Mid-'80s fashions contained a smeary blend of enormity, frowziness, and delightfully oppressive layerings of glitzy dingle-dangles: "I can get carried away with the chains and the belts, the this and the that," punky-cancan-rodeo-clown style pioneer Cyndi Lauper told People magazine in 1984. "By the time you finish, you go home and you're tired and you're so done up, you need a chain cutter just to get undressed. So it's rough." The same year, parachute pants became a freakishly hot item—bringing Bugle Boy a sudden eight-time increase in sales (which all but vanished in '85, forcing the company into bankruptcy). And L'Oréal introduced the first successful mousse, Free Hold. Customers went apeshit, taking on intricate styling rituals and hair-product combinations, combining gel and finishing with mists of hair spray (applied from doubled-over postures to boost volume).

The movie realm brought the release of Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, a story of adventures and dance-offs, with wholesome physical magic, nonstop laughs, horrible acting, and community centers on the doomy brink of bulldozing. It's showing on Thursday, June 28, at Central Cinema, and you should go, mostly because lead characters Ozone, Turbo, and Kelly wear the absolute living fuck out of 1984 fashion, as if they had no other options. Look for mesh half-gloves; checkerboard and graffiti-splatter prints; drop-crotch pirate pants; hems captured by leg warmers; fluorescent half-shirts clinging to moist torsos; hair resting in hardened, feathery slabs; sparkling avalanches of grommets and studs; and some fascinating trends you'd forgotten about, such as aerobicizing in sheer black nylons.

Breakin' is ridiculous, but it's fun, and many sequences skillfully commemorate '70s-era b-boy street dance. Fashion history's tightest looks emerged from this earlier scene, and specific messages often encoded the apparel. Quoted in Joseph Schloss's Foundation: B-Boys, B-Girls, and Hip-Hop Culture in New York, Bronx legend Trac 2 says footwear always looked box-fresh, though in brands like PRO-Keds or Chuck Taylor, "the canvas [vamps] would be ripped on the side" where they'd scraped across the pavement again and again during practice. "If somebody challenged you, you looked at his sneakers and [if] they look like he just bought 'em? Not a b-boy. Those sneakers look too freakin' new."

Describing a still popular look, Richard "Breakeasy" Santiago said baseball caps were never worn in standard forward alignment because "if you would get into a fight, all they have to do is drop the brim, and that's it. You couldn't see and then you get a beatdown. So that's why you move the brim to the side and off. To say you were ready to scrap." recommended

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