Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I'll Tumble 4 Ya

My colleague Steve and his wife Amy had a "Back to the 80s" party on Sat night. Everyone was encouraged to dress in 80s attire. My response to the eVite was "Sounds gnarly, dude!"

For several days I thought about the fashion trends of the 80s. For women there were the huge shoulder pads, leg warmers, big thick belts that barely hung on their waists, the "Flashdance" off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, the acid washed jeans, and the early Madonna/grunge look. For men it was Izod shirts with the collar flipped up, sometimes worn underneath a 2nd Izod shirt with the collar flipped up, cotton sweaters tied around the shoulders, khaki pants with Docksider shoes and no socks, and skinny ties. Then there was the eyeliner! Popular celebrities in the 80s were Madonna, Paula Abdul, Culture Club, The Petshop Boys, The Blues Brothers, The Cure, The Go-Gos, The Bangles. There was so much to emulate!

Steve told me he was dressing up as Robert Smith of The Cure. (I had to watch an online music video to remember who he was, since I wasn't a big rock fan.) Then it hit me: I would dress as Boy George.

I had an idea of some pieces I could put together to give the idea of Boy George, and I'd seen a wig at a party store that I thought I could modify. Just by coincidence, we'd made plans to spend the afternoon with my niece Lauren. We met for lunch, came back to the house and talked for a while, and then she joined me as we scanned two Goodwill stores before buying the wig at the party store.

She volunteered to do my Boy George make-up, but I told her she didn't have to hang around that long. It was only about 4pm and we weren't leaving for the party until 7 or so. She said "That's okay, I can stay. I can't wait to do your make-up!" So we went to CVS and got some inexpensive eyeliner, mascara, super-glittery eye shadow, blush and lipstick. By the time I started putting together the pieces of my outfit it was time to have her 'put my face on'.

I used an old black trench coat of Joes, to which I applied sticky address numbers (from the hardware store) in a random pattern. It came out better than I thought! I wore a wild paisley print shirt, jeans tucked into thick socks, and an old pair of suede boots. I used a left-over piece of colorful fabric from a drapery project and tied it around my waist. I took a tye died bandana and cut it into strips, and tied a strip of it around each ankle. Then came the wig. It was black dreadlocks with pink, purple, orange and yellow dreadlocks scattered throughout. I decided it was too much color, so I had Lauren cut some of the colored dreads out. Then I took the remaining strips of the tye died bandana and wrapped and tied them around the colored dreads. I took a purple and grey striped scarf ($1. from Goodwill) and slipped it around the back of my neck and tied it where the wig met my forehead, and then crowed the colorful creation with a borrowed black bowler hat. The transformation was complete! Although not a perfect match, the "essence" of Boy George was obvious.

When I walked into the party, everyone looked, laughed, clapped, and took my picture. I felt like a rock star! It was a lot of fun. I couldn't believe that I put that entire outfit together and only spent $25. for the adhesive address numbers, wig, and tye died bandana.

Steve's friends were all nice. We met several fun people, including a couple named Jim and Miriam. Jim grew up in the same neighborhood as Joe, and Miriam lived in South Philadelphia where Joe's family is from. We had a really good time, and enjoyed seeing everyone else's 80s impressions.

No comments: