April 12, 2001

Gotta Have It!

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Trends are a necessary evil of pop culture. The last decade of the 20th century was a hodge-podge of old-trends from the early 90s return of the 1950’s sideburns (think 90210 meets The Wonder Years), to the mid-90’s revision of bell-bottom jeans and Hush-Puppies, to the late 90s revival of pop music (think The Beatles’ meet The Backstreet Boys’). Through it all, I have been patiently waiting for my personal “wonder years” revival — the 80s. As a child born in the last days of the 1970s (December 21, 1979), I have never really felt a connection to the decade of peace and love. Instead, I have always had an affinity towards the decade of decadence — the 1980s. To finish off this school year will be the first of a two-part series investigating the revival of the 1980s in 2001. This marks the first time our generation can reach into our attics and pull out clothing (albeit a few sizes too small) that can be seen as trendy.

Tune In or Tune Out

Before we can venture further into the current 80’s revival, we are going to need a little refresher course on what exactly this decade was about. As any good college student knows, your research should begin with the television. Luckily for us, beginning last month, Nick-at-Nite (weekdays starting at 8 p.m. on channel 25) has started to air popular 1980’s shows such as D’fferent Strokes, Silver Spoons, The Facts of Life, and Alf. These shows should ignite a warm tingle in your nostalgic area (just below the heart and above the stomach) or at least remind you how cool it is to have a toy-train run through your living room.

If you are more interested in reading you may want to check out King of Rock: Respect, Responsibility, and My Life with Run-DMC ($22.95) written by Darryl McDaniels (the DMC from Run-DMC). This is an autobiography that clearly illustrates the early rap scene of the 1980s, and most importantly it chronicles the rise of Run-DMC as one of the most influential rap bands to come out of the 1980’s. The book has received some serious critical nods and is worth checking out as a piece of 80’s memorabilia. As for the video store, you may want to check out Judgement, a new straight-to-video release that features the man himself, Mr. T., who looks bigger and badder than ever in the 21st century.

In addition, for the DVD collectors out there, you may want to pick up Fast Times At Ridgemont High and The Wedding Singer (ret. $19.95). Both movies are good references for those of us who have forgotten the appeal of skinny ties with charcoal sports-coats. For the music lovers, there are two must-have CD collections: Monsters of Rock (ret. $19.95), which has classics from Whitesnake to Twisted Sister, and VH1’s Big 80’s, which compiles the Bangles and A-Ha.

Starting from the top

Okay, so the first sign of any trend usually is seen in sunglasses. So is it any surprise to you that large-framed, color-lensed sunglasses are the hottest things to hit the stores? For the ladies out there, you should try to find a pair of glasses that not only cover your eyes, but also extends a little lower and wider with tinted lenses (if you want to go to Hollywood try for dark red tints). For the guys we should be looking for pilot lessons with the new group of Aviator glasses that virtually every manufacturer from Ray-Ban to Gucci is coming out with this summer. Now, we can all look like Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson.

Or Starting From the Bottom

Before you go out and get the latest “Presto” Nike shoe (the ones with no laces) you should check out some of the old-school fare that will definitely get you attention as you walk down the street. Puma and Adidas are the two manufacturers who in my mind bring back the razzle and dazzle of the 80s. The “Platinum” collection from Puma sports a little less sport and a little more club. However, they still manufacture classic sneakers, of which my favorite is the “Classic Suede.” If you want a little more kitsch in your sneaker then you will gladly welcome back a late 80s classic — the Reebok Pump. The sneaker, much like its 80s counterpart, has a pump in the tongue of the shoe that helps stabilize the ankle.

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