Am I remembering the 1980's wrong?

The show “Freaks and Geeks” is supposed to be set in the early 1980’s, IIRC. I noticed that the hairstyles and fashions aren’t what I remember. I was in highschool in the early '80s, and I remember big hair and the preppy look, and Valley Girl talk for the girls. And the guys wore nice pants and a shirt and tie, and had Duran Duran hair (I’m talking the majority here. There were some that didn’t dress like that).

I don’t see that in the TV show. I’m not THAT old that I can’t remember hair and fashions from high school! Anyone else notice that?

Sometimes life is so great you just gotta muss up your hair and quack like a duck!

Well, you have to cut the costume designer some slack. Motley Crue “theatre of pain” t-shirts and velcro-close kangaroos sneakers are hard to come by these days.

The few remaining black and white checkerboard Vans sneakers are perminatly sweat stained because of the whole “Miami Vice” Don Johnson no-socks phase, and a vintage Gunny Sax off-the-shoulder dress just fetched 100 thousand at auction at Southebys, making true authenticity prohibitive.

Adam “Inky” Greene

Isn’t the show set in 1980? If so, there was a big fashion change around 1982 or so, and the show wouldn’t reflect that.

I was in high school in 1979-1980, and as I recall the standard wear was jeans and a T-shirt. The metal heads wore torn jeans and jean jackets with giant AC-DC logos on the back (with requisite long frizzy hair). There were preppies, but I don’t recall ties and stuff. Mostly sweaters and slacks.

The 80’s started out with Stayin’ Alive didn’t it? I distinctly remember Barry Gibb being my major love interest in the 8th grade, which would have been 1980. So think of those awful polyester pants, close fitting jeans, shiny tops. And big hair.

During my high school years, there was a “prairie” look that was popular. I remember the prairie skirts, boots, and vest.

I also remember getting a perm where I asked the lady to give me a “Sue Ellen” perm. Think “Dallas” and “Dynasty.” Big, bleached hair and big shoulder pads. Lots of pink makeup.

Hey I still have my checkerboard vans and they’re in pretty good shape!

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Ties? In HIGH SCHOOL? Are we talking about the 1980s or the 1880s?

Male teachers at my high school (midwestern US, class of 1982) generally did wear ties, but students did not unless there was something special going on (I think the football coaches encouraged/required varsity team members to wear ties on Fridays during football season, for example).

Jeans were much, much more common than slacks for both sexes. The shirt of choice among males was often a T-shirt, though oxford-cloth shirts (often worn two at a time, preferably with an animal of some kind embroidered on the pocket) were up there in the running also.

I don’t recall velcro shoes at all. Some kind of lace-up sneakers or topsiders (without socks, generally worn by the same people who wore two oxford-cloth shirts at the same time) were popular.

I remember big hair. Really big hair. Sweaters tied over the shoulder. Ties, yes, but those really skinny ones. Izod shirts & topsiders. I don’t rmemeber much else, but that’s really because I didn’t much care for the 80’s (except the music), and I’m pretty glad they’re over. :slight_smile:

Yep…the guys wore ties in my school. If not a tie, then a dressy shirt.

By the way…the word in the hair industry is that big hair is coming back. Let’s see if that happens.

Sometimes life is so great you just gotta muss up your hair and quack like a duck!

We sure didn’t, but it was a rural school; you were more likely to see a student wearing overalls than a student wearing a tie (again, with the exception of special events). Also, this was early 80s, and styles may have changed later in the decade and probably were different on the coasts anyway.

I don’t remember ties being particularly skinny then, though the six inch wide clown ties that people had worn several years before that had definitely gone out of style.

What I do remember are knitted ties, which always looked to me as if you couldn’t find your tie and had decided to wear your kid brother’s wool scarf instead in the hopes that no one would notice.

MaryAnnQ, I haven’t seen the show in question. What ARE they wearing, and where is the show supposed to be set?

Nope, ties WERE skinny back then, and preferably either black leather or had a piano keyboard design on them.


The show is on Saturdays at 7pm central time. They are wearing 1990s hair and clothing. And I can’t remember where it’s set (as in what city), it’s all about highschool and how people were mean to the kids that were not up to the popular kids standards. It focuses on those kids (the “geeks” in the title).

Sometimes life is so great you just gotta muss up your hair and quack like a duck!

What channel, MaryAnnQ?


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Don’t forget linen blazers with the sleeves pushed up to the elbows. And nylon parachute pants. And leg warmers for girls, and pants tucked into those mid-calf boots for guys

Actually I guess that stuff was more MID-eighties gear.

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I don’t know why they bother. “Square Pegs” was the seminal early eighties TV show.


Oh geez…I musta had a dozen pair of those. But I took a lot of dance lessons then, too.

I just remembered another horrible '80’s fashion thing for girls, too…knickers, argyle socks, & topsiders.

As someone else has already said, I think the difference is that the show is set in the very early eighties (live '80 or '81), which really is more the late seventies – knit shirts and velour, and wingy “feathered” hair. The looks that most people consider “eighties” (ripped sweatshirts, anyone?) were later than that. I thought the costuming was accurate for the very early eighties and, ironically, it only looks “nineties” because kids today have reached back to the late seventies for fashion. And the guys in my high school wore skinny knit or leather ties too, and we’re hardly leaders in the fashion world here in Montana.

Jodi (Class of '87)

I have just recovered from the overwhelming stitch in my side acquired from ROTFLMAO…

Let’s see…
Piano tie - check
Linen blazer - check
checkerboard vans - check (does anyone remember the mesh shoes? I’ve still got a pair of those somewhere…)
sweater tied over shoulders - check

I haven’t seen rugby pants mentioned yet; was that a CDN thing?

Whether you love 'em or hate 'em, listen to the Barenaked Ladies song “Grade 9” - it pretty much sums it up…

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Just like today’s 70’s-type clothes aren’t exactly as I remember them (where’s the plaid polyester pantsuits? If I had to wear them, so do you, punk) The Wedding Singer really bothered me. NO girl in the 80’s would wear her hair like Drew’s. Parted in the middle and straight? No way man. I’m a history major and clothes horse, so if any little thing is wrong with a show or movie, it totally ruins it.

“On the edge of sleep, I awoke to a sun so bright…”

You can actually still get the checkerboard Vans shoes. They still make them exactly the same, so they don’t have that as an excuse, haha. If you don’t live near a Vans store they probably sell them on a website or something.

I agree about Drew’s hair in TWS.