Yes, that missed week was totally deliberate and required in order for you all to properly contemplate and appreciate Joseph Gordon-Levitt in a suit. It was not because of my failure to write up this post at all!
After that automatic moment of derision after being invited to an eighties costume party, I realised the eighties weren’t really all bad. The eighties had Bowie, Joan Jett, MacGyver and all sorts of good music and things and even fashion. Even I who advocates the wear-whatever-the-hell-you-want system have engaged in the popular pasttime of eighties fashion bashing. Yet the eighties is one decade epitomises the wear-whatever-the-hell-you-want doctrine and if I were honest with myself, I’d probably be rockin’ Cyndi Lauper’s look had I been fashion-conscious between my birth in 1987 and the end of the decade (also if I hadn’t been born in a Communist country but anyhow…).
I got my reference pictures from this website, but I set out to get that iconic “Girl Just Wanna Have Fun” sort of look. Lauper usually wears dresses with a fitted bodice that fan out from the waist, and then accessorises the hell out of them.
I have this tendency to fling everything out of my drawers when I’m constructing an outfit. In this case I was looking for 80’s colour, patterns and fabric: shiny, synthetic, neon-bright, clashy patterns. (As an aside, dressing like Cyndi Lauper would be very similar to dressing for Delirium.)
I couldn’t find a suitable dress or skirt to serve as the base layer so I basically had to style one from a silk wrap skirt I own. Because there are so many layers you want to the topmost layer to be the lightest and to also be the largest in terms of puff. As the layers go down they can be heavier and more fitted, but if you actually want them to be visible they’ll also need to be a bit longer than the one previous.
If you have a tulle tu-tu or something like that you should use it as a bottom layer to puff everything on top of it up a bit more. However keep in mind that not all skirts were made to be puffed; you should look for skirts that are gathered or pleated at the waistband and billow out. This may require a lot of experimentation – a lot of the skirts I tried on really didn’t work when layered on top of others.
Due to the nature of the wrap skirt I couldn’t get the fitted bodice look I wanted on the top so I ended up wearing an old sparkly tube top over everything else.
Accessories, Hair and Makeup
If you look at pictures of Lauper you’ll see that her jewellery is part and parcel of the look. I basically pulled out every single piece of loud, colourful and shiny jewellery I have and tried them on together without too much problem.
Look for long beaded necklaces of varying lengths. If there isn’t enough variation then you can wind some double around your neck.
The bracelets and bangles need to be chunky enough to jut out from the wrist. She also frequently wears fingerless and fishnet gloves as in the first picture of this post.
Before I left the house I backcombed my hair to get it sort of big and messy. I decided to go all out and added make up too – different coloured eyeshadow. I forgot the lipstick though, but if I hadn’t I’d go for an orange-red.
- Two-layered silk wrap skirt – $30 eBay
- Black tulle skirt – ~$40 Wildilocks (You can’t really see it here but it’s giving the bottom a bit more volume)
- Singlet top – ~$10, pretty generic
- Tube top – ~$10, also pretty generic
- Gold sash – Stolen from Arts Ball a few years ago 😉
- Rainbow scarf – This was my mother’s.
- Black granny wrap – ~$3 thrifted.
- Lots of miscellaneous jewellery I had lying around the house. No idea how much it’d cost together.
- Fingerless opera gloves – ~$5 from a discount store. They didn’t start off fingerless 🙂
- Tony Bianco boots – $100
- Purple tights – ~$10
- Odd socks – ~$5?
- Top hat – $55 from Wildilocks. A bit more Boy George if you ask me.
I’m not sure to what extent I really got the look right or even if I looked very 80’s. On the night of the party I think someone described me as “carnival”. The problem was that I didn’t have a lot of the right fabrics, colours and patterns to dress the era properly.
If I went back I’d probably get a lot more of the fishnet happening and try adding more layers to the dress-skirt-thing I had on.