Every so often, a trend will take off with a force so powerful that consumer demand drives manufacturers to rush knockoffs into production, like how every person wore a "Thriller" jacket in 1983, no matter how ridiculous they looked.
Hollywood has always had a hand in shaping popular culture and taste, so it should come as no surprise that its influence on the fashion decisions people have made throughout history has been enormous. But with so much pop culture to consume and content being churned out at such a fast pace these days, it's doubtful these super trends will ever have as much sway as they did in the past. Unfortunately, that means we'll probably never again experience moments like when ...#6. Tom Cruise Almost Single-Handedly Kept Ray-Ban in Business
Back before he became a full-time shill for the world's most annoying cult, Tom Cruise was known more for his bankability as a movie star than his relationship with Xenu. His very first leading role as the privileged high school kid with an overabundance of First World problems in the hit teen comedy-drama Risky Business not only launched a 21-year-old Cruise into superstardom, but kept one of history's most iconic fashion brands from dying off.
In the film, Joel (Cruise) is super stressed about getting into his college of choice, but also overwhelmed by the newfound freedom of being left home with no parental supervision. Dilemmas ranging from "Should he drive his dad's Porsche?" to "Should he turn his home into a temporary whorehouse?" arise, and Joel deals with every single one in the exact same way: By doing adorable things while wearing Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses.
He most famously puts them on right before uttering the film's catchphrase (and the '80s version of YOLO), "Sometimes you gotta say what the fuck." That he dons those particular shades at that moment is no happy accident.
In the 1980s, sales of Ray-Ban's Wayfarer sunglasses had sunk to an abysmal 18,000 a year. In an effort to turn things around, the company offered the producers of Risky Business $50,000 to feature the Wayfarer model in the teen comedy and, just as importantly, on the movie poster.
Sales of Wayfarers immediately took off. By 1989, Ray-Ban had sold more than 4 million pairs of the now-iconic model, a pretty sweet return on their investment. But the Cruise promotional juggernaut had just gotten started.
Three years after Risky Business, Ray-Ban and Cruise struck product-placement gold again when he and Val Kilmer battled it out for king douche of the sky and the sand in the box office hit/Navy recruitment propaganda film Top Gun. Cruise, Kilmer, and co-star Anthony Edwards all sported Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses in the movie.
Once again, the partnership was a resounding success. Sales of Ray-Ban Aviators rose 40 percent in the seven months following the release of the film. To this day, they remain the eyewear of choice for anyone looking to inject a little "Hot Cop" flair into their wardrobe.
#5. Flashdance Made Everyone Want Collarless Sweatshirts
#5. Flashdance Made Everyone Want Collarless Sweatshirts
Acid-wash jeans, parachute pants, leg warmers -- the '80s were chock-full of WTF fashion, and the collarless sweatshirt borne of the summer blockbuster Flashdance was no exception. Flashdance follows the story of Alex (Jennifer Beals), a young woman who spends her days working as a welder in a Pittsburgh steel mill and her evenings underneath the dance shower at her local dive bar performing elaborately choreographed routines, just like you'd see at your favorite blue-collar watering hole.
The sexy off-the-shoulder style apparently resonated with the masses, because the "ripped apart and ready to dance" casualwear look has been with us in one form or another ever since.
Interestingly enough, it all happened by accident. The gray sweatshirt, which Beals had brought from home, shrank in the dryer, so she cut out the neckband to make it fit more easily over her head.
That's not nearly as interesting as the story of how Beals landed her breakthrough role: According to Hollywood legend, executives at Paramount Pictures wanted to cast an unknown. After a nationwide search, producers Jerry Bruckheimer and Don Simpson and director Adrian Lyne had narrowed it down to three actresses: Demi Moore, Leslie Wing, and Jennifer Beals. Unable to decide, Simpson reportedly showed pictures of all three women to a group of teamsters on the studio lot and (in a move that most likely wouldn't pass HR muster today) asked them "Which of these women do you most want to fuck?"
Flashdance became one of the highest grossing films of 1983, leaving a pile of torn sweatshirt collars in its wake.
#2. Annie Hall Made Menswear OK for Women
Critics of Woody Allen claim that his feature films are all populated by self-centered upper-middle-class characters obsessed with the minutia of their own existence. His fans say the same thing. No matter which camp you fall into, you'd most likely cite Annie Hall as the quintessential Woody Allen film to make your point. Not only is Annie Hall infamous for being the film that beat Star Wars for Best Picture at the Academy Awards; it was also the driving force behind a fashion movement in the mid-'70s thanks to quirky co-star Diane Keaton.
Keaton's kooky character, the eponymous Annie Hall, brought androgynous chic into vogue and had legions of women sporting the tomboyish style. But it almost didn't happen. When Keaton arrived on the set dressed in her signature menswear look, wardrobe stylist Ruth Morley initially vetoed the outfit. However, Allen, who was Keaton's boyfriend at the time, stepped in, saying, "Leave her. She's a genius ... Let her wear what she wants."
Both the movie and Keaton's style were huge hits. Women started wearing men's ties, slouchy jackets, vests, and wide-leg pants. The masculine look for women became a '70s staple. So yeah, Annie Hall not only beat Star Wars in the race for Best Picture, but also trumped them in the fashion game, judging by the dearth of cinnamon-bun hairstyles and turtleneck kaftans at the time.
#1. Miami Vice Made Womenswear OK for Men
Television crime fighting used to be a rugged, manly undertaking that required no-nonsense attire, but things loosened up a bit after Miami Vice hit the air in the mid-'80s. Detectives dressed like gigolos even when they weren't undercover and apprehended criminals accompanied by pulsing Jan Hammer beats. Miami Vice not only upended the detective drama, but also paved the way for the metrosexual male to go mainstream in the real world.
TV detectives weren't the only ones released from the oppressive shackles of traditional men's fashion. Thanks to Crockett and Tubbs, men across the nation began mimicking the Easter parade dandy style.
Prior to the '80s, men's suits were tailored, fully lined, and worn with a dress shirt and tie. Thanks to the fashion influence of Miami Vice, slouchy unconstructed suits paired with pastel T-shirts (and sporting a 5 o'clock shadow every day, all day) became the look for men.
And retailers took notice. After Six offered a line of "Miami Vice" dinner jackets, Kenneth Cole debuted the "Crockett and Tubbs" shoe collection, and Macy's opened a store-within-a-store "Miami Vice" section for fashion-conscious young men. Before long, every Chess King in any respectable mall was filled with the just-rolled-off-the-cigarette-boat Miami chic look. That is, of course, until they had to make room for the MC Hammer pants.
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