Age of the Eighties Party

Editor’s Note: This was a rant that I wrote my first year at SCAD in 2007-08. I submitted it to District, SCAD’s newspaper, the following year but of course it didn’t get published. 

We’ve all been to one at some point in our lives, or at least we’ve seen the pictures. The mindless droll that sets us back five intellectual years with every photo we see. I’m talking about Eighties-themed parties. You can’t spend a weekend on a college campus without hearing about one.

Party of the year

The first quarter I was at SCAD, I got invited to “The Party of the Year,” according to some very credible sources and Facebook bullshit. My knee-jerk reaction was to say no because it was, in fact, an Eighties party. I get dragged to said party because I have unfortunate lapses of judgment and moments of pathetic weakness.

80s punk, 80s rocker, eighties punk costume, anarchySince these events are always about the clothes, my wardrobe choice was an outfit a la Debbie Harry-meets-Nancy Spungen (deceased girlfriend of the Sex Pistols bassist, Sid Vicious). It was a completely ridiculous mix of glam rock and punk including a leather jacket and overly teased hair.

I didn’t expect too many people to be dressed as ‘80s punks, but when a friend told me he was going as Dee Snider, I figured there would be a few people there representing hair metal, or glam rock like David Bowie. At the very least, I expected to see some power suits with huge shoulder pads and skinny ties, because let’s face it: it doesn’t matter if you’re in a nursing home or the fourth grade, everyone’s seen Miami Vice.

I was wrong.

jane fonda, jane fonda 80s workout videoApparently the only thing happening in the Eighties involved neon leggings, scrunchy socks, and unitards. Was everyone simply exercising non-stop in the Eighties? Was the entire decade just one big Jane Fonda workout video or scene from “Flashdance?” My generation seems to think so.

What’s even worse is that the people who don’t feel like dressing up simply throw on no less than a half dozen of their most obnoxiously colored polo T-shirts, with collars popped, mind you. And of course, this was happening in the Eighties, but why is it being celebrated? It wasn’t cool then and it’s certainly not now.

Let’s Break it Down

If we’re going to get truly technical about the full realm of Eighties style, take a close look at the cast from “The Breakfast Club” and you’ll see that no one wore that crap. Emilio Estevez’s wardrobe was the only one that came close to the aforementioned workout video attire, and everyone knows he was the “Sport-o.” Albeit, Molly Ringwald probably had her moments of channeling Pat Benatar, but who could blame her? Pat Benatar rocks.

breakfast club, john hughes, real 80s clothes

Clad in black leather and spray painted anarchy symbols, I received some of the dirtiest looks ever procured by one person in a night of seemingly good-natured beer pong and jungle juice. I don’t really know what I was expecting coming to this party, but I figured that at an art school, there would be more than two people who actually knew that there were other things going on in the Eighties. For example:

The hardcore punk movement started early in the decade with bands like Bad Brains in DC, Minor Threat, Dead Kennedys, and Black Flag. Hip-hop and rap groups even started breaking into the mainstream in the Eighties with groups like Public Enemy, Run-D.M.C. and N.W.A.


Don’t get me wrong

I love Eighties music just as much, maybe even more than the next person. But next time you’re getting ready for one of these parties, save yourself the embarrassment and Google some Eighties icons. If you’re truly a product of the ‘90s and have no idea who to search, feel free to use this article as reference. You could even tape it on your fridge! After doing your homework, you’ll be sure to find that American apparel did not invent the Eighties and you can have much more fun being creative. After all, isn’t that the reason we’re here?

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever seen at an ’80s party? Something that made you laugh because it was definitely NOT from that era? Share in the comments!

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