Disclaimer: I had too much fun working on this post. So sit back, turn up your Wham! or Milli Vanilli, and enjoy this trip back to the 80’s!
As you go through this post, you’ll likely wonder, “Why on earth does Natty Gal still have this stuff?” Well, when I retired these clothes from my closet, I couldn’t quite bear to permanently part with them. Most were birthday or Christmas gifts from my maternal grandmother – a consummate shopaholic that spoiled me rotten.
So, they went into a box up in the attic at my mom’s house where I could take them out on occasion and remember her generosity and how much she loved “dressing” me! Coincidentally, she always hoped I’d get into writing and encouraged me on that front. I think she’d get a kick out of knowing that nearly 40 years after the fact, I’m using some of her treasured gifts to create a post.
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Brands from the 80’s
Many brands that were “all that” in the 80’s are still doing well today. Ray-Ban, Van’s, and TopShop come to mind. Others are still around but getting harder and harder to find. I’m looking at you Swatch! And by the way, who doesn’t love Swatch? I still wear mine when traveling in lieu of my fancier ones. Others are rare or have completely gone away. Come check out a few favorites from this storied era!
Virtually everyone I knew had either a green or blue version of the Benetton Rugby shirt! If you were a girl, you likely had the matching teddy bear as well.
While the rugby’s were requisite, I was most crazy for Benetton’s fantastic, colorful knitwear! Two of my favorite outfits are below – the varsity sweater with pink plaid trousers and the green print sweater and floral pants. See, at one time I DID wear color!
Benetton still exists. While there are no stores in the US, there are some in Canada, Mexico, and abroad. Online ordering to the US is available.
Esprit had a similar vibe to Benetton and focused heavily on sporty and bright casual cotton separates and knitwear. While they still exist, they have no stores in the US and you can not access their e-commerce site from the States. Either save a visit here for your next trip abroad or check out ASOS, which has a few Esprit pieces in stock.
I’m pretty sure I had this outfit and it may actually still be in a box somewhere at my mom’s house. Don’t judge, our high school mascot was the Bees and this was a very relevant look.
Ah, the “I grew up in the Cotswolds or next to a Scottish moor” look of Laura Ashley! As a romantic teen, this brand was another one of my favorites. In fact, both my mom and I had our bedrooms decorated in Laura Ashley prints.
In clothing, the vibe was mostly delicate, feminine, and focused heavily on dresses. In the later 80’s, they introduced jumpsuits. Man, did I love these! I think my bestie at the time also had this one. Since they’re somewhat forgiving in the waist, I decided to try to shoe-horn it back on. It’s perfect for warm-weather COVID-wear. Like a giant onesie for adults!
Like Benetton, Laura Ashley still exists. It’s primarily a homeware brand now but they do have a few select items for women, men, and children.
I couldn’t find any of my pieces from Units but did find the store graphics below. It’s actually the “lost brand” that I think would be most relevant today. They offered a collection of basics at a low/moderate price point that could be worn in a variety of ways (backwards/forwards, tubes as skirts, tube tops or scarves, etc.). Sort of a capsule wardrobe concept similar in feel to current day brand Vetta. Sadly, Units is no longer available as either a storefront or online.
What were your favorite brands from the 80’s? If you’ve got a photo, send it to me or tag @nattygaldotcom or use the hashtag #nattygal80s on Instagram – I’d love to feature your favorite 80’s look in my stories! And for more fashion fun, check out these posts!
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