When Stranger Things first came out on Netflix in 2016, it didn’t take long before becoming a beloved cultural icon. The science-fiction horror drama set in a fictional town in 1980s Indiana stars a group of children as its protagonists, which lends to its whimsy. However, the secret to this show taking on cult status is not just its setting and captivating storyline. In fact, it’s an unexpected star of the show: its fashion.
While the 80s setting was bound to bring lots of throwbacks into our lives, the Stranger Things cast’s wardrobe did a little more than that. While watching the show, many started looking forward to the characters’ outfits just as much as their choices. The reason is simple. On Stranger Things, you don’t expect to see characters dressed in plain khakis and simple shirts. Instead, you see quirky prints, high-waisted pants, lots of fun jackets, and unexpected combinations.
Why Stranger Things’ Fashion Strikes a Chord
We are currently living in an era of fast fashion. This means that people end up shopping for new styles every few months and then discarding the old ones. With many brands offering cheap clothes with short lifespans, it’s easy to be tempted into making impulsive purchases. Yet, the fashion shown in Stranger Things defies all qualities of fast fashion. It is not plain and forgettable. Instead, it harkens back to the sort of statement outfit pieces that defined many millennials’ youth. Think loud sweaters, durable boots, and timeless jackets.
It Packs a Wave of Nostalgia
Naturally, this means that the fashion represented in the show invokes a great degree of nostalgia for viewers. For instance, most millennials remember wearing baggy cardigans, puff-sleeved dresses, comfortable corduroy pants, and eclectic printed shirts. Also, accessories like suspenders and wayfarers define an old-timey charm you simply can’t find in the latest fashion.
Therefore, watching Stranger Things brings back memories of cherished childhood days for millennials. However, the nostalgia isn’t limited to those who were around in the 80s. Those born in the 90s and later also feel connected to the show through their own associations. For example, many in the 90s grew up consuming 80s media, be it music or movies. So, the fashion in Stanger Things reminds them of their fond memories of the 80s.
Like Children, It Is Uninhibited
Having children as its central force, Stranger Things is a fresh departure from the limits of adult life. Hence, it represents the freedom of childhood, even in fashion. Children, for instance, can dress up any way they want. No one chides a child for not following the latest trends. Instead, children are free to wear loud colors, graphic shirts, and funky accessories.
Do you remember wearing outrageous clothing combinations in your childhood without care? According to the rules of the latest fashion, they’ll raise a million red flags. But the fashion of the 80s combined with the carelessness of childhood makes for unmatched freedom. So, seeing characters make bold and unique fashion choices offers a breath of fresh air to viewers.
It Makes No Apologies
Stranger Things tell viewers to experiment with fashion and embrace their own styles without fear or apology. It loudly says: “Go ahead, commit the cardinal fashion sin—flaunt denim on denim!”
Similarly, the show gives a message of acceptance and diversity. On the show, every character has their own sense of style. This is important because, in modern times, one type of style usually dominates any period. For example, the 2010s brought skinny clothes into vogue. Now, looser fitting clothes are popular. So, Stranger Things’ representation of unique styles for different personalities gives the message of owning whatever style you are comfortable in.
Unlike Fast Fashion, It Is Timeless
As Stanger Things sky-rocketed into popularity, it left a mark on today’s cultural landscape. This includes its impact on fashion. In fact, many brands, ranging from fast-fashion ones like H&M and Topshop to luxury brands like Louis Vuitton, introduced Stranger Things themed lines.
Yet, the impact of Strangers Things on fashion isn’t limited to brand collaborations. Instead, it prompts people to invest in classic or statement outfit pieces in a nod to the show. So, these attires—often 80s-style, like oversized bomber and suede jackets— take on a timeless air. Because of this, people have started being comfortable with wearing styles from different eras. The fact that fashion styles from 1983 and 1984 became popular in 2016 (season 1), 2017 (season 2), and again in 2019 (season 3) proves that styles don’t have an expiry date.
So, Stranger Things gives the message that no matter how strange other things in life get, fashion will always be familiar. So, whether you’re fighting a monster from an alternate realm or simply going on a grocery trip, you can dress up anyway and look stylish.