Tag Archives: 1980’s

Reclaim Those Mom Jeans

I have waited 25 years or more for this day.

In my student days, these were my favourite pair of jeans.

They were second-hand, distressed, men’s 501’s, I bought from some trendy, independent clothes shop in the Cardiff arcades. They were too big on the waist, so I synched them in with a wide, brown suede belt but they were the perfect length for my short legs. I wore them with brogues or red leather baseball boots and they became my college uniform.

During my late teens, I never wore jeans or trousers, I was strictly a dress and skirts girl. I liked to feel feminine and also found jeans restrictive and uncomfortable. That is, until I discovered the soft, loose quality of these amazing jeans. I wore them until holes appeared and then hand embroidered cross stitch patches to repair them.

I don’t remember when I let them go. Most likely holes appeared in places I could no longer patch or perhaps they went out of fashion? Since the early 90’s, I have never found another pair of jeans that I loved so much. The boot cut, low-rise, that came into fashion next were fine for my pre-motherhood flat stomach and the low slung combat jeans were a close second but not quite as comfy as those 501’s.

Then there were skinny jeans – great with boots and long sweaters but even with extensive lycra, never really felt comfortable to me. A few weeks ago, I was shopping with my teenage daughter and the shop assistant was wearing a pair of jeans that looked just like my old faithful’s. I complemented her and told her how much they reminded me of my jeans from my student days. My daughter told me they were called ‘mom jeans’ and were really fashionable.

Mom jeans are high-waisted, with a baggy fit around the zipper and legs. The name was coined from jeans your mom wore in the 80’s and early 90’s and were originally seen as unflattering and unfashionable. But somehow, teenage girls have realised how amazingly comfortable and flattering these jeans are and brought them back.

I was overcome with excitement! I could finally find a comfortable pair of jeans, where my middle-aged belly wouldn’t creep over the top and I could sit down in all day without feeling I had been cut in two. But then the dilemma – they are not called mom jeans because they are for moms but because they used to be worn by moms. Is it okay for a woman in her late 40’s to wear the jeans a teenager would wear?

My teen seemed to think it was, so I bit the bullet and bought them. I love them, they are comfortable, they make my waist look small and they are the perfect length for my little legs. They have a few too many rips for my liking, as a sensible mother, I feel they may wear in too quickly and I don’t want to give them up!

I’ve had to adapt my wardrobe slightly with some shorter tops and a pair of shoes (they really don’t work with boots). I love them, perhaps because they are nostalgic, perhaps because they are comfortable. Either way, I urge all middle-aged women to reclaim those mom jeans. Why should the teenagers have all the fun? Although maybe if we all start wearing them, they will quickly go out of fashion. Perhaps I should stockpile them while I still can.

Do You Remember Perms, White Stilettos and Frankie Says Relax T-shirts? Pop Stars In my Pantry will have you dancing on the ceiling.

a memoir of pop mags and clubbing in the 80's

Since I first heard about  Pop Stars in My Pantry – A Memoir of Pop Mags and Clubbing in the 1980’s, I have been eagerly awaiting its release. When I was a child, my dad and his friends would play 60’s music and talk about what they were doing when particular records came out. He used to say “One day you’ll talk about 80’s music like this’, but I could never see how ‘my’ music could ever be thought of nostalgically.

In the early 80’s, when Paul Simper was embarking on his career as a music journalist, I was still at Primary School. Even at the tender age of 10, every Tuesday, I would race home for lunch, grab my pocket radio and run back to school. Our group of friends would huddle around the radio listening to the lunchtime announcement of the top 40 on Radio 1, hoping that the bell would be late so we could make it to number 1 before we were called to line up.

80's teen
Me at 14
By 1983, I was approaching my teens and had fallen madly in love with Wham, Duran Duran and Spandau Ballet. I read Smash Hits every week, memorising lyrics from my favourite songs and plastering pull out posters over my bedroom wall. Like most of my friends, I would record the top 40 onto cassette tape, pausing after every song to cut out the talky bit in between. Sometimes, I’d even tape music shows on television with my little cassette recorder (possibly before we had a video recorder).  My husband challenges me sometimes, to see how many 80’s songs I can recognise from playing the intro. He loves how many I know from just the first few notes.

It won’t come as a surprise then, that I  expected Pop Stars in My Pantry to be an indulgent treat for an 80’s music fan like myself.  What I didn’t anticipate however, was sitting on my hands in a coffee shop, to suppress the urge to jump up and down flapping my arms, like my teenage daughter, when she got tickets to see her favourite band. The cause of such uncharacteristic, emotive demonstration? Simper’s account of his interview with Kate Bush; almost as exciting as meeting her in the flesh. This was one of many similar moments, as stories of my teen idols revealed themselves.

Pop Stars in my Pantry is much more than an account of interviews with the stars. It is an immersive chronicle of the 80’s music and club scene. It’s about a time when young journalists and music stars moved in the same circles, danced together, drank together and were friends with one another. For me, it demystified many of my teenage heroes like George Michael, and made me admire them more. I loved hearing about big events like the Wham farewell concert, Prince’s after show parties and a New York trip to interview Sade, but the smaller everyday moments, paint a perfect picture of the era and transported me to my youth.

80's style, Laura Ashley dresses and doc martins
My 17th birthday, the Laura Ashley dress and Doc Martins phase.
It took me back to a time when music and fashion were everything. To digress slightly,  Paul Simper is married to an old school friend of mine, who as a 16 -year -old, I idolised. She introduced me to some of my all time favourite music – the Cocteau Twins and David Bowie’s Hunky Dory. She showed me cool, independent clothes shops. We memorised the whole of a Lloyd Cole album together and poured over magazines with brooding black and white photos of beautiful people. We were inseparable, until I found my first boyfriend and sadly (and with hindsight regrettably)  the intensity of first love, left little room for such an earnest friendship, and we soon followed our own paths. I’m not surprised at all that she ended up with someone with so many great stories to tell.

Pop Stars in my Pantry is funny, honest, revealing and tremendously exciting.  It is the absolutely perfect book for anyone who grew up in the 80’s and I can’t wait to share it with all my friends.If you didn’t grow up in the 80’s, read it anyway, as it will give you a wonderful taste of life back then.  I was excited before I read it, I’m even more enthusiastic after.

Pop Stars in My Pantry is currently available in the UK  (this link and all links in this post are Amazon Affiliate links meaning if you purchase a product using this link I will receive a small commission)

If you’ve read the book and are craving more, check out these audio clips from Paul Simper’s interviews with the Stars. I challenge you to wipe the grin from your face.