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^The early 1980s brought a return of interest in high fashion after the comfort trend of the 1970s, which saw many people rejecting designer clothing. Fashion designers became celebrities by marketing collections of ready-to-wear (off-the-rack) clothing, cosmetics, and accessories to the huge middle class. Hairstylists became similarly celebrated, creating looks for film stars and television actors and then marketing hair care products for the general public. The wealthy also continued to influence fashion. One of the most celebrated trendsetters for hair and clothing was Lady Diana, princess of Wales (1961-1997).

With the formality of business attire so popular at the beginning of the 1980s, hairstyles were more rigid. Women wore stiff, perfectly styled hair. Either short or long, these styles were noted for their careful styling and the liberal amounts of gels and sprays that held them in place. Men adopted hairstyles that were meant to look casual and carefree but actually took a lot of work. The stars of the popular television show Miami Vice (1984-89), Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas wore the latest hairstyles for men, including the carefully maintained shadow of stubble on Johnson's chin.

By the 1990s hairstyles became more casual and more differentiated. Both men and women embraced individuality. In general, people abandoned the stiff styles of the 1980s and wore more natural, loose hairstyles. Women's styles, whether long or short, were worn loose and straight. Men, for the most part, kept their hair clipped short and their faces clean-shaven.

Hair coloring, for both men and women, was a popular and accepted way to change or enhance a particular hairstyle. However, wigs had dropped from fashion. Those with thinning hair relied more frequently on hair-growth stimulants such as Rogaine.


Carnegy, Vicky. Fashions of a Decade: The 1980s. New York: Facts on File, 1990.

Cosgrave, Bronwyn. The Complete History of Costume and Fashion: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day. New York: Checkmark Books, 2000.

Feldman, Elane. Fashions ofa Decade: The 1990s. New York: Facts on File, 1992.


Man with a mullet. Fans of the hairstyle, which was short on the top and sides and long in the back, included musicians and other celebrities as well as common people. Reproduced by permission of © Ken Settle.

Fashion The 1990s Mullet

Mullet is one of many names given to hair that is cut short on the top and sides and grown long in the back. The name mullet can be traced to the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke in which a prison inmate called men from the U.S. South who wore long hair "mul-letheads," after a popular southern fish called mullet.

During the 1980s fashions reflected the influence of the punks, who wore their hair raggedly cut to different lengths and shaped into spikes. At the same time gays and lesbians began to challenge society's ideas of gender identity. They created androgynous styles that could be worn by either men or women. By cutting their hair short on top and wearing it long in back, they combined the uneven cuts of the Punks with a look that combined the masculine and the feminine. Many rock musicians of the late 1980s wore the mullet, including glam rock stars David Bowie (1947-) and Lou Reed (1942-). Up-and-coming female musicians Joan Jett (1960-) and Pat Benatar (1952-) wore crisply cut mullets to give themselves a strong, hard-edged look, while pop singer Michael Bolton (1953-) wore a flowing mullet that suggested a romantic masculinity.

By the mid-1990s the mullet began to be denounced by fashion commentators as a terrible fashion mistake. Some mullet nicknames are descriptive: 10/90 (refers to the ratio of hair on top to hair in the back), sholo (short-long), and business-in-front-party-out-back. Others identify the style with the American South where the mullet seemed extremely prevalent: Tennessee Top Hat and Kentucky Waterfall. Country music singer Billy Ray Cyrus (c. 1961—) wore a mullet and his hit song of the late 1990s, "Achy Breaky Heart," gave rise to another of the mullet's many nicknames: "Achy Breaky Mistakey." Jokes about the mullet have become widespread, with hundreds of Internet Web sites devoted to mullet humor. Nevertheless, the mullet continues to be a hairstyle worn by some people.


Larson, Mark, and Barney Hoskyns. The Mullet: Hairstyle of the Gods. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2000.

Rachel Haircut

Television actress Jennifer Aniston (1969—) sparked a worldwide style craze in 1995 when her distinctive shag hairstyle was copied by women everywhere. Dubbed the "Rachel," after the name of her character, Rachel Green, on NBC's long-running hit sitcom Friends, the popular hairstyle helped Aniston emerge as the breakout star of the show's ensemble cast.

