they got the beat

March 23, 2016 in photo play, stop look & listen by editor



This rockin’ 1987 fashion show was a featured segment on ‘Dancin’ On Air’, a syndicated after-school TV dance program taped in Philadelphia. Set to the sounds of an all-too obvious David Bowie tune, it showcased the season’s ‘pulled together denim looks’ as worn by the show’s most popular dancers. It’s hard to decide what’s more to love here, the fashions or the color-commentary. Host Andy Gury describes the looks as ‘fast-moving’, ‘total cool’, and ‘Elvis couldn’t have done it better’. And, pray tell, what’s a ‘skunzie’?

At first, the outfits mixed with the dance moves make for a hilariously dated combo (and the hair, oh god the hair). However, remove the make-up and the hairspray, and damn if these are not clothes we’d kill to find in a thrift shop. Perhaps the head-to-toe stone wash is a bit much, and the oversized jacket worn with oversized pants, worn with oversized shirt overdoses on volume. But scale back the proportions and pull apart the outfits and you’ll discover smart layering and individual pieces that are could easily be worn today. Plus, those boots are everything!

The show was like a mini informercial for JC Penney and you can see a lot of the clothing clearer in this Penney’s advertising spread that was run in the August 1987 issue of Seventeen.

1980s denim fashion from JC Penney 1980s denim fashion from JC Penney
1987 denim fashion from JC Penney 1987 denim fashion from JC Penney