IN her red leather mini rah-rah dress, Deborah Hirzel is a woman stuck in a fashion time warp.
When it comes to glamming up, she refuses to bin the outfits she bought back in the Eighties.
Her wardrobe is full of the same dresses, jackets and trousers she has owned for four decades.
The 52-year-old, who works as a model, says each item is a throwback to the fun she had in her carefree younger days.
And Deborah insists she won’t be ditching her sassy style any time soon.
Telly fashion expert Trinny Woodall recently suggested some women still dress as they did in decades past as that was when they felt most sexually confident.
And mum-of-three Deborah, who lives in York with husband Felix, 59, an engineer, agrees.
She says: “My clothes make me feel super-confident, sexy, and take me back to an amazing time of parties, clubbing . . . and an explosion of fashion.
“I met my husband back then and we were travelling round California having the time of our lives and going to rock concerts.
“It was the era when I realised one dress could change your life — and I recognised my womanly curves.”
The leather mini-dress Felix bought her in 1988 is an all-time favourite.
THAT MINI DRESS CHANGED MY LIFE
She says: “Felix got me that dress from a shop in San Francisco. He paid £250 for it, which was a lot of money for us.
“But when I tried it on, it changed my life. Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, Kylie Minogue and Princess Diana had all been photographed wearing rah-rah skirts. It was one of the decade’s most memorable looks.
“I was 19 but the style and colour took me from being a teenager to a glamorous, on-trend Eighties fashionista. I was young, full of energy and felt sexy.
“Since then, I have worn it so many times — even to my 50th birthday party — because it made me feel so amazing.”
With a size-ten figure she has kept throughout her adult life, Deborah refuses to follow new trends.
She says: “Revealing boob-and-bottom clothes worn by Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner are a big no-no for me because they leave little to the imagination.
“So are dresses with super-wide collars or voluminous skirts, which remind me of ill-fitting school uniforms.
“I don’t believe in changing a look that works for me because fashion dictates it. I would never stop wearing these styles because of my age, either.
“Today’s offerings can be confusing and lack style and direction. I don’t like bland colours and they don’t suit me.
“T-shirt dresses look like sacks on me and palazzo pants, with their wide legs, make me look frumpy.”
Another wardrobe favourite is the brown leather jacket Deborah bought for herself.
She pairs it with sunglasses she has had for the same length of time, 30-plus years.
Deborah says: “The jacket is a style and colour everyone associates with the Eighties because it’s thick and bulky.
“I still wear it in the same style — with jeans during the day and over dresses at night. I team it with my RayBans from the same decade.”
Two more staples are Deborah’s black leather trousers and pink blazer. She says: “They bring out the rebel in me. I’ve worn them through every decade.
“My pink blazer has oversized shoulders and whenever I put it on for a lunch with the girls, I feel instantly brighter. It gives me a power-dressing edge.
Nobody has criticised my looks so far. They are just shocked I can still fit into clothes from so long ago.
I DON’T PLAN TO CHANGE
“I keep my outfits hanging in special bags so moths don’t get in.
“But I have had to get zips repaired now and then. I store my leather items flat to stop the material getting hanger marks. My vintage pieces are worth between £2,500 and £3,000 altogether because I have kept them in good condition.
“The red dress is the most expensive in my wardrobe and although I hate throwing anything away, it’s usually worn-out shoes.
“My Eighties style is timeless, glamorous and sexy — and I don’t plan to change it.”
Ditch rah-rahs for pencil skirts
FASHION Editor Clemmie Fieldsend says: “Deborah says she feels like an Eighties ‘rebel’ when she slips back into her punk-inspired black leather trousers. She should embrace that.
“Leather trousers are huge this season but Deborah could mix it up by swapping skin-tight styles for a straight cut with a drawstring waist, showing off her figure while giving the look a modern update.
“Deborah’s throwback looks give her confidence, which some current trends won’t. But modernised Eighties trends are still sexy.
“For example, if you are a fan of Princess Diana but less keen on frilled collars and billowing frocks, plump for Di’s signature puffed sleeves.
“Go as extreme as you like – or as little. Keep your sexy side on show in tops with a deep, square neckline to show off your decolletage. And if you don’t like the muted colour palettes popular with celebrities like the Kardashians, remember there’s a whole colour wheel to choose from – and you can still be on-trend.
“Spring-summer ’21 catwalks saw designer brands including Balenciaga and Valentino embracing luminous neon pinks, oranges and electric blues. Hello, Eighties!
“These bold, bright hues are available on the high street in Deborah’s favourite wide-shouldered blazers, with power-dressing set to be a big trend this summer.
“As for the rah-rah skirt, we have all fallen under its spell at some point. But the exaggerated hem has had its day, so opt for a pencil shape instead.
“It is super-sexy and still synonymous with the Eighties.”
Get that Eighties look…
WHILE Deborah’s Eighties staples are not always on-trend, this season she is in luck.
Kristen Stewart is getting us all excited as she plays Princess Diana in the upcoming biopic Spencer.
And Channel 4’s hard-hitting drama It’s A Sin showcases everything from logo sweatshirts to frilly collars and bold bows.
So relax . . . CLEMMIE FIELDSEND has found the best high-street buys for a modern twist on those unforgettable looks.
- Puffer, £29.99, pullandbear.com – buy now
- Sleeveless jumper, £15.99, newlook.co.uk – buy now
- Bow hair clip, £6, claires.com – buy now
- Denim culottes, £27.99, zara.com – buy now
- Collar top, £14.99, hm.com – buy now
- Polka-dot blouse, £38, riverisland.com – buy now
- Chunky trainers, £30, prettylittlething.com – buy now
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- Leggings, £10, tesco.com – buy now
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