Don't get me wrong I loved the 80's. This was my time, when my huge King Tut hair looked just right. Now it just looks like King Tut. But it's a quarter of a century later. Crikey, did I just write those words? How the blimin' heck do you rock the Eighties when you're in your 40s? (Okay, in my case closer to 50) But really - how to do loud prints, slash necklines, big belts, twinkly necklaces and close fitting jeans without looking like you're auditioning for the movie, Banger Sisters 2?
One woman who puts the 80's in the 40's just so well is my haute mama friend, Lisa, mother and photographer. Yes, it's she of Musical Wigs, who lives in what she calls Coco (Contra Costa) County. She turned 40 earlier this year and does the 80's just right. She is also perf on the layering - lovelisalayers - which is everything in California where you get the foggy chills in the morning and blasting sun in the afternoon. I pestered her for weeks to let me do a post on her and at last she relented. I headed out to her stunning home armed with my tiny Nikon Coolpix and asked her to come up five 80's inspired outfits.
Lisa says: "I grew up in the Eighties and it's totally what I know and secretly have always loved. Fashion was big and bold and people took creative risks. Whether it was right or wrong, it was liberating. Madonna was my first concert, I loved George Micheal and Duran Duran. So I've always been trying to get the Eighties back in a subtle way. That includes wide belts, prints, very light shoulder pads and YSL liquid blue eyeliner." ( Lady Gaga does the same in a less subtle way)
Her first outfit is something she can wear to pick up her son Charlie, 5, from school, take him to Tae Kwon Do, then straight on out for drinks and movies with the other mums. That's because she's wearing laid back black Anthropologie jeans (Level 99) and a Target plaid shirt, but underneath is a pretty ruffled grey-blue Deletta top worn with her white Chanel watch, a birthday gift from her husband. Cinching in the layers is a white yacht belt from a little store in Martha's Vineyard. "I was brought up in Boston where's it very preppy, so I always end up pulling in something from my old comfort zone." She adds: "I've been wearing the tank all summer so the rest just extends my pieces through the fall. " So preppy, plaid and ruffles, three distinctive images in my mind of the Molly Ringwald meets Blondie 80's.
Also on the layers: "I start with one or two statement pieces - here it's the white belt and I go from there". And whatever she pays for anything, it has to be very soft. In fact every piece has to match her gold standard for softness: her son's t-shirts from J Crew Kids which he wears everywhere, even to bed.
Lisa always wear wedges or shoes with a heel: "I'm too short for ballet flats." Even her son Charlie knows the sort of shoe she is looking for. He saw a pair of Tory Burch wedges in a magazine and said: "You should buy these Mom." Lisa's reply? "Already ordered them".
The second outfit includes something I've been very, very frightened of - jeggings. Jeans that are also leggings. I do remember having red cord stirrup pants in Uni and feeling rather spesh in them, but that was when all the bits were a bit more up there. I can see they are incredibly comfy though. "Let's be honest, my black Biviel boots from Rabat come up to the knee and the DVF top is long, so you're only seeing from kneecap to mid tight, the least offensive part of my leg. Hahaha". The printed top is voluminous and needs the slimmer jeggings to balance it out. A heather grey boyfriend jacket for evening gives it weight and "stops it from being messy, I don't like messy." That sense comes from her mother who always had a keen eye for accessories and an ability to look pulled together any time of the day.
Next an Isabel Marant dress from E-bay, "which is funny because I may not have bought it from a store as it has no hanger appeal." She adds: "I always wear a belt because the skinniest part of my body is my waist and a belt makes the dress look more structured." Her chunky "suede" shoes are $20 from Target and the studded slim belt is Banana Republic. By now you've probably realised it's hard to keep up with Lisa, she's a total goofball and has really missed her calling as a Lucille Ball-like TV character. She was cracking me up the whole time with her gymnastics, yoga positions and cavorting. You already know she loves wigs and every dinner party at her house reveals more whimsical accessories. The latest: her moustache on a stick from Something's Hiding In Here.
The lace Madonna-like jacket is from H&M, "the lace jacket is really a trend so probably not a great idea to spend lots of money on this". Nonetheless this jacket looks amazing and more couture than cut-price.The biggest conception people have about Lisa is that she has loads of clothes. No, she just always mixes everything up with huge necklaces and belts, of which she has a decent-sized collection.
All this time, I've been competing for Lisa's attention with her son Charlie and their golden retriever Jake. Both have been tirelessly bounding around her, an adoring, adorable pair. Now they have her complete attention and you have never seen a happier boy and his dog.