Fashion Flashback: Stranger Things 2’s Nostalgic Return to 1980’s Style
Unless you’ve been trapped in “the upside down,” you have most likely been binge watching Stranger Things 2 along with the rest of the world. This season we get introduced to Kali, Eleven’s long-lost “sister,” who escaped from the Hawkins lab long before Eleven did. Newbie to the cast, Linnea Berthelsen, let the hair and makeup crew transform her into an ’80s style rebel straight out of Sid and Nancy. Kali and her gang of misfits dig into an underground style that strays from the wholesome Molly-Ringwald-esque style the rest of Hawkins embodies (think Nancy and her pretty-popular-girl aura), bringing a new edge to the sci-fi series.
Clad in an oversized cargo style jacket, with the sleeves rolled up à la-Breakfast Club, and fingerless gloves, Kali is a beacon of the 1980’s anti-fashion movement that the punk scene was so keen on representing. Not only do Kali and her crew express their lives as outcasts through the way they dress in oversized jackets decorated with pins, studded collars, and bulky layers, but they also embody the irrepressible attitude that came along with going against the system. Their vigilante, Dexter attitude (killing those that have harmed them) and serving justice in their little family they created on their own. They take on the anarchist vibe of doing it yourself that also came with the anti-establishment movement. Kali brings us back to a time when self-expression was beginning to form with what clothes we wore and the attitude we carried with it through her kohl-eyelinered eyes along with her purple shaved and teased hair,
Probably one of the most noteworthy moments of the season is Eleven’s “bitchin'” transformation into what Jim Hopper refers to as “some kind of MTV punk.” Rocking slicked back (newly grown in) hair, eyeliner-smudged eyes, an oversized blazer with rolled up sleeves, and dirty chucks, Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) trades in her wholesome overalls, flannel, and undone locks for an outfit that reflects her rebellious adventure. Her new digs are only appropriate for her mission to find out who she is and where she came from, as well as the angsty attitude arising with her age. A mix of pop and punk, Eleven is reminiscent of Madonna in the ’80s with her borrowed style choices from the punk rock genre that meshed with her pop icon image. Watching Eleven strut around in those clothes make you half hope that she might start “Vogueing” or break out into a moonwalk in the middle of her telekinetic powers.
Of course, it’s not just Kali and Eleven’s transformation that brings a new fashion nostalgia to Stranger Things 2, but also the appearance of Billy Hargrove, played by Darce Montgomery, the bully stepbrother of MadMax (Sadie Sink). The hair metal mullet, vintage denim jacket, incredibly tight jeans (that the camera loved emphasizing), and deeply unbuttoned shirt which add to his bad-boy attitude; that was a popular character choice for films in the 1980’s. Billy’s one long earring, sultry pout, and impulsive yet aggressive attitude that evoke a Rob Lowe via St. Elmo’s Fire and Kiefer Sutherland in The Lost Boys mash up. Furthermore, his style turns him into the iconic bad boy that made the hearts of every teenage girl in the ’80s flutter, and every boy want to blast the Scorpions as they drove around town.
Stranger Things 2 brought every element of 1980’s fashion and nostalgia back to the screen with the iconic styles of pop, punk, and hair metal. I don’t know about you, but watching season two has me itching to go thrifting for my own “bitchin'” digs.