My Spring Fling With The 80s Cocktail Dress

My Spring Fling With The 80s Cocktail Dress


Recently I’ve become obsessed with a strapless, ruffled, tiered, taffeta dreamboat of an 80s dress that I have conjured up in my mind (nothing to do with the amount of Ab Fab I’ve been binging on, I’m sure.) And yet cannot execute myself.

To achieve true 80s prom queen brilliance, a la Kat’s sister’s tutu in 10 Things I Hate About You, you have to look no further than Saint Laurent. No tutus but plenty of gratuitous retro. The Topshop Archive candy pink strapless mini comes pretty close to the image I have in my head. But it is utterly unobtainable. Everyone who bought it full price must be enjoying it to its maximum capacity because there are NONE on eBay or Depop or the dark web. I looked for vintage on Brick Lane and I found a two-tone mauve ruffle BEAUT. But – sob – it was too small for my wider-than-average shoulders. Shoot me.

Anyway, tomorrow (and tomorrow is my BIRTHDAY) I’m thinking black Bowie tee with the sleeves rolled up, heart pattern tights, rose gold ankle boots and my strapless purple/electric blue metallic lace dress. It might appease my cocktail dress pining somewhat. I am also thinking of my Piers Atkinson unicorn veil headpiece, which I have hardly taken off since I bought it, and my new Urban Decay Electric palette on my eyes. Very subtle of course.


In addition to the above, I will also be wearing my NEW BIRTHDAY PRESENT MOSCHINO BELT, which is a lovely soft gold with pale pink. Dreamy. I’ve been thinking about the dress again. It has a lot to do with Mimi Wade’s debut Fashion East LFW show too, I believe. Cherries, lace, puff shoulders, cartoons, metallic, loud graphics, spaghetti straps and diamanté chokers. It was refined kitsch GLORY.

Phiney Pet S/S 14

To give my brain a break from the trauma of finding THE DRESS (wouldn’t it be beautiful in hot pink leopard print taffeta? Why does that not exist?), tomorrow is Saturday and I’ve been pondering potential outfits for a night out. Do I go gothic, with my metallic jacquard gypsy dress from Zara, with my Biba x Vivienne Sherriff black sequin and feather dramatic headpiece? Pro: this combo will give me total freedom to dance as much as possible with no waistband restrictions. #Priorities. Or do I go for my Louise Gray for Topshop red & purple zigzag sequin t-shirt dress, which will need to be worn with Moschino belt? Cons: BELT. FOOD. NIGHT OUT.


I decided on the stomach-freeing jacquard Zara dress, of course. Holla to the weekend!! I’ve eaten an exceptional amount of birthday dinner and discovered prosecco goes very nicely with Tesco Finest apricot brandy, i.e. had a hugely successful night.

An 80s strapless ruffle dress in a metallic jacquard would be something actually, wouldn’t it? My friend recently showed me an amazing website, where you upload your design and they weave it into a jacquard for you. Just think of the possibilities! Leopard print jacquard in metallic pink and orange, I think so. I can’t decide at the moment if the dress in my dreams is strapless, tiered and ruffled like the vintage ones (Vivien Smith is a great example), strapless and puffball like the true trashy 80s ones, or if it’s ruffle trim babydoll like the amazing Jacquemus silver version. Shall I even bother to make my mind up?

Anyway, it’s Sunday tomorrow so I will not be getting dressed and will be wearing my pyjamas all day long.


As I promised/threatened yesterday, I absolutely did not get dressed. Instead, I thought about what to wear on April Fool’s Day. Sequins and Moschino, or maybe sequins and Moschino – or perhaps sequins and Moschino?

Another good thing: I’ve just remembered it’s Easter the first weekend I’m back in London. This will be an amazing opportunity to wear my new Kenzo x H&M coat in public (#fashun) (have I done the hashtag quip one too many times in this piece?). For this, I am definitely thinking large fishnet tights, pink paper lamé puffball mini skirt and my new Girls Bite Back graphic tee, a steal from Tigers Eye vintage. And plenty of jewellery, plus a bit of a veil headpiece. I really very much want some glitter fishnets but as of yet have been too stingy to pay more than a fiver for them. That might need to change. I also think I might go full fashion-twat and wear sunglasses with the outfits, despite it only just being spring in London. Stylish.

I’m aware I haven’t really spoken about the dress today. That’s down to the fact that I’ve revisited the Mimi Wade presentation and now I have added a puff shoulder, lace trim, bodycon, long sleeve, graphic print midi dress with a square neckline into the mix. How am I going to locate and own these FOUR coveted dresses? I need them all for spring, honestly, I do.


The pursuit for the dress has been dominated by the Mimi Wade style number in these last few hours, which leads me to question – is this true love I’m feeling? If I can be so fickle between the one, two, three, four that I adore? Or is it, as my title suggests, a lustful fling? I worry I may just be feeding into my own worst consumerist excesses. A victim of my own psychology and another hapless victim of the relentless fashion trend cycle. Do I want it so much because I can’t have it? And more importantly, once I get it, will it just be cast aside into the back of my wardrobe after one heavenly wear?

It would be easy to claim lust. But the thought of a sequin turtleneck under a hot pink acetone strapless midi length ruffled cocktail number and some platforms gives me butterflies. A puff shoulder long sleeve graphic number makes my head spin. The elusive Topshop Archive mini worn over a graphic tee and with strappy heeled sandals sends my heart into overdrive. METALLIC JACQUARD (I’m now thinking vivid turquoise and pink) in a puffball shape causes me to swoon. And I am so far from owning them all.

Existential musings aside, the search goes on. The fickle pursuit continues. 

The course of true love never did run smooth, I guess.


Written by Elle Shoel,


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Juliene ZigerliToga Virilis Spring/Summer 2016Phiney Pet S/S 14Toga Virilis Spring/Summer 2016