TV Style Lessons: Stranger Things

11 times that 2017 style echoed an 80s coming-of-age aesthetic

Nostalgia's been sweeping our screens lately, bringing with it reboots of dark classics like Twin Peaks and It, along with a clear influence on 2016's favourite show from the likes of The Goonies, ET and even Donnie Darko. A glance at the current state of the world makes it clear why we'd often rather be anywhere but here, but what's been surprising is how often the Stranger Things aesthetic has crept out into the real world. Maybe we feel like we could do with dressing up in whatever allowed the kids to conquer monsters and ill-intentioned authority alike, or maybe they just looked great doing it. Whatever our reasons, this is the style we'll still be imitating after we binge watch Season 2. 

Textured collars

From Nancy’s suede-look style to Lucas’ corduroy piece, shearling made its cosy presence felt throughout much of the Stranger Things costume department. Experiment with different types of texture, and decide on whether you’d like to contrast or keep everything one colour.

Washed-out looks

Spilling over from the 70s, early 80s horror and coming-of-age costuming tends to have a distinctly thrifted feel. Popular colours include dirty blues and greens with a generous serving of mustard. Stripes aren’t the clean, nautical kind beloved of the Breton-enamored normcore subcult that values French Girl Style over everything, but instead come in clashing brights or variegated patterns in colours that look like they’ve survived a few spins through the wash.

Haphazard layering

Did layering a polo shirt under a parka feel clumsy a few seasons ago? Did a poloneck under a shirt under a jacket feel like too much? That time is long-forgotten, much like the ill-fated Barb in the minds of her easily distracted so-called friends. Pile on the patterns, pile on the textures – the more upside down your aesthetic, the better.

Pretty dresses with rugged outerwear

Not just 2016’s favourite Halloween costume, Eleven’s ruched, girl dress under a bulky men’s jacket has quickly become iconic, and for good reason. Within the confines of the show, the costume does a good job of adding humour to a character with a serious role and a traumatic backstory, while also demonstrating how the character won’t be confined to conventional gender roles. Off of the Stranger Things set, the look can be seen in layered up looks that are more popular than ever.

Girls with buzzcuts

Stranger Things Style

First of all, Eleven did not invent short hair – from Kaone Kario to Tank Girl, you’ve seen this before. But, coincidentally or not, almost-bald heads had a moment around the time we met the Stranger Things kids, with model Ruth Bell taking her buzzcut to catwalks such as Kenzo’s and Gucci’s, for a look as tough as it is delicate.

Sporty socks

As 80s-inspired style takes hold, it can feel difficult to remember a time when all socks were secret. Of course, you’ll be pairing them up with iconic sneakers – more about that next.

Classic sneakers

From Nike Cortez toConverse All Stars, a bunch of retro sneakers featured in the Stranger Things rotation, and the Puma side stripe gets its moment in sun too. Lace up in low-slung or high-tone silhouettes in solid colours, and ideally don’t let them get as dirty as Eleven’s.


Stranger Things Style

Although it doesn’t seem to be one of the more prominent trends in the show, plaid is ever-present. An 80s aesthetic is incomplete without it.

Graphic tees

Something of a signature for Dustin, tees with apparently arbitrary designs are just the kind of anti-trend to wear right now and continue to love later.

Ruffles and bows

Given the generally tomboyish mood of the show, this is something of a surprising twist – but trust that Barb and Nancy carry the maximal mood of 2017. Take inspiration from their style, then stay away from weirdly ominous phenomena.

Contrasting collars (and armbands)

Okay, you get it by now – you’ve come to the right place if you really like reading about T-shirts. For athletic-inspired style that looks as good on Dungeons & Dragons devotees as it does on ultimate jocks, reach for bold bands of colour on collars, arms, or both. 

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