Winters Past

20th Century Fashion from Deco to Disco

Eighties Cocktail Dresses, A Study in Wonderful Excess

Ahh, eighties evening wear. It’s all about overconsumption and extravagance. It’s got maximal glamor, over the top details, oversized shoulder pads and extreme bedazzling. There are studs, sequins, beads and flowers. And ruching! Pleats! Rhinestones! Bows! Dropped waists! Asymetrical hemlines! Ruffles! Pepums! I’m getting giddy just thinking about it.

These pieces are so full of optimism and fun and they cry out for a dance party. There is a real Latin dance influence here, referencing salsa, flamenco, rhumba and tango.

Now here is my question: where the heck were people going in these dresses? Were there just nonstop cocktail parties for an entire decade?

Here is a gallery of just a few examples of the wonder that is eighties evening wear that I have in the shop right now. Time to plan a spectacular New Years Eve dance party!

eighties cocktail dresses

So many design elements in one garment!

eighties cocktail dresses

Sequined chevrons!

eighties cocktail dresses

One sided waist detail!

eighties cocktail dresses

Pouffy sleeves, bows, sparkly things!

eighties evening wear

Rows and rows of chiffon, a bow, rhinestones and…a sweater top!

eighties evening wear

Big! Fuchsia! Bow!

eighties evening wear

Big sparkly fishtail pave sequins!

Author: Winters Past

I am a vintage clothing shop owner living and working in rural north Florida. I believe in adding a little vinegar and molasses to my greens, having my coffee outside whenever possible, and mixing something vintage into every room and every outfit.

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