Upcycling Vintage Tees: ’80s Style
Welcome to the ’80s: cutting the neckline clean off of your oversized vintage tees has returned to the world of Gen Z fashion. As I returned to my college campus with the summer months dwindling, I noticed an influx of off-the-shoulder tops and exposed collarbone, seemingly reminiscent of the MTV decade. With temperatures starting to cool, this renewed trend seamlessly transitions summer to autumn with one clothing staple. Upcycling vintage tees are here to stay thanks to ’80s inspiration.
First notably introduced in the 1980s, this was the decade of the shoulder. From massively puffy sleeves to shoulder pads, drawing the eye’s attention upward became a staple. Yet, a more risqué take on the shoulder attention appeared, and has returned in a cyclical fashion ever since. In fact, Jennifer Beals’ iconic “Bad Girl Shoulder” in Adrian Lyne’s 1983 film Flashdance changed fashion historically. The name is suggestive in itself. The media influenced this generation’s teens to rebel against modesty and uncover the ever elusive shoulder. Moreover, Alan Parker’s Fame debuted the “DOD” or “Dancer Off Duty” look, also present in 2023 style. Repurposing a baggy crew neck by simply snipping the neckline breathes new life into an old piece.
Cozy leg warmers coupled with statement layers populate TikTok with “OOTDs” or “Outfit of the Day” videos. As I scrolled through my own “For You Page”, I watched video after video explaining how to cut your tee of choice just right. I even found myself digging through my own drawers, searching for t-shirts I hadn’t worn in years to fit in with the crowd. The idea of upcycling clothes has always been present in the world of fashion, but in an era attempting to replicate the 1990s, this caught me off guard. Many are going as far as to thrift a vintage tee and then proceeding to refurbish it, adding an extra layer of authenticity. I might sift through my mom’s closet.
The featured images provided are courtesy of © Paramount Pictures.