Flashdance is credited with singlehandedly defining ’80s fashion.
That’s a big statement, but looking back at Jennifer Beals in her breakthrough role, it’s kind of hard to disagree. Thirty-five years ago this April 15, she captured our hearts as Alex, the Pittsburgh steelworker by day and exotic dancer by night.
It really is true that so much of what we think of when we picture ’80s fashion can be found in Flashdance, starting with an obsession with fitness and the emergence of athleisure. From headbands to leg warmers, workout gear gave the film its flavor.
Leggings and leotards are just two items from the movie that are experiencing a major revival. Same goes for the one-shouldered, asymmetrical look that can be seen everywhere right now — including on Kerry Washington.
On the catwalks, Flashdance references range from the oblique to the obvious. Phillip Plein Spring 2018 kicked athleisure up a notch, topping off a monochrome swimsuit and pants combo with voluminous, retro waves just to see if everyone was watching for ’80s vibes. Needless to say, we were.
Of course, athletic wear is so prevalent on modern sidewalks that it’s safe to say athleisure is not longer just a trend — more a way of life. Just ask off-duty models like Gigi Hadid or Alessandra Ambrosio, not to mention celebs like Rita Ora.
So, it’s probably not fair to say that whenever you see someone wearing a neutral toned sweatshirt with a ripped collar slipped down over one shoulder, they’re channelling Jennifer Beals. But chances are good that that’s exactly what they’re doing.
Of course, there are a lot of other ways to rock Flashdance 2.0 athleisure. Just take a closer look at the off-the-shoulder trend. Pretty much any layered outfit is fair game, but if you really want to evoke the film, slip on a tank top underneath.
We owe all of these resurfaced ’80s to Flashdance. On behalf of contemporary style, all we can say is thank you, Jennifer Beals. — jas