MPB is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!



Dec 28, 2012

The Oversized Eighties Jacket -- YEA or NAY?



Friends, if there's one thing I learned living through the Eighties, it's that oversized clothing does not flatter undersized people.  The Eighties was a bad decade for me style-wise and perhaps for you too.

And yet.  I was looking at Eighties patterns while searching for my bomber jacket pattern and -- I'm embarrassed to admit this -- they've started to look good to me.  Have I totally lost it?







Jackets -- for both men and women -- weren't only oversized back then (thirty years ago, OMG),  they were also slouchy, unstructured, and often worn with the sleeves scrunched or rolled up a la Sonny Crockett.





Half of you weren't even born yet, I know, but the other half of us were sporting things like this:











You may have noticed already that a great many of these patterns were unisex, which tells you how shapeless and ginormous these jackets were.  You could fit a pair of double D's in one -- or not -- and they'd still fit just fine.





There was undoubtedly a bit of New Wave-inspiration to this overscaled look (which itself was inspired by the men's "zoot" suits of the Forties.  Italian (and other mainly European) designers like Versace, Armani, and Hugo Boss made it popular.  And those Japanese too.







Stateside, there were these two...can you name their show?



Parenthetically, have you heard that the Pantone Color of the Year for 2013 is that forever-Eighties classic, EMERALD GREEN?!

Not even preppy old me (young back then) was able to avoid the big-n-slouchy trend entirely; it's what was available (notice, too, my pegged, pleated pants).



Readers, I must ask: How do you feel today about the oversized Eighties jacket -- and other oversized clothes in general?  (If you were too young to experience it the first time, does it hold any allure whatsoever?)

Is this a look you'd like to see return?  Or did it already return and I just missed the memo? 

Oversized Eighties jackets -- YEA or NAY?

60 comments:

  1. Oh god, they're awful. Not even David Byrne could pull that off now. The worst, though, is the pattern art from the 80s. Perhaps I just have bad associations with the whole decade, but I would say, "just say no to oversized 80s clothes."

    ReplyDelete
  2. The middle kid on the mccalls 2804 envelope is a baby Bud Fox off Wall Street! Mesmerising!

    I was born in 1975 and I cringe whenever I see 1980s regurgitated by the likes of H&M and TopShop and lapped up by today's teenager.
    I would make an exception for the oversized jacket but not if you have a minute figure - which I understand you do.

    Smaller frames look swamped by oversize fashion and it's very hard to look good that way.
    Bigger frames can sometimes pull off oversize fashion but it's a difficult one. As a curvy 5'7" I spent years in oversize clothes and I cannot for the life of me work out what I was thinking! I have a waist so the definition is there, why didn't I do anything with it? Fool! :D

    Last year I thrifted an oversized mens jacket that I used as a coat, but with denim shorts and Lonsdale boxing boots. They discovered I am severely flatfooted this year so the boots are out (no. support. at. all) and so is the jacket, but I can't say I am missing it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I like them but I think that's partially to do with the fact that I didn't have to witness the eighties, and therefore these bad boys in all their glory.

    ReplyDelete
  4. That look is bound to come back. It wasn't bad, back in the eighties, but it used a lot of fabric. The over-size shoulder pads were the biggest problem, in my opinion. Dynasty (TV show), anyone? ;o)

    ReplyDelete
  5. I was not a fan of the 80's clothes, let's hope they dont make a full comeback. But i really dislike ill-fitting clothes. I firmly believe that clothing too tight makes you look 10 lbs heavier, clothing too loose makes you look 5-10 lbs heavier and clothing that fits well makes you look at least 5 lbs slimmer. You cant go wrong with a nicely tailored jacket with some 80's inspiration if that's what you are going for. less costumey more retro.

    ReplyDelete
  6. As an 80s girl who still misses her BIG hair, I long for the Working Girl look to come back. :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then you'll love this:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlmIcnO_paQ

      Delete
    2. I'm with you Debbie! I LOVED the 80's. I lived my late teens and early twenties in that decade and had a GREAT time!

      What I find about the 80's (so OK, maybe the jackets were a little on the large side) was that people dressed better than they do today. No grungy looks - but skirts/trousers with tucked in blouses and jackets, scarves and make-up. But it was all fun, young and bright. I have dozens of 80's patterns and I am currently watching the first series of NYPD Blue in my sewing room (early 1990's) and am loving the fashions - this period was a little less extreme, but still classy!

