Column: Mall bangs and blue eye shadowApparently, I have to get my 80s on this week.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
Apparently, I have to get my 80s on this week.
By the time this week’s paper is back, I’ll be in Morton and Redwood Falls, attending the Department of Minnesota American Legion Auxiliary convention. I’m looking forward to it. It’s a good two and a half days of patriotism and sisterhood and love of country.
It means we’ll be in meetings for a good portion of the convention, and a new state president will be installed on Saturday. We’ll have a memorial service, a parade and plenty of social time. And then, apparently, there’s Thursday night.
Farmington is part of Minnesota’s Third District. Minnesota has 10 districts, and when the ALA gets together, it usually means that at some point, each district will have to put on a skit of some type. That’s coming up Thursday. I learned of this year’s theme for Third District during a picnic on Sunday. Without going into a lot of detail, it boils down to a group of women clad in red, white and blue 80s garb, singing Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.” And I’ll be among them.
Mind you, I love that song for so many reasons. It’s my ringtone for everyone associated with the American Legion family. I tend to sing it best, though, while I’m driving in my car and no one else is around to hear it.
But then our group decided we were going to dress 80s for this little skit. That’s no problem for this girl. Having graduated from high school in 1986, I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable in the fashions of the era. The only glitch is that, well, I’ve long grown out of my pink miniskirt, and I have no idea where all of my giant hoop earrings have gone. I still have the giant hoop earrings. I just have no idea where they are.
Well, there we were Sunday, discussing fashion tips of an era gone by. One friend from Skakopee said “they would” several times when describing trends like spiking short hair or turning up collars. To me, though, “they” meant “I” and I was more than ready to take on the challenge.
Back in my day, I wasn’t the “valley girl” type, and I wasn’t all Material Girl, either. I wore a lot of pastels, though — weird, too, because I kind of dislike pastels now –- and I had my share of sweatshirts with the neckline cut out. I did the flipped up collar and the long shirts with the big belts. I never got into heels too much, just because I’m clumsy and fall over easily. That part has never changed, regardless of the decade.
And boy, could I make big hair. I mean, big, big hair. It was layered, I had sprunch spray and a fine-toothed comb. Big hair. Mall bangs. The works.
I headed to Rosedale Sunday evening to begin my search for period-appropriate clothing. My first stop was a Ragstock shop, where I hit the mother-lode of accessories. Chunky bracelets. Fishnet gloves and big, hoop earrings with sparkly blue beads. I picked up a pair of white canvas tennies, and went in search of cute anklet socks. Turns out, there’s not a lot out there by way of cute anklet socks anymore. These days, it seems to be all knee-highs. Who does that? Sheesh.
The pink miniskirt was replaced by a white skort I’d purchased last summer. Something about my 40s makes it seem like I might have outlived the adventure of miniskirts. Amazingly, though, finding a sufficient 80s-style top wasn’t as hard as I’d thought. It seems, whether people want to recognize it or not, there are traces of 80s-wear everywhere these days. I latched on to a loose-fitting, slouch-shoulder, “bat arm” style electric blue shirt at JCPennys, and I was good to go.
Finding blue and pink eye shadow in one pack, blue eyeliner, and, most importantly, blue mascara, was another challenge. I found that stuff at the drug store by my house Monday night.
This was all one unexpected trip down memory lane. Kind of fun to think about the way it was “back then,” but on the other hand, I’m sure we’ll make a few good memories this week, too.
So now, I think I’m all ready for Thursday night. I’ve got my red, white and blue 80s getup. I’ve got all the frosty face colors I’ve not used in 20-plus years. Now I just have to remember how to do mall bangs.