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And we arrived in the Eighties! I was born in this decade, so from now on this project is starting to bring back many memories.

If the seventies were the 'Me' decade, the Eighties are best described as the 'Gimme' decade. It starts with an economic change when Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan - both capitalists - brought a growing division between the rich and poor. There was mass unemployement, but also the 'Yuppies' - young wealthy professionals (Wallstreet types). Everything was about money and if you did't have it, you were obsessed about people who did have it.

The arrival of MTV also made a large impact in fashion.

Fashion-wise was all about excess! More is more, everything was big, a lot of bling, big hair, a lot of make up, colors (neons),...

The 1980s body ideal was tall, amazonian, broad shoulders, long legs, toned abs and trimmed hips.

Main stream women wanted to look very glamorous, more like a forties revival. It was all about the rich, like Joan collins of Dynasty. With a lot of diamonds, sequins, fuchsia eye makeup and fur.

Power dressing jumped on the 1970s pantsuit women liberation look and empowered it. They wore big strong masculine suits with padded shoulders, to get in the mans world on wall street. Donna Karan was a great designer of the empowered working girl of the eighties.

There was also mass unemployment, this reflected in fashion in a way to dress up like an outlaw or dandy - check Vivienne Westwoods 'Pirate collection'.

The 'Blitz kids' - named by a club in London - were dressing up in the most outrageous costumes. It was an androgynous dress-up as an escape from the boredom and economic hardship of long term unemployment or low-paying jobs.

Other fashion trends:

  • Denim was very popular, more particular stone-wash denim. People wore denim from top to bottom.

  • Leggings and leg warmers - people got very interested in their bodies, and started exercising and dancing.

  • Miami was the cultural hot spot and influenced fashion with pastel colors, Armani suits and pushed up sleeves of a jacket (eg. Miami Vice).

  • Hip hop created sports wear worn as streets wear. It was very revolutionary and different. People even now still wearing this trend!


Check out Margo's beautiful drawings and know more about 1980s make up and beauty rituals.



Book: Fashion drawing 2nd Edition - Michele Wesen Bryant

Book: High Fashion, The 20th Century decade by decade - Emmanuelle Dirix


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Hi there!

My name is Tinneke De Block,
aka Tinika. This blog* is a means of sharing my artwork, collaborations, studies & processes, mood boards, personal life posts, interior design, fashion (history), and lots of creative inspiration!

*pardon my Dutch

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1920s fashion history - Tinika illustrations

Fashion history illustrated




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