The Kids Weren’t Alright

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Alright, alright, alright…

It was summer 1982 at the local clam festival. My best friend and I weaved through the crowds that reeked of coconut sunscreen, ganja, and fried dough. Asia’s “Heat of the Moment” blasted from a boom box in the distance. Determined with a laser-focus only an 11-year-old could possess, we zeroed in on the place where magic happens: The carnival games.

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What did we desire the most? The trussed up purple bunnies hanging in the corner? A flimsy Rolling Stones mirror with a frame made out of cardboard, glue and Peter Frampton’s tears?



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That’s right. Feathers. Pink and purple soft-as-silk feathers! Why, they like, totally make a cool hair accessory! Worn with my fave Pac-Man t-shirt, I would look like, ohmigod, totally rad! No duh.

Off I went to school that fall, proudly sporting my t-shirt, high-waisted toughskins and leg warmers. And topping off the outfit? My Stevie Nicks/Steven Tyler inspired featherlicious barrette flowing in my long blonde hair.

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“So I’m back….to the velvet…underground….back to the blah…blahblahblah…bleepbeedoo and paper flowers…”

Yes, Virgina, 80s kids wore roach clips in their hair. Roach clips! And parents didn’t care. Because at least we weren’t strapping a creepy dyed rabbit foot to our backpacks anymore.

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A true fashion faux paw.

Do you remember the 80s? What fashion faux pas have you committed? Do you think rabbit feet will ever come back into style? Maybe if I rub one for good luck, I can get my fashion sense back again.


36 thoughts on “The Kids Weren’t Alright

  1. EVERYTHING about the 80’s was epic. (Epic as long as it stays in the past, that is.) The feather clips were always the prized take-home from the carnivals. But, remember the neon, the giant bowed head bands, the off-the-shoulder jazzercize outfits, the way-too-much (and way-too-dark) blush? Loved it then. Shake my head now. ❤ Thank you for this post.

  2. AAAAAH – those rabbit…foots? feet? dangling appendages? Whatever…they were disgusting! I just tried googling, “Were the feet really, truly, REAL?” and now I’m traumatized. So, don’t do it or click on any posts (especially the one about finding your old lucky charm in a drawer after the fur has disintegrated…my eyeballs!) To answer your question: I’m certain I committed every faux pas imaginable, but as I danced around to “Material Girl” with my huge hair and my huge yellow fluorescent hair bow in place, I felt I was the queen of cool. Thanks for sparking some wonderful and utterly disturbing memories!

    1. Tramautizing was right! I remember rubbing one and feeling the claws beneath the fur. Who came up with that idea? Hey, I know what kids will like! A nasty severed rabbit’s foot dyed neon green!!

  3. 70s high waisted jeans with platform shoes .. Stayin’ Alive .. barely Stayin’ upright, twisted a heel more than once! Velour shirts! Banana Clips. Flashdance-inspired sweaters showing lots of shoulder. White high top socks. Stirrup pants and oversize sweaters with 80s Neon colors splashed.

    Scrunchies are back, my 10 year old Grand-daughter told me so!

    Fun post …….. and who doesn’t love the carny days or prizes filled with Frampton tears 🙂


  4. I was just talking to my daughter about my questionable eighties fashion and feather clips came up! I wore one for a hot minute (forever immortalized in my junior high yearbook, as I proudly wore a purple one on picture day) before I was told what they were really for. I probably should have realized it sooner, since I purchased it at one of the many head shops lining the streets of Sunset Blvd back in the day, but I was twelve and naive. How they even let a minor in one of those shops back then, I’ll never know. I guess it was the 80s!

  5. Featherlicious! Ha! I remember those. That was so funny went hand in hand with CornNuts and Funyuns. Our epic masterpieces involved Aquanet Superhold hairspray, the silver and pink can of course, and see how high our hair would go.Those pictures are classic now 🙂

    1. They are classic! My senior photo looks like a giant fluffy cat is perched on my head. (at least that’s what my brothers always used to tell me). But dammit! I put a lot of effort to look that insane! Lots of hairspray, perms and curling iron burns…

  6. HA! My biggest commitment to the fashion atrocities of the 80s/early 90s was neon pink Koosh ball earrings. I say this because I stubbornly kept wearing them even after losing many a fine lock to their fierce and weirdly sticky grip.

  7. Yeah, well, rugby pants. Remember those? They were comfortable but strangely unlike any other fabric. They left no impression. No one misses them. But once upon a time, that was the total shit.

  8. The 80s fashion that embarrassed me most was hand-me-downs. I wore hand-me-downs all through the 80s and nothing fit and they were all styles that had been popular three years earlier when first purchased for my older brother. The 90s fashions were so much better because clothes finally fit.

    1. Sometimes I had to wear my brother’s clothes too. Picture a girl who dreams of pink and purple sequins wearing dirt-stained toughskins and a ratty plaid shirt. Hmm…this might have something to do with my fashion choices today…

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