Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Units

Parachute pants, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Growing Pains, L.A. Gear, Breakfast Club....what do all of these have in common? They all helped define the 80s. Come take a fun "Journey" with me as we revisit the totally radical decade.

80s fashion just boggles the mind, and oftentimes, I find myself thinking, "What the hell?"

However, Units was a line of clothing that not only looked stylish, but was practical for those on a budget. You could buy just a few coordinating pieces and have almost an entire wardrobe that you could configure. You couldn't go into any mall during the late 80s and not see a Unit boutique.

Just like a lot of the fashion of the 80s, Units was a one-sized fits all clothing line. Girls would buy belts, pants, short skirts, shirts, and leggings. The pieces were meant to be mixed and matched, and this phenomenon was called "modular clothing." 

I know they later sold Units for men, but I remember thinking that it made dudes look like Sinbad the Sailor. Although I'm pretty sure I could make a pretty kick ass ninja outfit using a few of the pieces.

At the mall, I remember seeing girls wearing a few Unit pieces, usually using the stretchy tube top as a belt, and then pairing an oversized shirt with maybe some stirrup pants. Put on some Madonna-esque fingerless gloves, a scrunchy, and some blue eye shadow, and that was THE look back in the day.

Now where did I put that Member's Only jacket???


Anonymous said...

I'm not familiar with this at all.

And I'm okay with that.

Cynthia said...

Yes, '80s fashion is kinda out there. I remember wearing this stone-washed jean jacket once, and thinking back then that it was so stylish.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Units sounds like a true budget saver. Where is today's version of Unit I wonder.

Nick Wilford said...

I've never heard of that. The guys do look as if they're dressed a bit like Cossacks!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Somehow I missed that.

Matthew MacNish said...

How do I not remember these?

Jay Noel said...

Riann: Look at all the hot fashion you missed!

Cynthia: I still see people wearing denim, although it's not stonewashed.

Sheena: I think there's another brand that's similar. It's called Modular, I think???

Nick: That's what I said!

Alex: You didn't miss much.

Matthew: You probably saw girls wearing knockoffs. I don't remember UNITs exactly, but I recall the style.

farawayeyes said...

Holy carp! I remember UNITS. Although some of the pieces were kinda cool, basically I think this is one fad that the best news about it is it did not stick.

~Sia McKye~ said...

I remember seeing variations of this and for sure the whole tube belt thing was popular. I sorta raised my brow and went hmph-that's different. Never had a desired to try one.

Jumpsuits have had various incarnations from formal to protective work suits.

Hey, I have a carthart work jumper I use in the winter around the ranch. Maybe I should add colorful scarf or gloves...Oh wait. I do. No jewelry tho. ;-)

jaybird said...

I'm ashamed to admit I wore the "unit" as a tube top back in the day...

David P. King said...

Part of me is grateful that I was too young to be a part of this trend. Still had the really tall stripped socks, though. :)

Michael Offutt, "Johnny on the Spot" said...

Interesting. I don't remember Units.

Jay Noel said...

faraway: I concur.

Sia: You need to post a pic of you in your jumpsuit.

jaybird: Hahahahahaha

David: Yeah, I think you might have caught the whole denim jacket trend instead.

Michael: You might be a tad too young as well.

nutschell said...

hmm. Never heard of Units. Probably bec. I was too young to be interested in fashion before. Kinda glad 80's fashion went away though.

Melanie Schulz said...

How did I miss this fashion craze? (slaps forehead)

Pk Hrezo said...

OMGosh... I forgot all about Units!! I used to wear the belts as skirts and then a big shirt with a wide belt over it. Baarf!!

Laura Eno said...

I remember Units! And Members Only. And those baggy leggings. :/

Sharon Himsl said...

Must have missed the 80s. Units clothing is new to me! New member here, and writer from Eastern Washington. I live in a college town surrounded by wheat.

The Golden Eagle said...


I have to say, I'm not entirely sorry I missed the 80s . . .

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Wow, I don't remember those either. I never was a fashion queen. I think I lived in t-shirts and jeans.

Melissa Bradley said...

Man do I remember these... and those Madonna bracelets LOL

Dana said...

I don't remember Unit, although I did wear my share of stirrup pants. :)

Miranda Hardy said...

What the heck were we thinking back then? Reminds me of Ancient Roman clothing.

Rusty Webb said...

I had never heard of those. Huh.

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