Tuesday, May 17, 2011

1980s Dress with Square Collar

Ok, don't laugh! Girls really did wear their hair like that in the 1980s! My sisters and I all had perms and big bangs. The perms may have fried our hair into frizzy messes, but that was the style. Celebrities and movies stars did the same with their hair.

Looking back, a lot of fashion from the 80s was just in bad taste. Punk rock and gothic styles abounded. Movies like Flashdance and Valley Girl influenced fashion designs throughout the decade. Do you remember leg warmers, leggings, bangle bracelets, huge earrings, and ripped sweatshirts? All these fashions were based on pop culture. Workout clothing, baggy clothing, zebra stripes, bright colors... some of the clothing from the 80s is so over-the-top that it borders on the ridiculous.

Clara's dress for today, however, is from the "new romantic" movement in clothing. Lace, flowers, bows, and lots of frills were typical of this movement. Some of the lacy frills of the 80s went over-the-top as well, but overstatement seems to have been the trend of the 80s. Clara’s outfit is a classic style from the late 1980s with lacy, scalloped edges. The dress is a tea length, and pretty conservative for that decade.

Clara’s shoes are some simple vinyl slip-ons with low heels and square toes. Instead of being made of leather, synthetics were more prevalent as shoe materials. Even plastic shoes were popular.

The original Clara paper doll has a short, straight haircut, not in character for the 80s. So today, Clara has some frizzy, permed hair with stiff, hairsprayed bangs to go with her 1980s style dress. Personally, I would skip the "big hair," but it sure shows a major hallmark of the decade.

My husband has a great hairspray story from the late 80s. He and a group of friends decided to have a campfire one evening. As they sat by the fire, one girl pulled out her can of hairspray to add another layer of lacquer to her bangs. Unfortunately, the fire ignited the fumes, and caught her hair on fire. The quick thinking boys were able to pat the fire out, and the girl was unharmed, although she had some very singed hair. I wonder if she used less hairspray after her hair grew back?

In the 1980s, bright colors and patterns were very popular. Flowery impressionistic prints and neon colors were fashion fads, too. Along with black, white, and gray, here are some colors found in the clothing of the 80s:

To print Clara's dress, use this PDF file:
Clara's Dress 10 (909k)

Clara is a free, printable paper doll. Clara will continue to be available on this blog as long as I post new fashion pages for her. You can read the introduction for the Clara paper doll here.

To print the Clara paper doll, use this PDF file:
The Clara Paper Doll (718k)


  1. oh the 80s bangs!! for some reason clara here looks much better than i remember looking!

  2. Wow. What a slice of history. Those styles sure were something else and the hairspray -- it's a wonder we haven't all developed some dread lung disease. That's quite a classy dress, though. I did have several 80s dresses that I remember with some affection. Thanks for the memories. : )

  3. I know. That hair! I almost didn't use the hair on the fashion page because it was so hideous. Unfortunately it was representative of that lovely era.