Friends debuted in 1994, steadily building a large and faithful audience, particularly among young, college-educated women. During its first season on the air, Aniston's charming coffee bar waitress Rachel Green was but one of six leads contending for the attention of viewers. Style trendsetters began to take notice in the sec-

Jennifer Aniston's long and layered "Rachel" haircut was widely copied in the United States and Great Britain.

permission of NBC Television/Courtesy of Getty Images.

John Sahag
HEADWEAR, 1980-2003


ond season, however, when Aniston unveiled a new hairstyle. A fresh variation on the shag haircut invented by New York salon legend John Sahag a generation earlier, Aniston's Rachel hairstyle fell just a bit below the shoulder and featured long layers all over. It was created especially for her by stylist Chris McMillan of Los Angeles' Estilo salon, who also created the stylish cuts for the show's other female casts members. McMillan later revealed that inspiration for the Rachel came about by accident as he worked to grow out Aniston's bangs over a series of cuts. The stylist then employed Velcro rollers to give her hair a full look.

The Rachel soon became the must-have hairdo among stylish women across the United States and also in Great Britain, where Friends was immensely popular. Not since Farrah Fawcett's blonde wings of the 1970s had the public reacted with such fervor to a hairstyle. Aniston eventually grew out the look and returned to a less trendsetting hairstyle but variations of the Rachel haircut were still popular in 2003.


Bonner, Mike. Jennifer Aniston. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House, 2002.

Mendez, Teresa. "Off the Small Screen and into the Closet." Christian Science Monitor (March 26, 2003).

Rogaine is the brand name for a drug called minoxidil, developed, manufactured, and marketed by the Upjohn Pharmaceuticals Company. First offered to the public in 1988, minoxidil was promoted as the first successful cure for baldness. With an estimated 66 percent of men experiencing some hair loss by the age of thirty-five, according to Upjohn, and many women who also have hair loss, the new drug had many potential users hoping for a miracle cure. Within a few years, however, it became apparent that its effects were real, but short of miraculous.

Throughout the ages men have sought cures for baldness, mostly without success. Upjohn discovered the effects of minoxidil by accident in the mid-1970s. Researchers noticed that the subjects in a study concerning high blood pressure began to grow hair on their heads and faces. Soon they dropped the blood pressure tests and began to test the new drug as a cure for baldness. Once tests were complete, they introduced the new drug to the public in the form of a lotion named Rogaine, available by doctor's prescription.

Upjohn counted on men's desperation to find a cure for baldness to sell their product. They also introduced the first advertisements for a prescription drug that directly addressed the public. Their television and print ads for Rogaine discussed a problem that many men, and some women, had been afraid to talk about. People rushed to try the new product. By 1991, just three years after its introduction, over two million men worldwide used Rogaine, and by 1992 worldwide sales had reached $200 million.

The new drug was not without problems, however. Rogaine only successfully grew hair on about 10 percent of those who used it. Another 35 percent grew soft, short fuzz rather than normal hair. For many the drug did not work at all. In addition, it was fairly expensive to use, about seven hundred dollars for the first year and three hundred to six hundred dollars each year after that. The reality of the drug's performance hurt sales, but in 1995 Upjohn got permission from the Food and Drug Administration to sell the product over-the-counter, without a prescription, and many more people tried the drug, which was still used as a lotion. The company has made other efforts to improve sales, marketing a special Rogaine for women and offering a money-back guarantee.


Beach, Pat. "Spraying for Deliverance." GQ—Gentlemen's Quarterly (January 1998): 80.

Webster, Donovan. "Re-Seeding Hairlines." Men's Health (February 1997).

Welcome to Rogaine.com. http://www.rogaine.com (accessed on August 27, 2003).

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■ Body Decorations, 1980-2003

^^ince the 1980s body decoration and accessories have become a highly lucrative business. The intense interest in designer fashions in the 1980s created a demand for cosmetics, jewelry, handbags, and other items made by these makers of high fashion. For many, these accessories, with their designer labels or distinctive scents, were the only way to afford designer luxuries. At the beginning of this period the brand names of a few designers, such as Gucci and Prada, were the most sought after, but by the twenty-first century a multitude of brands offered men and women accessories in a variety of styles. Some social groups began to identify themselves by the brand names they wore rather than the particular style of accessory they chose. Some wore Tommy Hilfiger's (1951—) fashion lines, while others preferred Calvin Klein's (1942—) selections, for example.