      And your photo - you look like a young, slim Matthew Perry! Great pic!

      Delete
  7. NAY. NAY. NAY. (Except you look adorable in that pic - despite that oversized thing you were wearing!) And the show was Miami Vice. I was there the first time. Seriously, is there anyone who doesn't know that - even if they were a zygote at the time??

    ReplyDelete
  8. I too think the pendulum is swinging back. Where can jackets go but slightly longer and looser? Without the huge shoulder pads and with a bit of shaping that may not be a bad thing.
    BTW I was waif like then (but being female did not realize it!) and had a hip length pale pink jacket with scrunchy sleeves (that I'd made) and Big Hair (God given). Too Cool!

    ReplyDelete
  9. In 1987, I spent $250 of my first pay packet after university on a Country Road jacket (Aussies will understand) which had shoulder pads you could land 747s on. Enormous shoulders, but the waist and hipline were nipped in, so it wasn't a complete sack. I loved that jacket at the time. Do I want to reprise that look, or the oversized look in general? No.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh boy, I was thinking Miami Vice on the first 3 patterns. 80's fashions and 70's to an extent makes me laugh. My husband scolds me that I swoon over fashions from the 50's & 60's when watching say a Cary Grant movie, but ridicule Crocket & Tubbs at every opportunity. I think I just appreciate them in very different ways.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Oh, no, no ,no!
    80's was even worse than 70's and I lived through both.
    No.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Sure but not with the rolled sleeves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Never dreamed you make a comment so late in the year.

      Biting my tongue!

      Delete
  13. I always think of The Heathers when I try these on in the thrift store. It is only good if you have the WHOLE look and that means penny loafers with cuffed socks and plaid pleated skirts for me. For men, I only really like when it is done in a '40s style.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Step away from the pattern catalogues, Peter. No, no, no, no, no. Just no.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I kind of miss those. It was much easier to buy something that fit off the rack -- it just had to fit in the shoulders and you were good. I also think the big shoulders and oversized look gave women a lot more visual power, certainly more so than today's starved-model/Spanxx-strapped image. It emphasized the face and hands.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You were a doll baby back then as well as now!

    ReplyDelete
  17. So much nay. ENDLESS nay. Nay.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I have a boss who still has a few jackets like this that she wears. I realized one day in a meeting that most of her clothes are technically out-dated, but she's a good looking woman who exudes confidence and calm, so she comes off as strangely chic. When she walks in, a room full of screaming engineers will calm down and begin to discuss things rationally. It's like a superpower.

    For the rest of us mortals, I don't recommend the oversized jacket unless you are female, very thin and tall, and pair it with skinny pants. I do however roll the sleeves of my blazers up, especially in the summer.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Oversized may swamp a smaller body but it can make a taller, heavier person look like a refrigerator...ask me how I know. Only Sunny and Stubbs looked good in those super, drapey jackets.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'd have to say Nay. But I wasn't old enough in the 80s to be wearing those. I was wearing things more like this, this or this.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I like the length of the over sized jacket but the shoulder pads have to go!

    ReplyDelete
  22. ewww, I didn't like oversized eighties jackets in the eighties. Thank god for punk.

    ReplyDelete
  23. The 80's look was high waist pants and a cropped top with shoulders. Or leggings and a long sweater, flat heels on black strap and buckled boots. Sharp toes shoes came back in tropical colors. Oh and a poodle perm. I didn't ever wear a slouchy blazer. It wasn't a blazer time of life for me.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Nooo! As an 80's kid we had our own questionable fashion. Anyone else remember the screen printed sweatshirts with matching skirts & attached leggings from Spumoni? But I missed out on the oversized jackets. As someone who's pretty petite and can look like a kid playing dress up in adult work clothes to begin with I definitely don't want this look coming back. Because if you don't look like you're playing dress up you're probably going to look sloppy and neither one is particularly desirable.

    ReplyDelete
  25. First off, Peter -- you look so CUTE in that picture!!! Ok, but seriously, I agree with the prevailing sentiment that while the giant jacket + linebacker sized shoulder pads was bad then and is baaaaad now -- I like the concept of layering, oversized garments and scrunched up extremities on the garments. Think Helmut Lang's last 2 lineups -- clean, sophisticated, but with one garment oversized and bunched up (either at ankles or wrists).

