The beloved 80’s primetime soap ‘Dynasty’ – starring the two wonderful ageless icons Joan Collins and Linda Evans- has just turned 40 (40 years of power, glory, and inspiration), marking the return of a style made of colorful clothes, strong shoulders and puff sleeves, maxi prints, power suits as well as big hair, shiny sequins, spandex, chains, and doorknocker earrings. All embodying a mindset of ‘more is more’.
Aired on ABC from January 12, 1981, to May 11, 1989, ‘Dynasty‘ keeps inspiring fashionistas all over the world. Designed primarily by Nolan Miller and influenced by the strong silhouettes of 1940s movie actresses, the clothes, jewels, and copious furs worn by Joan Collins and Linda Evans “signaled both the peak of conspicuous consumption in the 20th century and a new era of women asserting themselves in the workplace and beyond“, as reported by the New York Times.
The number of custom outfits created during the TV series was so influential that ‘Dynasty’ became the first show to launch a clothing collection sold at department stores. Joan Collins’s character, Alexis, in particular, reflected the rise of women in the workplace, and Nolan Miller made sure she looked the part. The 80s was in fact a decade that saw women climbing the step ladder, working in boardrooms and offices in the corporate world. Along with that came a need for powerful suits that fit a woman’s style. Bold colours and strong shoulders helped women show everyone who’s boss.
I was a young girl in those days and was thrilled by those atmospheres full of excess and glamour. It was all about empowerment: making a statement and putting yourself out there (maybe with the help of permed hair, too).
Although it’s hard to imagine some of the Dynasty 80’s glitzy fashions making their way into our lives while in lockdown, I’m sure it would be fun to update our wardrobe with toned-down versions of the originals. According to Harper’s Bazaar: “with trends spanning from ripped tights and biker jackets to polished oversized blazers and poof skirts, and style icons ranging from Joan Jett to Joan Collins, it was one of the most eclectic decades in fashion. And like it or not, the ’80s are back in full force. From shoulder pads to power suits and all that’s in-between, some of the era’s key looks are making a comeback in fashion“.
Perfect for creating exciting and eye-catching outfits, the 80’s fashion promises to infuse your wardrobe with a new and glamorous sense of style. To wear this look, I would suggest choosing one element that resonates with your personal style and build out your outfit around it.
Today, big shoulders are for instance an excellent way to add a touch of that unapologetic 80’s attitude into your wardrobe. Just remember to keep your waist defined with a belt or by buttoning up to avoid appearing swamped in the fabric. Also, using colour can be a fun and simple way to infuse a modern outfit with an 80’s vibe. To rock this trend today, invest in a few pieces in shades such as cobalt, fuchsia, magenta, and gold, and work them into your regular wardrobe. If you are not so daring, sometimes one really good accessory is all it takes to achieve an 80’s look. Oversized gold button details, chunky chain link hardware, and metallic accessories add an instant touch of glamour to virtually anything you wear them with.
Whether you love or hate that look, in the end, it’s the sheer diversity of status symbols, sartorial choices, and style icons that has made the 80’s a time we, Gen-Xers can still recall, mostly, with fondness; a unique genderless era in which all sexes were trying to flaunt their effusive style to the world.