Stranger Things is a show rife with monsters, romance and fashion moments. Set in 1983/84, a time for style experimentation in bold colours and exaggerated shapes, the era’s throwback looks have featured on recent runways via super-sized shoulders and Spandex at shows from Balenciaga and Saint Laurent to Isabel Marant and Topshop Unique. Here are nine of the best classic styles across two seasons of what’s right-now our favourite show. Illustrations by Bianca Bott @bblandest
1. Fancy Nancy
Nancy – skinny and studious sister of Finn Wolfhard’s Mike – makes the classic horror movie error of sleeping with her boyfriend early in Season One. But it’s best friend Barb who gets gobbled by the monster. Nancy is tougher than she looks – venturing into the Upside Down, whacking the Demogorgon. Yet how she looks is pretty damn stylish. Her signature is the svelte granny knit sweater. In Season Two, she grows up, bouffants her hair and gets sophisticated in a classy camel coat that’s like a hoodless duffel. But her best moment is prepping for the Season One climax: learning to be kick-ass in a burnt orange Sherpa-Trucker jacket.
2. Harrington’s high-waists
Nancy’s on-off-on-off boyfriend Steve is a bit of a douche for most of Season One but transforms through Season Two into the grouchy papa-bear-protector of the kid quintet (Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Will, plus newcomer Max). Steve, oh Steve, with his perfect hair and preppy rugby shirts, won our hearts with a pair of chinos cinched so high on the waist as to create the 1980s equivalent of a codpiece. Steve’s surname, Harrington, references 1960s soap opera Peyton Place and the character Rodney Harrington. Dude was so popular that his signature style of wind-cheater is now called a Harrington in the common parlance. And guess what, Steve Harrington also wears a Harrington. In dark blue. Around the time he was being a dick breaking love rival Jonathan’s camera.
3. To the Max
Newcomer Max is the flame-haired, skate-boarded new addition to the Stranger Things goonies. She has the hots for Lucas (or, at least, he has the hots for her) but – hold on! Was she sponsored by Vans? The VC Girls are, so that does happen. Winning top style prize: Max's pea green Old Skool Vans. Definitely worthy of the Christmas list. Vans is a skate shoe maker that hails from California and was established in 1966 as The Van Doren Rubber Company. But, fun fact: the leather panel down the side of these sneakers is known as the “jazz stripe”. It’s like Vans’ own Swoosh and debuted in 1977. Anyway, it’s not just what Max wears: she dominates the leader boards in video games. Who couldn’t love her?
4. Dustin’s dinosaur
The mouthiest of the four nerd heroes, and we’re not just referring to his toothless smile in Season One, Dustin is the embodiment of curiosity but also a first-rate negotiator, using his love of science to solve problems. Besides his rockin’ tricolour baseball cap, Dustin is deft with a def graphic print. His Artichoke Festival T-shirt sets a high bar, his lame-ass-cool-as Explorer hoodie nails his iconic status, but best-of-all (and not just cos Brontésaurus was my childhood nickname) his Brontosaurus hoodie – a necessary reminder that dinosaurs ruled the Earth long before Jurassic Park.
5. Lucky Lucas
A black kid in a bandana in 1984 might beg the question, crips or bloods? To a modern London eye, bandanas are the territory of moped-riding street hoodlums who pretend to love grime music while spending hours in the mirror perfecting Justin Bieber’s hair. For Lucas, however, tying on the bandana means opening up a can of whupass – much as it did for Rambo or even chief engineer Parker in the original Alien. Love guides Stranger Things’ young heroes in Season Two, and Lucas – previously seen scrapping with Mike for doting on supergirl Eleven – invites skatergirl Max into the group faster than you can say “Biggie and Tupac”. Awww, boy’s smitten.
6. Hopper’s hat
Is Chief Hopper the ultimate dad crush? Could be! The chief of police is the total hotfather in his khaki cop uniform. Even his off-duty flannel shirts had me at hello. Initially lazy and drunk, Hopper steps up when Will (played by Disorder alt. cover star Noah Schnapp) goes missing, kicking down doors and taking no prisoners in a bid to find old-flame Joyce’s youngest boy. His warmth towards Eleven, leaving Eggos for her when hope seems lost, echoes the ache for his own lost daughter. But his true love is that awesome fedora. In Season Two, he even risks his life to save it, Raiders of the Ark-style. Can someone please look at me like Hopper looks at his hat?
7. Eleven Eleven Eleven
Eleven kills it! Style, that is. But also the odd Demogorgon (warned you there’d be spoilers). Despite being left in the Upside Down, despite escaping from a government laboratory, this girl can pull together an outfit that would take mere mortals weeks to plan and execute. Blue bomber and baby pink dress with knee high socks and white high Converse? Shouldn’t work. Yet Eleven makes it more east London street style than a Saturday in Homerton. Also, that hair. Buzzcut? Awesome. Blonde wig? Awesome. Short & curlies in Season Two? Stop you’re killing us. No really, it’s hurting. Stooppp!!
8. Something strange
The gang’s Ghostbusters costumes, lovingly patched by Joyce in a rare happy moment, crush it for Halloween – try it yourself if you’ve got three actual mates. The strength of this look is partly in its camaraderie. You’d seem pretty foolish wandering around as a loan Ghostbuster, no matter how well-sketched your logos. The get-up dovetails with something true-to-trend in fashion, whether Louis Vuitton’s SS15 flightsuit or Vetements’ SS17 boilersuit. But the Stranger Things' kids do it best.
9. Just Do It (yourself)
White Reebok Classics are the last word in gross… usually. But tongue-rolling, newly-toothed Dustin’s Ghostbuster-doodled trainers switch this up entirely. Dustin wins extra points for wearing his ‘boks to the Snow Ball dance. No Ghosts, indeed! Well, perhaps one, the ghost of Kurt Cobain. Nirvana’s frontman scrawled words such as “Endorsement” on the toes of his Converse Chuck Taylor’s. Another DIY moment is Eleven’s genius for improvising a blindfold, necessary to use her powers and dip into other dimensions. In Season One she goes with swimming goggles. In Season Two she rips a tea towel in half. If Disorder is anywhere near Season Three, we’re standing waaay back!
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