Big Hair and Rad Gear: Eight Amusing 80s Ads

And now for a little 80s nonsense to start out 2014. Admit it, the 80s rocked. It was the age of excess. We loved our flamboyant stuff and ourselves in the 80s. It was all about looking and feeling good. Well, at least we can laugh about it now. Enjoy these brilliant 80s ads.

Dickies Boys Ad

Dickies for boys. “Because Dickies makes the work sets most working men wear.”

What is young Johnny Travolta, Jr. doing with that jackhammer? Is that appropriate jackhammering wear or would that be better suited for a night at the disco? Where did the “working man (boy)” wear an outfit like that?

Round the Clock Ad

Round the Clock Pantyhose.

When you want to create a distraction from your giant head and lack of torso, wear colorful pantyhose and lingerie. It almost worked. I hardly noticed, except for the totally awesome geometric earrings and brittle, frizzy, frosted hair. This ad would have worked well for selling toothpaste.

LA Gear Ad

L.A. Gear Streetdancers for Men.

Is this guy tubular or grody to the max? I can’t decide. He looks like he might have gotten his ass kicked by the real street dancers if he wore that preppy, pretentious rich-guy-trying-to-be-street outfit. Those shoes doubled as orthopedic after he fractured his tailbone in a break dancing accident.

Oshkosh Ad

OshKosh B’Gosh.

Awww…look how cute! Little Aspen and his girlfriends, Moon and Acid Rain have cooked Baby Kale in a giant soup cup. Moon is anxious to salt and serve him. Baby Kale seems oddly excited. Oh my gosh, OshKosh, you sure know how to cook up some disturbing advertising.

Members Only Ad

Members Only. “When you put it on…something happens to you.”

It sure does! You like become a member of like the world’s most rad, righteous 80s club, like for sure; that, or everyone laughs at you.

Improved Right Places Ad

Improved Right Places.

What? Breast Enhancement? Why am I just hearing about this? You mean I could look like that bodacious babe? According to the ad, I, “really can’t afford not to try it.” I can’t wait to purchase a dirty brown disco halter dress with suspenders instead of cups. It will be quite exciting to the other nightclub goers when I break out my Solid Gold dance moves in that sexy number.

Au Coton Ad

Au Coton.

Because every woman wants the coveted baggy pajama look that says, “I’ve given up on looking good, and I’m happy about it.” The belts and perms really pull it all together. None of the women look like they have short, stubby legs. And, is that a man in the tan outfit? I think he’s a guitarist in a big hair band.

Jazzercise Ad


The name speaks for itself. It’s the epitome of the 80s. Fluorescent spandex leotards with matching tights for the ladies, and Richard Simmons inspired shorty-shorts and tank for the guys. Throw in some leg warmers and you’re ready to dance (insert jazz hands here.)

80s Lisa

This is an ad for big hair and pink lipstick…no, wait, that’s the 80s me. I was a huge fan of Aqua Net hairspray, a hair pick, and the blow dryer, strategically used to create the piled frizzy look. I also once sported a tail and a modified mullet with four different colors in my hair, but my mullet was “classy” with a “k”.


10 thoughts on “Big Hair and Rad Gear: Eight Amusing 80s Ads

  1. These bring back memories…some good, but many, traumatic! Like pants tucked into socks…what a pain that was. Love the 80s photo of you…when I got my license at 16, my hair was so big, it didn’t all fit in the photo. I’m cringing right now 🙂

    • Tucking the socks was ridiculous! And you’re right, such a pain. I can just picture your hair not fitting in the photo. I had that hair too. I couldn’t find the photo of me with the huge bangs all sprayed up. My hair was like a bird’s nest. Let’s hope that hair doesn’t come back.

  2. Okay, some of these are just disturbing (the lady with the lacking torso), others bring back fond memories (LA Gear – yeah, I had those. They were high tops too). Aqua net – yep and a purple rat tail too. I was sooo cool…

  3. I expected you to be wearing some huge Jody Whatley hoop earrings in your pic. I’m disappointed. I also feel an overwhelming urge to shoot pool with the Statler Brothers, esp the one in the Ronnie Milsap glasses. I hope they let me in, even though I’m not a member.

    • Sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t have pierced ears. No earrings for this girl. I tried to find a photo with bigger hair, but the one I had in mind is lost in action. I had to use one that would not embarrass me too much. Do you have a Member’s Only jacket? That’s the only way you can be in that cool club. 😉

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