As brand names rose in popularity, some people sought out unique adornments to set themselves apart. During the 1990s and into the twenty-first century, body piercing and tattooing became increasingly popular, especially among youth. The unique designs permanently drawn on the skin and the collection of jewelry pierced into the body were once only worn by groups such as punks. But by the 1990s these adornments had become accepted by a wider group of people, and many high school and college students chose to tattoo themselves and pierce their belly buttons, noses, or tongues.

Beginning in the 1980s the most coveted perfumes, colognes, lotions, and makeup were only available at high-end retail stores, but by the late 1990s people seeking more convenience had started buying their cosmetics through the mail, over the Internet, and in grocery stores. These changes did not reflect an abandonment of brand name status, as these outlets started to carry luxurious products.


Gay, Kathlyn. Body Marks: Tattooingg, Piercing, and Scarification. Brookfield, CT: Millbrook Press, 2002.

Graves, Bonnie B. Tattooing and Body Piercing. Mankato, MN: LifeMatters, 2000.

Steele, Valerie. Fifty Years of Fashion: New Look to Now. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.

Backpack Purses

A woman carrying a small dog in a backpack purse. The backpack purse gained popularity in the 1990s for its stylishness as well as its practical qualities. Reproduced by permission of © Pat Doyle/CORBIS.

For a time in the mid-1990s legions of women began carrying their necessities in small, stylish backpacks instead of purses. The accessory proved to be a popular and practical alternative to the handbag.

The origin of the backpack as a fashion item is traced to Italian designer Miuccia Prada (c. 1949-), who had inherited her family's successful Milan luggage firm, Fratelli Prada. With her new husband, purse manufacturer Patrizio Bertelli (1946-), Prada began introducing stylish new items, including a practical little backpack made from the nylon material that her grandfather's company had long used to cover its newly made steamer trunks, large box-like suitcases used for travel by ship in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The backpacks, with a small, triangular silver "Prada" logo attached, began selling in department stores in the early 1980s, though the company was virtually unknown in the North American market at the time. A ready-to-wear line was launched in 1989, and Miuccia Prada's elegant designs soon caught on with young, fashion-conscious women. The Prada backpack became a highly coveted status symbol around 1994,

and part of its appeal was the hard-to-spot little silver triangle. They retailed for about four hundred dollars, and the company quickly launched a line of them in a multitude of sizes, colors, and fabrics. From there knockoffs, or reproductions, of the Prada item quickly caught on with mobile urban women, and by 1995 countless variations in leather, vinyl, and an array of other fabrics and colors were accounting for about 60 percent of the purse market in some retail sectors. Considered more practical than a purse, as well as safer on city streets, the backpack gained popularity for its practical qualities as well as its stylishness.


Hessen, Wendy. "Backpacks: The New Basic." WWD (January 3, 1995): S14.

Meadus, Amanda, and Wendy Hessen. "Backpacks Fuel Mass Market." WWD (September 12, 1994): 6.

Rotenier, Nancy. "Antistatus Backpacks, $450 a Copy." Forbes (June 19, 1995): 118.

In 1921 Guccio Gucci (1881-1953) opened a small store in Florence, Italy, where he sold luggage and saddlery, accessories for horseback riders. Over the decades Gucci's business grew into an internationally renowned company that manufactured and distributed stylish, handsomely crafted personal items, including watches, shoes, ties, jewelry, suitcases, and scarves. Among the most popular and coveted Gucci products were handbags: a bag that is designed for women and normally used for carrying money, perfume, makeup, and other small items.

The trademark Gucci handbag, which featured a bamboo handle, was first produced in 1947. In the late 1960s, fashion trendsetter Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929-1994), former U.S. first lady, helped popularize a Gucci handbag that featured a long strap, allowing it to be carried over the shoulder. These bags came to be known as the "Jackie O," with the "O" standing for "Onassis," the name she took upon marrying Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle


A northern, industrial Italian city with little of the allure of Rome or Florence, Italy, Milan was home to a number of ambitious textile producers and clothing designers. In the late 1970s they began staging fashion shows in Milan to promote Italian designers. Representatives from upscale American department stores began flocking to the city to place large orders from the collections of up-and-coming new talents like Giorgio Armani (c. 1934—), Laura Biagiotti (1943—), Gianfranco Ferre (1944-), and Gianni Versace (1946-1997). Foreign journalists admired the new Italian styles as well.

