1980s cocktail dresses that I can wear NOW

I had a little revelation today, during a trip to the V&A museum’s Club to Catwalk exhibition with my fashion journalism class…

Prattling on to my students about ideas they could use for their next assignment (a blog post no less: oh to be a university student in the 21st century), I was trawling through my own thoughts for related bloggage. And during that process I stumbled upon a little realisation.

The lightbulb switched on because the reason I’m in love with early-80s cocktail dresses is that I wasn’t allowed to wear them the first time around.

Growing up in the 80s I remember nagging my mum for everything from drainpipes to deely boppers, and (quite rightly) being denied.

I was the tender age of nine or 10 at the time, so she was pretty unlikely to sanction a strapless cocktail dress – and rightly so.

But that desperate longing for frills and fancy and ruched bust detailing just never quite went away, and now I’m a grown up (and the rest) I still find myself daydreaming about such things.

In today’s exhibiton, I fell deeply in love with two examples of fantasy 80s eveningwear: a John Galliano floaty muslin evening dress in pale pink and a “Birds Wing” evening dress by Antony Price. Both awesome examples of 80s going out wear and so much nicer than the foul knits that were doing the rounds at the same time (the knitted skirt? NO THANK YOU.)

I’ve got a few choice vintage pieces from the 80s in my wardrobe, but I could certainly handle more. The cocktail dress above, a bright shocking pink number from Peekaboo Vintage @ ASOS Marketplace will do for starts. Fully lined and fully frilled it is reduced to £37.50 in the sale. Get in.

And this time around, no one can stop me (unless my mum rings and pleads a convincing case – I’m prolly getting too old now so she would be in the right again!)

Image: Peekaboo Vintage

Written by Johanna Payton