Thursday, May 27, 2010

Inspired by the Freshman Experience - 1987/1988

After starting my morning off with scanning the Facebook Status updates of friends, I realized that a large majority of the people I know either have children graduating from high school tonight or I actually know some of the kids graduating.

Often times, when people reminisce about their days in high school, it is not usually positive. I have to admit - I loved high school. Heck, I loved college - middle school and elementary. I loved school. No doubt about it.

What was there not to like? You got to put together a super cool outfit each day, go and meet with your friends, and then learn some interesting new stuff.

I was born in 1973. Which means I headed to elementary school in the late 70s. I was in middle school by 86, and my high school freshman year began in August of 1987.

The experience was awesome! I had a great group of friends, met so many new people, and learned more and more about fashion, and music - you know, all of the things a 14 year old needed to know! I fell madly in love for the first time, had my heart broken for the first time. I went on my first date. I got to go to the movies by myself. Went to my first teen dance club... it was all fabulous!

The music, the clothes, things going on in the world - it was all very exciting to me. I embraced being a teenager.

I know I am rambling a bit- but I wanted to share a few items with you. If you were very young (or not even born yet) to really feel what 1987/88 felt like - I thought I would paint the picture for you.

If you are reading this, you are AT LEAST a teenager... more than likely older - but I want you to think about your freshman year in high school. What did people look like? What were people wearing? What were people listening too? Share that with me in the comment section.

I tried to capture some of the "visuals" of my freshman experience.

Enjoy this trip down memory lane!!

The Music I was probably playing in my bedroom:








Speaking of fashion - what were the top trends of 87-88?

Acid-washed jeans and denim jackets became popular with both men and women. Acid washing is the process of chemically bleaching the denim, breaking down the fiber of material and forcing the dye to fade, thus leaving undertones of the original dye evidenced by pale white streaks or spots on the material. This became associated with the heavy metal trend (called "hair metal" in later decades for the large frizzy coiffures worn by both male and female enthusiasts).


Madonna was the "Queen of the 80's" and set several pop trends during the decade.


One popular look for men in the late 1980s was Hawaiian shirts. Often they would be complemented with sport coats with stitched looks. They were often gray and white, and were worn for both casual and business settings. When worn in the business setting, they were often worn without a tie.



Leather jackets popularized by Michael Jackson and films like The Lost Boys were often studded and left undone to create a messier look. Over sized, slouch shouldered faded leather jackets with puffy sleeves from Europe caught on.

Gloves, sometimes fingerless, were fairly common.

Plain brown aviator jackets made a comeback, styled after World War II fighter pilot jackets. Already popular aviators were joined by other forms of sunglasses. It was not unusual for sunglasses or shades as they were known, to be worn at night.


Earrings became a mainstream fashion for male teenagers. Teen culture held that to pierce the left ear was acceptable for a heterosexual male. A right ear piercing indicated homosexuality. Adults who did not understand the fad worried about how this would affect young men's job prospects as they reached adulthood. Ear piercings left a scar even if they closed from disuse.

Ensembles featuring the colors of Africa, green yellow and red, become wildly popular among African Americans mainly named kente cloth. In the urban hip-hop communities however, sneakers usually worn unlaced, tons of gold jewelry and headwraps donned the young of the eighties.



Severely bleached and ripped jeans, either manufactured purposely or done by hand, become a popular fashion trend, being a main component of glam metal music acts such as Poison. Although gay men have often been thought of as trendsetters in the fashion world, elements of gay fashion exploded into the mainstream in the 1980s. The outdoor look, such as the wearing of huge hiking boots, jeans and flannel shirts in the city caught on, drag styles for men and butch styles for women spread into straight society.



Tattooing and piercing also began to enter the mainstream.

There you have it - the who.. what.. where.. and how did it look of my freshman experience. Tell me about yours!!

2 comments:

Dawn said...

Wow ~thanks for taking me back through our Freshman/High School years! Those were the days huh? I have often said that if I could go back in time I would change some things .... but seriously if I did that, I would not be the person I am today! I loved high school - a lot of "1st's" and met only a handful of people who would be lifelong friends.

Ahhh... music - we had some good music back then ... sooooo not what kids these days are listening to... ( I find myself saying to my 18 yr old on occasion "That's not music your listening to it's noise".)

Thanks for this flashback - I will now go through the day and the days ahead reminiscing the good ole days!

Anna Kaye said...

I saw this post come up when I was reading your post for day. I loved high school. I miss it a lot. Maybe I'm more nostalgic than others but oh well.

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