Miami Vice look
Surrounded by shimmering blue water, pink flamingos, palm trees and pastel Art Deco architecture, two detectives of the Miami vice squad fought crime in Ferraris and Italian designer suits. Tubbs and Crockett of the hot 80’s television drama Miami Vice inspired a nation to toss aside the traditional suit when they appeared in pastel t-shirts worn with unstructured linen suits and huarachi sandals. The two oozed sex appeal and maintained a cool that seemed nearly impossible in humid Miami.
Influenced by the pastel colors of the surroundings, and by the unconventional lifestyles of those around them, Crockett and Tubbs set men free from the restrictive suits of yesteryear to adopt the more casual and much cooler 80’s suit. The conservative ‘sack’ suit had remained essentially unchanged since its inception in the mid-1800’s, but the stiff, heavy and traditionally dark fabrics gave way to light colors and new ‘breathable’ fabrics. Linen, previously a ‘vacation’ or ‘resort’ fabric because of its cool (but high-wrinkle) factor, became the chosen material for the new suit. Cast aside were the noose-like neckties and constrictive neck-button shirts, replaced by pastel tees under suit jackets.
Department stores cashed in on the craze, creating entire displays dedicated to the new look. Boys and men alike clamored for a teal blue or pink t-shirt to wear under their white jackets. Even the manliest of men wore huarachi sandals with pride. Three-day-old stubble completed the look, assuring virility in a sea of feminine colors.
Not since the 1950’s had pink been the color for men, displayed in shirts, socks, even suits. But these were the decadent 80’s, where conspicuous consumption was the norm and everyone dreamed about a life of lounging on the beach. The new fascination for sun and fun also helped to support the new surf-culture riding in to the shores, as well as to middle America. Even if the closest beach was 1000 miles away, your linen suit and pastel t-shirt helped you look the part.