Lion of the Blogosphere

80s fashion in St. Elmo’s Fire, part 1


Judd Nelson is wearing a yellow foulard tie, the quintessential 80s power tie also worn by Charlie Sheen in Wall Street. Is Judd Nelson reflecting an existing fashion trend or did it start in this movie? Also notice the pastel blue shirt with contrasting white collar, a style rarely seen today. In fact, someone in Judd Nelson’s position (a low-level assistant to a U.S. Representative) would probably not be wearing a suit at all today.

Andrew McCarthy wears an ill-fitting tweedy jacket to demonstrate that he’s a creative writing type (he works as a journalist writing obituaries and dreams about writing something more meaningful). I think these things were already out of style by 1985. Today, writers are hipsters and you’d never see them wearing a tweed jacket unironically like that. I think that smoking is also out. Especially in a hospital!

And of course, in the 80s, men wore their hair longer than they do today.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 6, 2016 at 6:09 pm

Posted in Movies

19 Responses

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  1. Tweed jacket, not Tweedy


    January 6, 2016 at 6:20 pm

  2. Smoking in the hospital? Now that’s 80’s.


    January 6, 2016 at 6:21 pm

  3. My favorite example of the creative yet professional 1980s New Yorker has to be the wardrobe of Michael J. Fox in “Bright Lights, Big City”.


    January 6, 2016 at 6:23 pm

  4. “Is Judd Nelson reflecting an existing fashion trend or did it start in this movie?”

    I was wearing stuff like that back in ’84.

    Believe it or not, back then salesmen who worked in construction related businesses were still expected to wear a coat and tie, even if you had to go out to a job site. Nowadays, it’s jeans or khakis and a polo shirt with your company logo.

    Sgt. Joe Friday

    January 6, 2016 at 6:29 pm

  5. All I can tell you is this film put me to sleep. borrr-ing. I thought skinny ties were “in?” My husband wears them in an attempt to look younger.

    slithy toves

    January 6, 2016 at 7:45 pm

  6. Suits were mandatory when I was in the straight commission life insurance pyramid scam. They’re not cheap, so they were a significant financial burden when you’re working for very little or no money. Or even negative money: quite often a week’s gasoline expenses would exceed commissions.



    January 6, 2016 at 7:51 pm

  7. And of course, in the 80s, men wore their hair longer than they do today.

    And you prowled your high school, beating up nerds and stealing lunch money.

    The Undiscovered Jew

    January 6, 2016 at 8:16 pm

  8. Lion, you lived in DC so you should know that even an unpaid intern who is working for a House member on the Hill needs to wear a suit + tie when the House is in session.


    January 6, 2016 at 8:23 pm

  9. Oh my. Guess I’m getting old. I thought the movie was kind of preposterous at the time, though I think I might enjoy it now as 80’s nostalgia.

    What’s going on in this scene? Dastardly Judd Nelson confessing some indiscretion to sensitive but struggling to be tough (thus smoking) Andrew McCarthy? Too good!

    Also, I concur about Allie Sheedy and Demi Moore was all that too.


    January 6, 2016 at 10:45 pm

  10. you cry when you watch movies…you don’t like the fashion of the 80s…are you sure you’re a man?


    January 7, 2016 at 1:36 am

    • I love the fashion from the 80s (except for the big glasses). And I said that I didn’t cry.

      Furthermore, trying to shame a man by implying gay tendencies for having interests besides watching football is very prole.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 7, 2016 at 7:55 am

      • The prole worldview scores a point of superiority for its willingness to call out homosexual behaviour.

        More importantly than that, though, I assert that there is a difference between implying that a person is gay, and implying that he is not a “man”. Notions of proper masculinity and manhood are fundamental, foundational to a healthy society, and they ought to be encouraged (and the reverse shamed) among all classes. “The battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton”, they said, signifying that at one time the upper classes led from the front, because they had been raised with traditional ideas of masculine honour.


        January 7, 2016 at 9:29 am

      • Isn’t watching other people engage in sports as a pastime a relatively new phenom? People used to watch horse racing a lot, but that’s not really the same thing.


        January 7, 2016 at 9:55 am

  11. Is Judd Nelson reflecting an existing fashion trend or did it start in this movie?

    John T. Molloy’s book Dress for Success originally came out in 1975. His New Dress for Success didn’t come out until 1988. I’m not sure when he started touting power ties.


    January 8, 2016 at 11:10 pm

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