What influence does 1980s music and fashion have on a teenager growing up in that decade?

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Answered by: Judith, An Expert in the 1980s Nostalgia and Remembrance Category
The 1980s for me as a teenager were one of the most important decades of my life. At the start of the decade I was 14 years old, and very much into 1980s music and fashion. By the end of it, I was a young adult, earning my own money, which enabled me to indulge in buying some of the fashions and music that I enjoyed so much.

What I loved about the music, was that there were so many different styles: heavy rock, country, pop, synthesised music, not forgetting of course, the 'Novelty' acts, and a few punk groups that were still knocking around from the late 1970s. This made 'Top of the Pops' very interesting to watch, and there was usually something that appealed to everyone's musical taste.

With each genre of music, came the fashions that accompanied them, Glam rockers with their skin tight leather outfits and long manes of tangled hair. The New Romantic groups which saw men wearing almost, if not more, make-up than women, with eyeliner being a particular favourite. They liked to wear frilly shirts, and tailored suits, or even a kind of 'Fancy Dress' type of outfit, such as Boy George, and especially Adam Ant who enjoyed the 'Highwayman' or 'Vagabond' type of look.

The 1980s were very much about image for both males and females. For example, The Human League's lead singer wore a full face of makeup as did both of the female singers in the group as well as being immaculately dressed. Subtlety was frowned upon when it came to cosmetics, with blues and greens being very popular for eyeshadow, with eyeliner and mascara to match! I admit to green being my colour of choice! As well as make-up, hair was also important. Whether it was long and flowing, or a mixture of long and short (the famous 'mullet') or just backcombed to within an inch of its life, with enough hairspray on it to warrant being a fire hazard, hair was as important as the makeup and fashions.

I remember wearing very shiny, brightly coloured dressed in the 80s, — that, coupled with the big hair, meant that I really should have carried a fire extinguisher around with me, just in case! I also had a ra-ra skirt was was short and puffy; not the most flattering or elegant item of clothing, but they were the height of fashion and that was what mattered. Leg warmers which served no real purpose, and also were not attractive, were something that many people wore. Jeans with different coloured piping down the outside were something I remember wearing, along with my favourite white Cowboy ankle boots with little fringes and red stones.

Ah yes, the good old 1980s. It is funny, but whenever I look back at this period of my life, it is always with affection; it never fails to bring a smile to my face, remembering a time when 1980s music and fashion had such a profound influence on my life.

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