    ReplyDelete
  26. Barb aka WoodencanoeDecember 28, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Only the mens crossover jacket - Burda 6406 has any redeeming value! That could be adjusted with smaller shoulder pads too.
    And yes, I lived through that boxy decade and a couple before too. Not a time in my life where I needed any of those style of clothes, thank goodness. Not suitable for working on a commercial fish boat off the West coast of Canada !

    ReplyDelete
  27. Thanks to reading this earlier, I singing Spandau Ballet's GOLD all morning.....can't imagine going back to '80's fashion, but am enjoying a Spandau Ballet revival! I'm off to hunt out a greatest hits album (Crossing my fingers that it is a CD NOT a LP...can I be that old?)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Please Jebus, let that trend fade into fashion obscurity. As an "under tall" person, that look has always been easy for me to achieve. Just buy the size I'm supposed to wear and watch as the sleeves are miraculously 8" too long to begin with. I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. Miami Vice. Ugh. My dad had one of those jackets. And he wore it just like Det. Crockett. Oy gevalt.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Oh lord, those patterns bring back memories! At the time they seemed fine but in retrospect I regret all the years I spent hiding my curves under shapeless jackets! If you have boobs and a waist they just aren't flattering. On guys though they were ok if done right, it's a more natural silhouette. The exception for me was a jacket I made that was almost identical to the Burda 6406 up there, it was super-flattering and I wore it to death with my asymmetrical tops and tartan pleated pants, and my Flock of Seagulls haircut :D

    ReplyDelete
  30. Yes to the sleeve roll and scrunch. No, no, no to the fake wide shoulders and looking like a little boy playing dress-up in a man's clothes. You were cute despite the pleated pants, though . . . . Elle

    ReplyDelete
  31. You look adorable in the photo, like my older son, when he cared about clothes. Now it's the outdated Grunge Look. I am a DD, so appreciate getting the girls into a jacket, and being able to button it. But, I hate the over-size shoulder pads, and the armscye being way beyond where I need it. Too long doesn't work for me, but a bit of slouch is good. I often wore men's dress jackets, with a well-fitting, snug, long-sleeved T., and a long chiffon or georgette skirt, with boots. We can be ecclectic, and respect our bodies, choose proportions for us.... Cathie, in Quebec.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Wow Peter you looked smokin' hot!

    Melisa :)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Shoulder pads, were be thyne?

    Cometh back, and help the masses create the illusion of a nipped waste.

    Those silhouettes were a riot, theatrics were in the air.

    80s revival - BEGIN!!!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I don't think I'm a fan. I wore them the first time around, though! I had one that I loved; I wore that jacket to death, and I thought I looked HOT. Of course I was about 25 then, and now I'm 52. Looking at it now, I think it just looked kind of boxy. I'm not very tall, and I looked like a rectangle! (Sadly, I would look SQUARE if I wore one now. Sigh.)
    Crockett and Tubbs always looked great wearing them, though. You did, too.

    ReplyDelete
  35. The only thing I remember and can see in my photographs was that I wore a lot of make up and everyone had really huge glasses. The glasses are back, some are bigger than my head.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Like anything, it's all in the proportion. The eighties padded shoulder look actually looks pretty good at the start of the trend-until we had the progression to the ridiculously HUGE shoulder pads the size of halved casaba melons(yes, Norma Kamali, I am looking at YOU)Once we got to "if-a-little-shoulder-is-good-then-much-much-more-is-better" things started to get all stupid, we knew we were at THE END of the TREND.
    I would imagine anyone not already oversized can wear 'oversized'- provided the "oversize" is in proportion to the person themselves...and THAT'S THE TRICK, isn't it? Like shoulder pads! Hardly anyone looks good WITHOUT them, but hardly anyone DIDN'T look like an idiot in those football-player-sized ones that gave eighties style its BAD name!

    ReplyDelete
  37. I like the style of the boxy blazer with the low break, but not oversized. You could make one in a small size so it is more in proportion maybe? But set in sleeves not those awful raglan sleeves. Yeach.

    ReplyDelete
  38. Only thing that looked nice in all those patterns was the dress on the Simplicity Easy-To-Sew pattern. That's kind of cute, but would be more so with a slightly more fitted bodice.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Yea. Having had my teenage years in the 80s (I started with New Romantic and ended it with Hair Metal!) I look upon the 80s with fondness. Like every decade, there are items that should remain in the past and those that should be revived after having been 'rested'. I reckon that those soft linen unstructured jackets will be coming back at some point; I always thought that they looked great especially with the sleeves pushed up (I still do that with my jackets - you can take the girl out of the 80s...!!)Go on, go for it but perhaps leave out the over-sized shoulder pads!

