Volcanic Ensembles

Style in our favorite 1980s movies.

Bad girls and good boys on the run, rich kids from L.A., a Brooklyn babymama, and Otis Redding-loving geeks are the ’80s movie characters that we will be admiring here today. If your closet needs some shaking up, throw on some lace, a blazer, and some white creepers and pump up some ’80s jams on your boombox. LET’S DO IT.

Rose lace shirt, $23, Forever 21; cross bracelet, $15, ASOS; Egyptian-style hoops, $10, Girlprops; multicross necklace, $15, ASOS; boots, $295, Nasty Gal; embellished leggings, $64, ASOS Curve; sunglasses, $10, Girlprops.

Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) is one of the greatest fashion movies of the ’80s because not only was it a good display of Madonna’s game-changing style at the time, which was see-through black lace, layer upon layer of rosaries, and studded, high-heeled boots, but the plot revolved around a piece of clothing, the infamous pyramid jacket, and a pair of stolen Egyptian earrings. Am I sensing a theme here? There were actually replicas of the jacket made when the movie came out that are now collector’s items.You can also find reproductions like this one on Etsy. Unfortunately I don’t have a clever DIY for us to make our own just yet. In the meantime, follow Madonna’s lace-gloved lead and have fun accessorizing like a madwoman with stacked rubber bracelets and crosses, crosses, EVERYWHERE!

Pink blazer, $57, Chicwish; Pisces brooch, $62, Ebuni; white creepers, $162, ASOS; fedora, $12, Forever 21; sunglasses, $39, Urban Outfitters; floral print shirt, $32, Romwe; suspenders, $18, American Apparel; bolo tie, $15, Cavenders.

The characters in Pretty in Pink (1986) have some of the best ensembles in any ’80s movie, so it was hard to decide who to write about. We all know Molly Ringwald is an inspiration herself, and don’t get me started on her eclectic record-store boss and my own personal style icon, Iona, played by Annie Potts. But let’s all lay our cards on the table and look each other straight in the eyes here: the guy who takes the cake is DEFINITELY Andie’s sidekick/unrequited lover, Duckie. Take a gander at this scene, melt, collect yourself and continue with this article. OK, are we ready? Since Duckie is a master of pattern-worship, I think a Duckette would wear tons of wild prints and bright blazers and accessorize with cool, celestial-themed bolo ties and an assortment of brooches. Scour flea markets and Etsy to start your own collection of crazy pins and start a bad crush on yourself.

Blazer, $110, ASOS Curve; colorblock wedges, $26, Go Jane; earrings, $13, ASOS; red lipstick, Urban Decay's In Revolution, $22; silk thigh-highs, Hansel From Basel, $32; body-con skirt, $11, Forever 21.

Less Than Zero (1987) is a tale of high school friends caught up in a seedy world of drugs and rich-people problems post-graduation. At least Jami Gertz’s character always looked pretty slammin’. She was sleek and professional in black blazers and pencil skirts, but added accessories like big earrings, bright red lipstick, and hot-pink handkerchiefs peeking out of pockets. Do the same in an all-black ensemble, like this black blazer from ASOS Curve and silk stockings from Hansel and Basel. Then add your hints of pink with your shoes and lipstick.

Crochet Lace Puff Dress, $50, Romwe; earrings, $13, Modcloth; necklace, $24, Modcloth; boots, $90 Romwe.

It wasn’t hard to see why young piano virtuoso Danny (River Phoenix), whose family was on the run from the law, fell hard for Lorna (Martha Plimpton) in Running on Empty (1988). (They dated in real life too!) Her style was mostly casual, but some outfits, like her cream-colored peasant dress and black boots, looked effortlessly stylish. I myself want these buckle boots from Romwe. Add one piece of statement jewelry, like this gold necklace or these earrings, both from Modcloth. God, River was so HOT in that movie…

Red dress, $27, American Apparel; earrings, $15, Topshop; nameplate necklace, $58, Eve's Addiction; red tights, $4.50, Forever 21; Aversa wedge sneaker, $198, Nasty Gal; coil ring, $11, ASOS; LOVE ring, $11, ASOS; belt, $28, Topshop.

In Do the Right Thing (1989) Rosie Perez played Tina, the girlfriend-slash-babymama of Mookie (Spike Lee), a pizza-delivery guy dealing with race battles in his Bed-Stuy neighborhood. In the opening credits we see Rosie busting some funky moves to Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power” in an all-red outfit. I love it when someone dresses like a walking crayon! I like how she has a thing for bows, too. All-gold jewelry is another key to dressing like Tina, and while you’re at it, put a nameplate necklace at the top of your wish list. I’m wearing my own “Marie” one right now. Pardon me while I put on my Pumas and start learning this routine.


  • pandora321 May 9th, 2012 11:06 PM

    molly is amazing.

  • hannachronism May 9th, 2012 11:07 PM

    I love all these outfits and can we just discuss what an amazing outspoken and political feminist Martha Plimpton is? Following her and the organization she co-founded ( on twitter has educated me so much and helped my awareness of what is going on with the war on women. Thanks to her, I became aware of a protest happening down the street from me with Unite Women and Planned Parenthood that I was able to participate in. She’s been a huge inspiration for me on a feminist and political scale and I just love and respect her so much.
    She’s also HILARIOUS on Raising Hope and in 200 Cigarettes which I adore.

    • Tara May 10th, 2012 9:57 AM

      I didn’t know about this! that’s wonderful and makes me love her more.

  • SpencerBowie May 9th, 2012 11:53 PM

    SHUT UP ROOKIE!!! Y’all are seriously in my HEAD!!!

    Desperately Seeking Susan is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE MOVIE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Madonna looks amazeing and sooo inspiring in that movie! I love how she plays sportswear with thrift shop and punk/new wave bondage!

    Just love! ……kinda creeped out y’all are in my head….love ya tho!

    Pluse……I am Duckie. Period. :)

  • KinuKinu May 10th, 2012 12:15 AM

    Aw, this is awesome :D
    All of these outfits are super rad and I will try my hardest to embody POWER in my outfits this month…..that will prove difficult since most of my clothes are pastels and too cute for power. I want to watch Desperately Seeking Susan because Madonna is awesome.
    I want a pair of creepers SO BAD…..knowing that I will never have them is almost painful. WHY?!?
    Anyways, this awesome and isn’t Desperately Seeking Susan on Netflix?

    • unefillecommetoi May 10th, 2012 1:04 AM

      why would you not get creepers if you want them? always get what you want! power! hahah that’s what ebay is for, anyway :)

  • Susann May 10th, 2012 1:13 AM

    Seems like I have to catch up with watching some of those movies… the styles are great!

  • Adrienne May 10th, 2012 1:41 AM

    Rookie is always amazing with fashion! I love this so much. The first two movies in this article are my favorite looks.

  • Caden May 10th, 2012 1:44 AM


    I would have picked him. Don’t even remember the guy she ended up with…

    Caden x

  • andy May 10th, 2012 1:59 AM

    may i just say how awesome it is that there was plus sized clothing featured without any remark of it being plus-sized. rookie actually represents women<333

  • mayaautumn May 10th, 2012 2:08 AM

    eeek:O! power is definitely the best month for amazing style!

  • Nikilodeon May 10th, 2012 2:09 AM

    can i just say i SPAZZED when i saw running on empty!! sigh. rookie, what can i say, you are my movie soulmate.

  • myy May 10th, 2012 2:41 AM

    Love Love LOVE Duckie!!!
    I need to catch up on a couple of those other films though . . .

  • Paola May 10th, 2012 4:55 AM


  • Eliza May 10th, 2012 6:30 AM

    I LOVE the dance routine! This is the first time I am watching a girl dance like that. She does not give shit about being graceful or sensuous. She just has a hell lot of passion within and she wants to let it out! *Not a single fuck was given that day!*

  • Narnie May 10th, 2012 7:56 AM

    yes less than zero

  • oriGINAlity95 May 10th, 2012 8:40 AM

    I literally freak out every time I watch Desperately Seeking Susan, I love the movie, but the clothing just gets to me SO much I have the urge to go thrifiting right then and there (which sucks because it’s normally late at night but whatever) and put on as much jewelry as humanly possible. Watching it is really bad for my health, but I’ve endured. Once again Rookie gets me going!!

  • Tara May 10th, 2012 9:56 AM

    wow, Running on Empty is here?! I LOVE THAT FILM! and she’s such a stylish character (not to mention a wonderful one in general). river was beautiful. so beautiful I could cry. and they were so cute together my goodness…. also the presence of pretty in pink makes me happy. ducky is the best. this style article is fantastic and now I want to dress 80′s.

  • Lou922 May 10th, 2012 2:20 PM

    I want to BE Duckie.

  • teenager May 10th, 2012 3:43 PM

    so this is like, my dream post. I want it all, especially those shoes from the Pretty in Pink set! GAH.

  • Lascelles May 10th, 2012 8:16 PM

    I have a sinking feeling that Rookie will get through this month without mentioning Corey… one or both :D

  • Kaleidoscopeeyes May 11th, 2012 12:13 AM

    I can always tell when Marie is the writer because I’ll see words like “menz” in there.

  • sn0wwhite May 12th, 2012 11:18 PM

    This is seriously the best article ever.
    I love Duckie!

  • lavendersparrow May 13th, 2012 8:01 PM

    I love Desperately Seeking Susan and Pretty in Pink. I love all the “Brat Pack” movies and actors, especially Molly Ringwald. Another good 80′s movie is The Breakfast Club.

  • gossiprag May 13th, 2012 9:17 PM

    madonna is the best. you forgot “shanghai surprise”, though

  • amelia May 14th, 2012 6:48 AM

    i love this. the 80s are basically one of my main obsessions, and my friends are always telling me i look like i stepped out of an 80s movie… weirdly enough these clothes arent the most flattering on anyone, and yet when you see them on screen you just wish you live 25 years ago so you could wear them!

  • chelsear May 15th, 2012 8:49 PM

    I am obsessed with Duckie Dale! I actually wrote a blog post about his style a while back. Check it out: