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Pretty in Pink: Fashion from the films that defined a decade

August 13, 2009

Ten reasons I love the clothes in John Hughs’ movies

Much has been said about John Hughes and his legacy of teen movies, classic songs and helping to create some of the biggest starts of the 1980’s, but I’d like to take a few minutes to talk about the most important aspect of Hughes’ work: the FASHION.

Yes, Hughes may have redefined the American teenager for the ’80s, but costume designer Marilyn Vance was showing them what to wear.  Responsible for the clothes in all the classic Hughes’ films (Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s... she did them all), Vance not only pioneered early product placement by using designer clothing, she also created the archetypal image of the stylish 80’s teen.

Here are ten reasons why I love the clothes in John Hughes movies, as a heartfelt thanks to Costumer Vance for helping to make the 1980’s as rad as they were.

1) DRESS SHORTS. Say what you will about his portrayal of white suburban youth, nothing says upper middle-class in the 80’s like a nice pair of dress shorts and a matching blazer.

2) PLAID. Plaid wasn’t only for lumberjacks back in Hughes’ day, there was a magical time when plaid could be found on all sorts of garments; dresses and vests and leggings. The plaid combinations were limitless.

3) SUSPENDERS. I long for the days when suspenders, made of all sorts of materials, could be worn with everything from T-shirts to tube tops.

4) FINGERLESS GLOVES. Because sometimes, when it’s hot outside, you’re just too cool not to wear gloves.

5) BOLO TIES. Ducky, of the Pretty in Pink persuasion, was especially fond of these little gems, taking them from country no-no, to New Wave hipster cool in a mere 90 minutes.

6) BLAZERS. Worn with shorts, over dresses, or with a nice pair of white linen trousers (thank you Blaine from Pretty in Pink), blazers were hands down the Must Have for the 80’s hipster.

7) HATS. Everyone loved a good hat in the 80’s. Ferris had his beret, Sam had her safari themed number, Ducky had his tilted-back fedora…. enough said.

8) BIG HAIR. The great thing about the hair in a John Hughes flick is it’s big and feathered and maybe even permed, regardless of gender. You gotta love the hair philosophy of “More is More”.

9) FLAIR. The finishing touches were just as important to a classic John Hughes look as shoulder pads; pins, fringe, broaches, plastic earrings, funky sunglasses, hair clips, skinny ties, bangles, swatches, scarves…all worn AT THE SAME TIME. Love it.

10)  ANGST. Because what would be an over-the-top, stylish 1980’s outfit without a healthy dose of teenage angst? It’s really the “all-rounder” of any Hughes’ era fashionista.


4 Responses to “ Pretty in Pink: Fashion from the films that defined a decade ”

  1. Dayanna on August 14, 2009 at 9:00 am

    10 comments on this awsome post:

    1. Dress shorts are STILL awesome – nothing says I’m a lawyer but I’m still cool like they do…

    2. I loved grunge, but sometimes I’m sad that they ruined plaid.

    3. Suspenders are STILL awesome – refer to #1 for the reason.

    4. This is clever and hilarious!

    5. You learn something new every day – I had no idea what these were… I had to look it up.

    6. Please see numbers 1 and 3.

    7. I think people don’t wear hats enough these days… some times – only sometimes – I long for the 80′s.

    8. More is still more when it comes to big hair!

    9. This is why I only long for the 80′s sometimes.

    10. This post made me want to re-visit some 80′s fashion…

  2. Renee on August 14, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Did my Mom pay you to say these nice things? And Yes, nothing says “hi I’m a hip, young lawyer” like suspenders and a nice pair of dress shorts.

  3. Radge Bassart on August 16, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    There is never any good reason for bolo ties. Other than that, I approve of your list, and yes, your mother did pay me to say that.

  4. Renee on August 17, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Well now I know what I’m *not* getting you for Christmas, Mr. Picky.