The Way We Wore
updated 09/15/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 09/15/1997 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Though the Monkees were dismissed as the Prefab Four, they exemplified the exuberant cross-cultural fashions of the era. While (from left) Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith were believers in Native American fringed suede and bead-work, Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz wore the jacket with stand-up collar named for Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The group's plumage reflected their calculated zaniness—and a new freedom of choice for men.
Fashion went to extremities when 19-year-old Twiggy (left), who at 5'6" and 92 lbs. was the prototypical waif model, adopted the miniskirt born on London's Carnaby Street. It proved to be a look with legs: The knee has been part of the fashion landscape ever since. Even in her earliest incarnation, Cher (with then-husband Sonny) showed a flair for the cutting edge. She was famous not only for long hair and bell-bottoms but, with her mate, epitomized the psychedelic influence of explosive, swirling colors.
Shortly before soft contact lenses were introduced, Beatle John Lennon started wearing English steel-rimmed health-service glasses, and trend watchers had eyes for small, round granny glasses. As single, 30-year-old Mary Richards, Mary Tyler Moore stood on her own two feet in the working-girl pantsuit, a look that swept the nation.
With flared trousers and shirt collars that stretched nearly to their shoulders, the Jackson Five (clockwise from top: Tito, Jackie, Jermaine, Michael and Marlon) made it seem as easy as ABC to multiply patterns and colors with abandon. Rounding out the look: the Afro, aka the natural, which hair-aided a new African-American standard of beauty.
When Dorothy Hamill struck Olympic gold, her wedge hairdo, designed by the late Suga, created a bigger stir than her "Hamill camel" spin. Burt Reynolds was at ease in a leisure suit, identifiable by, among other things, a texture unmatched in nature.
John Travolta (here in his street clothes, believe it or not) strutted on the dance floor in a tight, open-neck polyester shirt in 1977's Saturday Night Fever and became an emblem of the disco era. Afterward thousands of guys gave the look a twirl. Though the fad stayed alive only through the 70s, Travolta's memorable white Fever suit fetched 5145,500 at Christie's Manhattan auction house in 1995.
The gold-chain trend gave CHiPs star Erik Estrada a taste for necklaces. Later he showcased his sons' umbilical cords in a glass-faced locket.
With a bestselling book and triple-platinum album, Jane Fonda brought fitness to the fore. Hallmarks of her look: the striped leotard and that supremely superfluous accessory, the leg warmer. "There is something about leotards, tights and leg warmers," she told UPI, "that helps me to set this time apart from the rest of my day and makes it matter more."
Flashdance's Jennifer Beals inspired teens to shred their sweats, while Tom Cruise had it made in his shades in Risky Business. After he wore them, sales of Ray-Ban Wayfarers soared.
Miami Vice's Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas got men out of drab duds and into unconstructed jackets with T-shirts and no socks.
Madonna launched her Boy Toy clothing line—"sportswear for sex-pots," she called it—but wannabes had already copied her piles of junk jewelry, lace stockings and bustiers.
Run-DMC's Jason "Jam Master Jay" Mizell defined B-boy style: hat, sports logo T-shirt, track suit, gold chain and sneakers. After recording "My Adidas," Run signed hip hop's first sneaker contract.
Dressing Dynasty's Linda Evans (and Joan Collins), costume designer Nolan Miller was inspired by Joan Crawford's shoulder pads.
Rapper M.C. Hammer landed chute pants, or "Hammer pants fashion's front lines. In '91, Simplicity offered a $7.50 pattern—the first time it had featured a male celeb.
Teen idol Marky Mark gained followers (and a Calvin Klein contract) by exposing his briefs. "Women were always asking me to drop trou," he later told the Chicago Sun-Times, "and it got annoying."
On Melrose Place, Heather Locklear threw fashion a curve: the power minisuit with tight jacket.
Everything old is new again with the Spice Girls (from left, Mel B, Victoria, Geri, Emma and Mel C). Their platform shoes, hip-hugging bell-bottoms, postage-stamp skirts and bustiers are updated for the '90s with a pierced tongue and heaps of attitude.