The New York Post
By FARRAH WEINSTEIN
‘THE ’70s were so sleazy, I get static cling just thinking about it,” jokes Barneys’ creative director Simon Doonan on the WE: Women’s Entertainment TV show “I Can’t Believe I Wore That.”
The four-part fashion flashback series, which airs Dec. 5-8, features commentators such as comedian Bruce Vilanch and Heatherette fashion designers Richie Rich and Traver Rains discussing the tackiest trends from the past four decades – from itchy leisure suits to scary mullets to robotic shoulder pads.
“We’ve all had fashion mishaps,” says Kim Martin, general manager of WE. “And when you look at a photo from years ago, you can’t help but say, ‘What was I thinking when I wore that?'”
What’s even more frightening is that many of the trends highlighted on the show are coming back – from high-waisted jeans to leggings to big hair.
The parade of horrors is hosted by “Full House” star Dave Coulier and actress Bo Derek (the latter best-known for two memorable fashion trends: wacky cornrows and a slinky nude swimsuit from the 1979 movie “10”).
“The trendier you are, the more you cringe later when you see yourself in photos,” says the 49-year-old icon. “It always seems that the times when we think we look the best, we regret it later.”
In the ’70s, we had polyester, bell bottoms, hot pants, dolphin shorts, leisure suits, platform shoes and butterfly collars.
“Those [butterfly] lapels were so big, you could write the Declaration of Independence on them,” jokes comedian Jimmy Dore.
Circa 1980s, who can forget the bunched sweater over stirrups look, tied with a chunky belt? Or sticky bangs styled like a mini tidal wave with loads of Aqua Net? Shoulder pads on shows like Dynasty and Dallas made “a woman looks like a linebacker or Liberace in drag,” according to the show, and spandex leotard-sporting Olivia Newton John gave a whole new meaning to the word sweat.
It only got worse in the 1990s, with Goth, grunge and heroin chic. If you didn’t have your tongue pierced, you were uncool.
“I had both nipples pierced, but I got one ripped out in a mosh pit,” says Adrienne Curry of “America’s Next Top Model.”
“I had one [piercing] in a place I will not name, eight [piercings] in my left ear and two in my right.”
Ally McBeal changed boring office attire by sporting the micro-miniskirt, and skin-tight Lycra dresses became the outfit du jour for Saturday nightclub attire, thanks to Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman.”
If you were a guy in the ’90s, you had Vanilla Ice hair. If you were a girl, you had “The Rachel,” Jennifer Aniston’s ‘do on “Friends.” Let’s not forget mini-backpacks, steel-toed Dr. Martens and air-pump sneakers.
Just when you think a tragic trend has disappeared, it comes back into style.
Look at any celebrity now, from Kate Hudson to Scarlet Johansson, and you’ll notice that bell bottoms, leggings, skinny pants and high-waisted jeans are replacing low-rise denim.
“We are definitely seeing a trend towards higher-waisted jeans,” says Shaul Nakash, Chief Marketing Officer of Jordache jeans. “I think people are sick of jeans where everything hangs out when you sit down – a higher-waisted jean looks more chic.”
Madonna is bringing back the leotard. Mischa Barton is wearing baby-doll dresses. The Olsen twins look like they raided your grandma’s attic. And even cornrows are hot, with celebrities like Tyra Banks, Alicia Keys and even Britney’s husband, Kevin Federline, sporting the tight, pulled-back braids.
“A lot of trends end up coming full circle,” says Martin of WE. “Many celebrity stylists are in their 20s. They look back as to what influenced them as kids growing up.
“Take Nicole Richie, for example. Here’s somebody who has been totally made over by a stylist, and she is one of the hottest women on the celebrity scene today, but a lot of the clothes she wears are vintage clothes, clothes that are really from 10 to 15 years ago.”
Derek still wears acid-wash jeans with holes in them (“I have a great pair,” she says), fanny packs (“function first”) and she loves Uggs and fur mukluks (“I’ve been wearing them for 25 years, but only on the slopes, not in the summertime.”)
But you’ll never catch her wearing a thong like women in the new millennium.
“That’s probably something that quite a few women will regret,” she says.