Milan's runways presented a new style that caught on everywhere: though its shows were sometimes a bit theatrical and over-the-top, the models exuded a modern, athletic silhouette, or shape, that fit in perfectly with the era. The clothes, however, were the real appeal: they were simple, sexy, well made from an array of luxurious fabrics, and sold well. Within ten years of launching his company in 1975 with a man-tailored suit that became a must-have for an entire generation of fashionable women, Armani proved Milan's biggest success. For many years Armani's main rival was Ferre, and later Versace. Other top names in the Milan scene were Biagiotti, the Krizia label, and Missoni; the Fendi family of Rome even began staging their runway shows in Milan.

In the 1980s the Milan shows grew more extravagant and Armani was often hailed as the

Italian Culture Clothing
Italian designer Gianni Versace, left, was one of the best designers on the Milan fashion scene. Reproduced by permission of AP/Wide World Photos.

king of Milan. In the 1990s new names joined the roster of shows held at two hotels near one another, the Principe and the Palace, including Dolce and Gabbana, Prada—a venerable luggage firm reshaped by the founder's design-conscious heir, Miuccia Prada—and the once-scorned house of Gucci, revitalized by American designer Tom Ford.

Onassis (c. 1900—1975) after the assassination of her first husband, President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963). By the 1980s brand name products had become especially popular and Gucci bags were among the most coveted handbags on the market.

Gucci handbags come in a range of sizes and styles. They are small or medium-sized, made of leather, canvas, and suede, and feature zippered compartments and metal locks or magnetic snap closures. Some have adjustable straps, usually made of leather. Gucci

bags may be black with tan leather trim, blue and white with a leaf-and-flower design, or tan and brown with light caramel-colored trim. Many Gucci handbags feature a red and green stripe down their center and a metal Gucci logo. Some are so small that they are more like purses, small bags, or pouches primarily used for carrying money.

Gucci handbags, like all Gucci products, are prized by consumers as symbols of status. For this reason the commercial marketplace regularly is flooded with counterfeit Gucci items. Genuine Gucci bags are high priced, retailing in the many hundreds, and even thousands, of dollars and featuring serial numbers to confirm their authenticity.


Anderson, Susan Heller. "Milan Comes of Age as a Fashion Capital." New York Times (October 13, 1977): C1, C12.

Goldstein, Lauren. "Milan Versus Paris: Fashion's Great Debate Isn't about Skirt Length or Heel Height, but Which Capital Makes the Trends." Time International (March 24, 2003): 66.

Johnson, Anna. Handbags: The Power of the Purse. New York: Workman Publishing, 2002.

^During the 1970s a fitness craze swept the United States. Jogging and fast movement exercise classes called aerobics became popular leisure activities. Fashion followed the exercise trend, and it soon became fashionable to dress like an athlete, whether or not one actually participated in fitness activities. Specialty shoes, sweat clothes, leotards, and tights became fashionable for street wear, and over these it was popular for women to layer knitted leg warmers, tubes of fabric worn on the leg, reaching from knee or thigh to ankle.

Often made of wool or cotton and knitted like a big, loose, footless sock, leg warmers were commonly used by dancers to keep their leg muscles warm and flexible while wearing dance tights and

Christie Brinkley Leotards
Model Christie Brinkley wearing a pink leotard and hot pink leg warmers. The 1970s fitness craze led to the 1980s leg warmers craze. Reproduced by permission of © Bettmann/CORBIS.

leotards. Actress Jane Fonda (1937—), who began a new career as a fitness teacher during the 1980s, encouraged those who bought her books and watched her videos to dress like dancers, in leotards, tights, and leg warmers, in order to feel more like athletes themselves. Along with Fonda, popular films, such as Flashdance (1983) and Footloose (1984), helped to popularize leg warmers.

Leg warmers went out of style by the late 1980s, but they returned in the early twenty-first century. Inspired by Japanese cartoons popular in the West, these modern leg warmers were likely to be made of cotton, leather, fleece, nylon, or faux fur and flared out below the knee.


Bailey, Bill, and Frank Hoffman. Arts and Entertainment Fads. New York: Haworth, 1990.

Sewall, Gilbert T., ed. The Eighties: A Reader. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1997.

