An acid-washed disaster decade

In retrospect, clothing fashion of the 1980s seems insane. Neon became the newest tint of the rainbow and blue eye shadow ruled. Some fashions from the ’80s might make you laugh, but others are bound

In retrospect, clothing fashion of the 1980s seems insane.

Neon became the newest tint of the rainbow and blue eye shadow ruled.

Some fashions from the ’80s might make you laugh, but others are bound to make you cry – and cringe with the thought that there are pictures out there of you wearing such atrocities.


Gitano, Espirit, Chic and Sassoon were once hot brands that everyone had to rock, but who can forget the pants with the pony? Jordache, that is.

The freak accident known as Jordache was unfortunately spawned in 1978 after insurance money provided the chance for three Israeli brothers to start their own clothing line.

“My mom still thought Jordache was cool and bought me a pair of Jordache from Wal-Mart a year ago,” said Temple University junior Tanisha Ortez.

What happens when denim meets bleach? You get acid-washed jeans of course.

Guess? was the first to introduce America to stonewashed jeans in 1982, and in ’86 the process of “acid-wash” was created.

The process was a form of chemical bleaching that broke down the fiber of jeans, forcing the dye to fade and creating pale white streaks or spots on the denim.

A head-to-toe acid-washed look was possible when skirts, jackets and even socks were acid- washed.

“I remember really, really wanting a pair of stonewashed jeans when I was younger,” said Temple English major Emily Miller..

When acid-wash wasn’t enough, slicing and dicing was an option to further destroy jeans.

The placement of the holes, whether near the buttocks or the knee was up to personal preference.


Even better than Jordache was L.A. Gear.

Founded in 1983, the company provided footwear with snazzy colors and colored laces to match.

The brand went on to become the number three footwear manufacturer of the late ’80s.

The shoes had attitude with names like Robin Hood, Streetwalker and Maniac.

L.A. Gear not only made workout apparel, but also jean jackets and much more.

Michael Jackson even had his own line of L.A. Gear with a moonwalker logo.

Footwear of the ’80s saw as many evolutions as “Wacko Jacko’s” face.

Jelly shoes were the must have.

The hard molded plastic, although fashionable, provided little breathing room.

If jelly shoes weren’t your thing, there was another trendy solution to spice up your gams: Legwarmers.

This dance-inspired gear leapt into the mainstream with the help of movies like Fame and Flashdance.

The fashion statement was worn scrunched down on the calf, onto the ankle and over the shoe.

Temple senior Vanessa Doherty said she “had legwarmers for everyday of the week.”

Eventually legwarmers evolved into slouch socks.

The socks came in a rainbow of colors and several pairs could be layered to solidify coolness.


Whether it was crimped, waved or feathered, hair of the ’80s was a major part of fashion.

The Jheri-curl, the curling process created by Jheri Redding, was seen dripping everywhere.

The look required numerous gels and conditioners to maintain its wet look.

The oil activators left behind unpleasant residue virtually everywhere.

Sofas and headrests were finally spared when both the Jheri-curl movement and Rick James’ career faded out.

Unfortunately, some people can’t let go of the look.

“I still know a lady who still has a Jheri-curl, but it’s dried up like a raisin,” said criminal justice major Brian Gary.

For those who were fortunate enough not to sport a Jheri-curl, there was one hair accessory that was a necessity.

Banana clips were everywhere – and I do mean everywhere in the ’80s.

Banana clips seemed to be the ONLY way hair could be tamed.

The simple plastic curve put a twist on the conventional ponytail by combing it into a vertical mane.

The fashion of the 1980s may evoke laughs now, but as frightening as it may seem, they’re coming back. It’s not hard to find side pony tails and glitter.

And don’t be surprised if you spot someone on South Street proudly sporting legwarmers.

Patrice Williams can be reached at

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