, and clearly my toddlerhood was the best dressed era of my life:
I wore so many different (and AWESOME) outfits during this era. I guess most toddlers go through lots of different clothes, due to the whole rapid body growth thing, but looking at pictures it really seems like in my five short years spent in the ’80s I wore more clothes than in the rest of my life put together.
Shame they couldn’t all have grown with me. Especially the moon ‘n’ stars nightdress in the bottom right corner, my favourite nightdress of all time.
The ’90s, meanwhile, were probably my most difficult decade fashion-wise. Due to a combination of hand-me-downs from family friends, thick curly hair that utterly refused to be browbeaten into the poker-straight trend it was supposed to be following, and a stubborn fully-developed taste that meant I was already gravitating towards the styles of the ’80s, I spent the whole decade doing the awkward ‘dated by quite a few years, but not enough to be retro or vintage yet’ look:
Jeans, especially, I found so awkward – I was drawn to high-rise straight-leg styles, but as the decade went on, they became more low-rise and bootcut – that it put me off them for a long time, and nowadays I don’t own any blue jeans at all. When I reach my target weight, I’ll maybe give them another go.
The ’00s were better (not in general fashion terms – I think the trends of the ’00s were the absolute nadir of fashion in my lifetime so far – but for me personally in terms of style). My teen years, 1998-2004, coincided with the first big wave of ’80s nostalgia in pop culture (The Wedding Singer! The BBC’s I Love The ’80s series! The accompanying CD that I got for Christmas in 2001! Bergerac repeats on BBC2 every day while I was on school exam leave! Websites such as Like Totally ’80s starting up! ’00s indie bands aping ’80s indie bands…now I’m nostalgic for a period of nostalgia. I’ll stop there), and so it was then that I first became conscious that I loved the ’80s so much – that the music was better, the films and TV shows were better, the fashion was better. (I also had a brief flirtation with the early ’70s due to my love of glam rock. You can’t beat a pair of silver glitter platform boots.)
2003 was also the year I became goth. Goth is a wonderful subculture for ’80s throwbacks of a certain style, because the look has basically stayed the same since 1978, and all the clubs play lots of post-punk and synthpop. Utter bliss.
Which brings us to the ’10s. The less said about the first half of the decade, the better – I was uncomfortably overweight and spent most of it hiding away in leggings, baggy t-shirts and hoodies – but now that I’ve lost most of the weight, I’m starting to remember how to have fun with fashion again, hence my recent interest in cultivating a vintage ’80s wardrobe.
I know – from reading stuff by people who are into mid-century vintage – that as time goes on, ’80s vintage stuff won’t always be as readily available and affordable as it is at the moment. As such, I’m making the most of it, with the aim of being able to dress in clothes from my favourite decade for the rest of my life. I hope I’ll be lucky and long-lived enough to be eighty or ninety years out of date one day!
I’ve been a lot colder than usual this winter. I’m guessing this is because I’ve lost a lot of weight and so I don’t have that cosy layer of fat keeping me warm anymore. Luckily, my love of vintage clothing fairs came to the rescue, and so in recent months I have become the shamelessly proud owner of a new collection: a collection of vintage ’80s jumpers.
In previous winters, I lived in hoodies. This was the most practical thing at the time, because the various sources of heating in the house, combined with my larger self’s tendency to overheat every time I did any activity that wasn’t sitting down, meant that I was constantly doing the too-hot-too-cold dance and needed something that was easy to throw on and off. This winter, though, I’ve found it’s most comfortable to wear something warm and cosy all day long, which is where the jumpers come in. They’re nice and hardwearing, and there’s never any shortage of them at vintage fairs, so I think they’re going to be my winter go-to for a few years to come.