    ReplyDelete
  40. I was in high school and college for most of the eighties. My general preppiness kept me away from the extremes of the time, but I did buy myself an oversized plaid blazer that I wore with a short, tight skirt and I thought I looked HOT.

    ReplyDelete
  41. I look at a particular 80's unisex overcoat from time to time, but the huge raglan sleeves scare me away every time. It would be nice to have the sweep of a huge coat with more normal shoulders. Another good reason to learn to draft my own patterns.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Dreadful - don't do it! 80's fashion is awful and the oversized jackets are the worst culprits.

    ReplyDelete
  43. I didn't like oversized garments personally, because the armscyes were so huge, when you lifted your arms, the entire garment went up! A-noy-ing. I don't like the look, either.

    EXCEPT for the more artistic, geometric clothes. Ok, so this one is just gravy.
    Or Issey Miyake.

    I love the pic of you!

    ReplyDelete
  44. You were adorable in the '80s! No wonder you want to go back (I kid; you're still adorable). My fave pic is the one near the bottom from a book, I think, where their heads look teeny tiny compared to their enormous jackets.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I have an oversized blazer I bought last year by Michael Kors that I like, but it's not huge like the blazer pictures you posted. I think the difference this time around is that even though the garments are baggy, they're not balloon sized and have a "fitted" element to them. I personally like wearing an oversized sweater or tunic with leggings and boots, but I guess that's because I wasn't old enough to experience it the first time around! I draw the line at stirrup pants though...I wore them in Kindergarten and never will again.

    ReplyDelete
  46. SeamsterEast@aol.comDecember 29, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    I vote Nay.... I am of the opinion clothing serves one or more of three purposes. (Psychologists say there is a fourth) ... 1.)Clothing is protection against the environment (warmth, rain, sun), 2.) an indicator of social status (more expensive, more worn by a certain class. This is particularly important in the business world), 3.) a sexual lure (i.e. accentuate certain parts of the body which one can not openly speak of in public) .... Psychologists add, 4.) a sexual inhibitor compared to everyone walking around naked 24/7...... Oversized coats pull duty only in #1 and #4..... for they offer perhaps more protection against the elements, and they certainly do make a body less appealing.... I vote Nay, except if I am COLD.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Oh man, I LOVED the '80's. Loved the music, loved the colors, loved the spikey hairdos. Loved the Miami Vice/Zoot Suit inspired fashions. The edginess was so fun. But I hated the Dynasty knockoffs. Somehow I could never corollate the edginess of the above mentioned things with the insipidness of the floral, flow-y, floaty Dynasty look.....

    ReplyDelete
  48. all I can say is that my 17 year old daughter has "stolen" my last oversized slouchy brightly coloured jumper (aka sweater) and is wearing it in her graduation class group casual photo.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Awful, truly awful - don't go there, please!

    ReplyDelete
  50. no, no, no, no, no..the only adorable picture in this post is the one of you. I want to adopt you as my best friend. I'm glad I know you now, I wish I knew you then.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I wonder what happened to the companies that made all those shoulder pads in the 80's. As I've gotten bigger in some places I didn't mean to, slouchy has come back into my wardrobe. But, not shoulder pads. Be well this new year. Lane

    ReplyDelete
  52. Heh. I still have one of these jackets which I made for myself in the 80s out of black linen: collarless, with ginormous shoulders and an ample size which naturally made me look like a refrigerator. Every once in awhile I pull it out and try it on. At this point, all it would need to be viable would be strategically placed tent poles.

    ReplyDelete
  53. That photo of you is ADORABLE! I think you absolutely pull off the oversized look!

    That being said, I try to avoid most of the styles from the 1980s (except some of the 40s-esque stuff with a few alterations). I think oversized clothing makes most individuals look rather sloppy, although there are always exceptions to the rule.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I finally got around to going through the closet this last weekend, and found 3 80's jackets much like the ones in the Simplicity patterns. I waffled on keep/donate, and ended up keeping them. They are a lovely wool fabric, I keep thinking I can update them a bit. The 80s fashions will be back, I just hope the shoulder pads and oversized cut aren't quite so exaggerated next time around. More a nod to the 80s, not a full blown revival.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails