When it comes to controversial trends, neon's at the top of the list. But despite its infamous past, we've recently been seeing the reflective color scheme in a new, gentler light. Among other kitschy trends, from beaded bags to cowrie shell jewelry, neon has found a way to shed its tacky history and take on a more sophisticated approach. And since we now have the (slime) green light to tackle our spring wardrobes, we're keen to get this reinvented color-way off our warm-weather inspo boards and into our closets.
OK, let's go back to the fashion vibes of the 80's, Learn how to master the style of neon in spring and summer.
The 1980s had music artists singing songs about wearing sunglasses at night and about having to put them on because the future’s so bright. Perhaps they were also referring to all the neon people were wearing at the time. Some people called the color fluorescent, but they meant the same thing. Clothes were just so bright. Whether it was neon green, neon yellow, or neon blue, it was still neon, and my god was it bright.
80s Music Icons Like Madonna Made Neon Fashionable
What compelled all those people to wear those loud colors that today, in hindsight, may appear a tad garish? Historians and sociologists have offered different explanations, and many of them make sense.
Rock with you by Michael Jackson
Undoubtedly, some of the credit (or blame, if you’re not exactly enamored of the neon trend) can be laid at the feet of the entertainment industry. In the movies, it was a big thing. The use of bright colors in the movies was the return of Hollywood to the ideals of innocence and youth. With John Hughes movies focusing on high school life and innocent travails (will I go to the prom, and with whom?) and movies ending on a happy note, the film industry was veering away from the gritty realism of 1970s cinema, were everything seemed in shades of black and gray, the heroes were really anti-heroes, and everyone had a tragic ending.
Neon was a big part of those movies, and the stars all wore neon, so of course the moviegoers wore neon too. Following movie styles is a recurring trend in any decade.
And then there was TV. Not only were the shows lighter and brighter than their 1970s predecessors, but there was also MTV. The MTV animation was unabashedly colorful, and a new medium called music videos were invading homes all over the country. And since everyone seemed to wear neon in those videos, so did the teens who watched them continuously.
But it wasn’t just the movies and MTV which were responsible for the rise of neon. It was the people of the 80s themselves. The neon colors just perfectly symbolized the rise of optimism all over the country.
You have to understand just how colorless the 1970s were and how it seemed to dampen the American spirit. The 1970s were characterized by the rise of crime in the cities, the increasing use of drugs, the oil embargo and the recession that followed it, the resignation of Nixon and the resulting distrust of government and authority, and the Carter administration which saw the hostage taking in the US embassy in Iran.
Then suddenly the 1980s came, and everything was changing. Optimism was in the air. Reagan had a more successful foreign policy, the recession was lifting, Wall Street was offering lots of money to investors, and the youth was embracing new music and new styles.
Neon clothing became popular because it was new, it was youthful, and it was certainly bright and cheerful. And you can certainly say the same for the entire decade of the 1980s, when you compare it to the 1970s.
The spring/summer 2019 catwalks saw several retro trends re-emerge. There were tie-dye cycling shorts and shoulder padded power suits, but the one eighties trend that there really was no escaping from was neon.
Fluorescent shades already hit the fashion scene last year, hitting micro-trend status largely thanks to the Kardashians. But, those of us who thought the in-your-face look was nothing more than a passing Instagram trend are about to be proven wrong. The SS19 catwalks of New York, London, Milan and Paris confidently championed lime green, blinding yellow, extra hot pink and flame orange.
Proving that the trend is going to be sticking around for quite some time. Here's how to wear it in the coming months.
If you're looking for a beginner's guide on how to style bright hues, start with a casual streetwear aesthetic.
Be prepared to shine brighter than the sun this summer.