Why I hate eighties weddings – an opinion piece by Meryl

Well hello everyone! Today, stirring up some controversy on the blog is our very own Meryl. Having suffered through a decade of bad bridesmaids dresses, Meryl is finally ready to speak her mind about the 80s – and why 80s weddings were just wrong!

Remember that Meryl, as sage-like and wonderful as she is, is only human and this is an opinion piece intended as a light-hearted dig at her childhood, not to hurt feelings! You are totally entitled to disagree – we have a comment box for debate – please do use it (be polite) and we’d love to hear what you have to say! I’m going to hand over to Meryl:

Painful memories

From personal experience I can put my hand on my heart and say ‘80s weddings were a nightmare for me. I was born in the ‘80s and was a bridesmaid twice before the ‘trend’ of the puff ball sleeves, hoops, oversized dresses mercifully retired to the basements of retro shops, waiting to be worn again one day by some fashionista after a find (in an ironic way – I hope).

I don’t want to delve too far into the dark recesses of my nightmares, but just imagine a mortified little girl unwittingly flashing her knickers to a gaggle of guests on both occasions – all because of two people, namely Diana and Sarah: the ‘80s brides who married princes and influenced a decade of wedding dresses.

I confess I wore outrageous clothes when I was growing up: the vertical striped leggings, the Tammy puff ball skirts, the ankle socks with a lace trim… but looking back on family albums, no matter how awful my ensembles, none of them were as embarrassing as the images of me innocently following the fads started by Sarah and Diana.

Exhibit A- Diana

The ten-mile-long train, the “I could fit my week’s shopping” in these puff sleeves and the over-sized teardrop centrepiece of a bouquet – oh the humanity!

I know that, at the time, we all thought the look was divine – and why wouldn’t we? She was the people’s princess, and who are we to argue with that? I am probably going to cause some controversy with these remarks and I am sorry if you feel differently (may I direct you to the comment box below?), but I am going to go out on a limb here and say… there is nothing about her dress/ bouquet and in fact the entire bridal party I actually like.

Even at the time, growing up in an era where people just went gaga for the meringue look, I could never understand why everyone was in awe of it. It’s grand for sure, but it opened a can of worms and influenced the next ten years of bridal fashion – something that I have never quite forgiven. It created an entire generation of bad wedding dresses.

Eek! Even I feel bad about saying that, how could a bride look bad on her wedding day?? But looking at hilarious family photos and online galleries, it’s plain for all to see. Very few brides could get away with it. I have no doubt that these were the happiest days of some people’s lives…. but I wonder: do they ever regret opting for a puff-sleeve dress like the ‘80s trend-setting princess?

We can, however, thank Diana for one vintage-inspired trend that has survived the ages: big bountiful bouquets, the types will never go out of fashion. Teardrop, round, posy… while we probably aren’t so bold as to run with the general over-the-top show-stealing designs of the eighties (we’d be too scared of knocking someone out when we throw it) we’ve definitely nicked elements of it – and ones that work too.

And to prove that we’re not just being cruel, Meryl has kindly agreed to let you all gawk at her pain. Be kind, folks!

Exhibit B- Sarah

At this point you may well be thinking that Diana was an obvious example, but Sarah’s dress wasn’t too bad – right? WRONG!

At a first glance, her outfit might appear to be acceptable – but if you look closely, you’ll find that she’s the reason that bows and shoulder pads weaseled their way into the world of wedding fashion.

Shoulder pads in a wedding dress, not just the subtle imitations we see in the shops now, but the power struggle Dynasty or Grace Jones of shoulder pads, are all her fault. I repeat: all her fault. Aha, yes you can see them now! Personally, I can only see one good use for shoulder pads: as a discreet way to inch your chin.

The bows, well let’s just say the savvier brides inflicted those particular monstrosities onto their bridesmaids. They were not only big and imposing, but, inevitably, positioned in the least flattering places. And they weren’t happy bows. They were droopy, tearful things.

And a slightly older Meryl – but still none the wiser

What can we learn from the ‘80s?

So now, in 2012, I’m being haunted by the ghosts of my eighties fashion horror stories. I’m not going to say I am happy about it, but I have to accept that the 80s trend has come back. Fortunately for me, it’s come back with style: we have bows on our dressed now, but they are definitely ‘happy’ bows; there may be shoulder pads… but they are discreet, angular, even a little sexy! We have small ‘hardly-there’ puff sleeves. So yes, the eighties has made a reappearance in our vintage wedding trends – but it’s had the decency to do so with some of the class and dignity it lacked in its heyday!

I’ll end with a personal plea: if you must revive the eighties, just don’t do it big and please don’t wear everything at the same time – save the eighties nightmare bride look for Halloween. And definitely do not go the whole hog with a tight perm – for the sake of a new generation of little girls who won’t thank you!

This lovely blue number is modelled by one of our wonderful readers, Debra of Love, Peace and Cupcakes 

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