■ Sunless Tanning Lotion

^During the 1920s a tanned complexion became associated with youth and vigor as more and more people began pursuing active lifestyles. Tanned skin remained in style for several decades. In the 1960s several sunless tanning lotions, which imitate the tanning effect of the sun by darkening the skin with chemical reactions, were marketed for those too busy indoors to get a suntan and for those with fair complexions who did not tan easily. Within a few hours of applying sunless tanning lotion, the skin would change color. However, early products produced an unnatural orange color that was often streaky and uneven.

During the mid-1980s it began to become important to people to stay out of the sun. Scientists had begun to publicize the damaging effects of constant excessive sun exposure. Partially due to changes in the earth's atmosphere caused by pollution, skin cancer had become one of the most common types of cancer. Experts warned that sunbathing was unhealthy and recommended wearing clothes, hats, and strong sunscreens when out in the sun.

However, tanned skin still remained in fashion. Manufacturers responded to people's health concerns about tanning in the sun by developing and improving their sunless tanning products. By the end of the 1980s almost every major suncare and cosmetics manufacturer had produced a sunless tanning lotion. Sunless tanning remained popular, and by 2003 a sunless tanning pill was in development, which promised to chemically reproduce the look of a suntan.


Foltz-Gray, Dorothy. "A Tan for All Seasons: A Cautious Paleface Screens the New Crop of Sunless Tanners." Health (September 1995).

[See also Volume 5, 1961-79: Tanning]


Headwear From Different Cultures
A man covered with intricate and colorful tattoos. Reproduced by permission of Photo Researchers, Inc.

attooing is the art of decorating the body with permanent pictures or symbols by pushing ink under the skin with sharp implements. Tattoos have been used by many different cultures, and in each culture the tattooed art has its own meaning. The English word tattoo comes from the Polynesian word tatao, meaning "to tap," which describes the technique by which sharp spines filled with color were tapped into the skin to make tribal designs. People in the 1980s wore tattoos of specific symbols to identify themselves as part of a particular social group. Their tattoos set them apart from mainstream society but were also visible signs by which they could recognize each other.

Tattooing is an ancient and widespread practice. Tattoos have been found on the bodies of mummies thousands of years old, and certain tribes, such as Polynesians and the Maori of New Zealand, have used tattoos for centuries as a mark of membership in the tribe and a symbol of strength earned through pain. Modern tattooing began in 1900 when an American named Samuel O'Reilly invented the first electric tattoo machine. Most tattoo artists and their customers were outside the mainstream of society. However, many people who would never have dreamed of wearing a tattoo were fascinated with the art, and they lined up at carnivals and sideshows to gawk at elaborately tattooed men or women. Throughout most of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, tattoos were considered low class and vulgar among Americans and Europeans, a common adornment for criminals and drunken sailors.

By the 1970s and 1980s tattoos had become part of fashion trends developed by small groups seeking to create distinctive looks

to identify with their peers. Beginning in the 1970s many youth adopted a punk style, wearing outlandish clothing and hairstyles to announce the separation they felt from mainstream society. Much of the intent of the punk style was to shock, and tattoos and body piercings became a part of the shocking punk style. While some had colorful pictures that were personally meaningful placed on their bodies, many chose stark black tribal designs, such as Celtic knots, tattooed around the arm or ankle.

Though many people still consider tattoos to be self-destructive and offensive, many more have come to see them as beautiful body art. Throughout the 1980s, 1990s, and into the twenty-first century the popularity of tattoos has continued to increase, and many mainstream youth have begun to adorn their skin with tattoos. Other stylish youth have imitated the fashion introduced by the punks, and many stores now sell temporary tattoos, which offer the tattooed look for those who wish to avoid the pain and permanence of the needle.


Hewitt, Kim. Mutilating the Body: Identity in Blood and Ink. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University Press, 1997.

Rubin, Arnold. Marks of Civilization: Artistic Transformations of the Human Body. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 1995.

Steward, Samuel M. Bad Boys and Tough Tattoos: A Social History of the Tattoo with Gangs, Sailors and Street-Corner Punks, 1950—1965. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press, 1990.

[See also Volume 2, Early Asian Cultures: Tattooing; Volume 2, Oceania: Tattooing; Volume 2, Native American Cultures: Tattooing]

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