Fashion: Shoulder pads, frills, vinyl, ruched dresses. Party like it's 1989

It's back to the Eighties on the High Street for this year's festive party season. Stephanie Smith has tips on how to get the look right.

Thursday, 30th November 2017, 7:37 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 1:39 am
Big shoulders: Models wear Mugler's Fall-Winter 2017/2018 ready-to-wear fashion collection in Paris. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

It was the decade when style forgot to chill out and instead threw one massive glitzy day-to-night party. Now the dazzle, exuberance and energy of the 1980s is back with a big bag of sequins as inspiration for festive fashion 2017.

From where I’m standing, as someone who undeniably remembers the Eighties first time around, it’s all looking remarkably authentic.

In fact, it’s almost as if the Eighties had simply gone to sleep, as if fashion land had been lying dormant in the mists of an enchanted slumber for 30 years, and has now woken up, glitter balls and shoulder pads still intact, ready to party again.

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Orange sock boot, £55, at River Island.

On the High Street, River Island is taking the lead with a focus on shiny, super-glam party wear that owes more than a nod to those larger-than-life US soaps that dominated the decade, Dallas and Dynasty.

There are frills, there are sequins, there are dazzling metallic colours and, most of all, there are shoulder pads that Krystle Carrington would scratch Alexis’s eyes out for. (Sincere apologies to those of you too young to remember Dynasty – you can always Google it).

If you have a desire to do so, go all out for a fierce, full-on, power-loaded 1980s vibe – starting with the shoulders. Look out for statement, sculpted, raised shoulder features on trophy jackets and on shiny, ruched, bodycon dresses with ruffles and glittering embellishment.

The ultimate party girl look for this Christmas is pure 1980s disco diva, so think cinched-in waists, huge neckline frills, standout sleeves, frilled cocktail trousers and slinky all-in-ones. The palette is ultra-opulent in metallic and jewel tones, with textured embroidery and marabou trims.

Black glitter top, £30; metallic jeans, £29. At M&Co.

There’s statement jewellery too, although watch out with sculpted high-rise shoulder shapes as these can clash awkwardly with massive dangly earrings. But it’s a look.

For a more laid-back take on the Eighties trend, remember Bananarama (still going strong) and their cropped tees, raw chiffon skirts and paperbag trousers.

Or vamp it up by channelling Madonna’s underwear-as-outerwear thing, but keep it elegant and more grown-up by paring back the statement lingerie look and instead try wearing a lace body or satin basque under a pair of high-waist tailored trousers or jeans.

Or, go with fabulous colour clash, like Cyndi Lauper, mixing up orange, yellow and pink, head to toe. Sock boots are a major trend for the party season. Simply adding a bright fuchsia or electric blue pair with stiletto or kitten heels is a cute way to update your existing little black or navy dress with a chic injection of pure Eighties colour.

Sequin long sleeve top, £55; faux leather paperbag trousers, £45. At River Island.

Back to the Eighties also sees a revival of PVC on party pieces and accessories. A pair of high-shine or metallic jeans instantly suggests you’re going to party like it’s 1989 but considering toning down the shine by teaming them with an oversized statement knit or perhaps with a silk blouse.

There are berets and baker boy caps, and black sunglasses will add an Eighties’ vibe, as will a wide-brimmed trilby, worn at the back of the head to allow your bubble perm to sprout in all its glory, although don’t actually have a bubble perm; it’s a step too far.

But you could try a sleek power up-do, as seen on the catwalk at Mugler, which also featured pointy cap shoulders on chic sequin dresses.

It’s important to bear in mind that, above all, the Eighties revival is all about playfulness, so have fun with it. There’s no need to go head-to-toe Grace Jones, Prince or Princess Di, but a sleek hood, a brocade jacket or a ruffled blouse will add a nostalgic note of drama and opulence to your festive party look.

Turquoise dress, £13; glasses, £1; earrings, £2; tights, £3. All at Primark.

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Blue power shoulder top, £25; Dayla satin pointy boots, £42; red ruched pencil skirt. £25. All at Miss Selfridge.
Orange sock boot, £55, at River Island.
Black glitter top, £30; metallic jeans, £29. At M&Co.
Sequin long sleeve top, £55; faux leather paperbag trousers, £45. At River Island.
Turquoise dress, £13; glasses, £1; earrings, £2; tights, £3. All at Primark.
Blue power shoulder top, £25; Dayla satin pointy boots, £42; red ruched pencil skirt. £25. All at Miss Selfridge.