The writer’s niece, Meghan Kirkup, and others in Gen Z are rekindling memories of the ‘80s with their retro fashion styles

By Kathy McGrath

The other day I was walking my dog along Lawson Road when I saw something I haven’t seen in quite a while. A young woman across the street was clad in overalls just like I used to wear in the late ’80s.

Not only did I wear them – I loved them! The roomy one-piece outfits with the buckled-bib were so comfortable and yet, somehow, managed to look cute. (Mind you, I was younger back then. Sigh.)

This blast from the past should not have surprised me because ’80s clothing has made a big comeback. We women of a certain age no longer have to cringe when we look at photos of ourselves circa 1986! The wide shoulders, the suits, the long pleated skirts, the belts – it’s all back. Big hair is even rearing its (lovely?) head again.

I remember a time in the mid-’80s when women, itching to climb up the corporate ladder, dressed to emulate their male counterparts. We wore monotone business suits with shoulder pads over top of silky blouses with bow ties. Our big hair, worn like helmets, led us into battle with the male executives.

Like the power shakers on Dallas and Dynasty (remember Linda Evans and Victoria Principal?),we had big dreams to go along with our big shoulder pads and bangles. In the decades since, time has not looked favourably upon these fashion choices. Until now!

Take a stroll in any Toronto mall these days and ’80s fashions are on full display in stores and on young shoppers. Women are CHOOSING to dress this way. My 25-year-old niece Meghan (my current style icon) shows up at family gatherings in high-waisted Mom jeans worn, sportingly, with a crop-top and an oversized suit jacket. And she looks like a million bucks!

In January, she was rocking a chunky hairband and assured me that big hair (with all theaccessories) is returning. Not the heavily-permed version we wore back in the day, but a softer version created with Velcro rollers. TikTok is rife with how-to videos for creating the look.

So proudly show your high ponytail, your side ponytail and even your high, side ponytail! I’m sure there’s a scrunchie to be found at H&M to hold it together.