I posted on Wednesday that I went to a wonderful musical called miXtape with my sister during the end of last month, which celebrates the music and events of the 80’s decade. Part of the fun of going to miXtape is that they encourage dressing the part, which my sister and I embraced fully. I dug out badges of my favorite groups, found my PopSwatch, piled on the bracelets and featured my spiked belt. These were all my accessory staples as a teen growing up in that awesome decade.
My sister arrived at my house with several “costume” choices, so that we could make sure we didn’t show up to the venue with the same shirt. This proved to be the right choice, because we both would have worn our Duran Duran shirts from the 1984 “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” tour. We also made conscious efforts to not wear any neon, sliced sweatshirts or workout gear. It puzzles me to this day as to why it is the common impression that everyone in the 80’s dressed that way. We wore what was called “mod” back then (kind of a “goth light”), and if you watch any British music show from the 80’s (like Top of the Pops), you’ll see that what we wore was more the norm.
When we arrived, we both were quickly aware that this wasn’t the regular night to wear 80’s gear. I later found out that it was “Ladies Night” and that wearing 80’s gear in a group of 10 or more meant a free beverage (but there was only my sister and I in our “group”). After the shock of seeing most of the viewing audience in regular play-going-evening-wear, we said “oh well” to each other and resigned to have fun regardless.
Oh what fun we had! It didn’t matter what genre of music was playing, we knew all the words and sang along. When it was a song by a group we loved, we sang a little louder. We stood up and cheered during the entire new wave section of the musical, and I think I squealed a little when they sang “Enjoy the Silence” by Depeche Mode. After the final curtain call, the band closed out by playing the entire song “I Melt With You” by Modern English. My sister and I stayed behind, danced the way we did when we were teens, singing all of the lyrics. The band pointed to us and waved, acknowledging our enthusiasm. As we danced, a few more people stayed and danced along with us.
Outside after the show, we breathlessly chatted like we did whenever we left a concert we loved, reminiscing about our favorite parts. We stood next to a couple who I overheard talking to another couple saying “There were these girls next to us who sang the entire time, ugh!” As we walked away, I asked if my sister heard them, which she didn’t. She did look back and said that they were the couple siting next to her, so I knew they were talking about us.
As I thought about it more and as my sister and I discussed it while walking to the car, we decided that it shouldn’t matter what others thought about what we wore or that we sang the entire time. We grew up in the featured decade of miXtape, and every moment brought back a flood of memories. When we initially walked in and thought “Uh-oh! No one else dressed up…”, we quickly got over those feelings because the point was to have a good time. The website clearly encouraged dressing up, and we weren’t about to pass up a fun opportunity.
Whenever the opportunity presents itself, we should definitely follow Romy and Michelle’s lead during events like this and just embrace who you are and enjoy the moment. They were happiest when they got out of their “Business Women” outfits and wore their own creations and danced, uncaring of the people who ridiculed them back in high school. I was one of those kids who were “left of center” and I still march to my own drummer. Outside of my family, fashion and music are very important aspects of my life and some of the best times were wrapped up in the decade of the 80’s. It was a time of my own self-expression, which really emerged though what I wore and what I listened to, which is what I believe the creators of miXtape were trying to evoke for those of us who grew up in that decade.
To quote Bella Q (again) of The Citizen Rosebud: Life offers options. Dress for it! Totally have a great weekend!