'The Goldbergs' mines the good, bad and ugly of the 1980s

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It's a little terrifying to think what from today's fashions we might wax nostalgic over in 30 years. Latex, nude-colored short-shorts? Crippling heels that make sense only for chiropractors?

ABC's "The Goldbergs," premiering Tuesday, Sept. 24, gives a sweet look at the decade in which it is set, the 1980s. The sitcom is purposefully not specific to a year, says costume designer Keri Smith.

Like every decade, there's a wide range in the '80s, from neon tights and tutus as skirts to severe-looking office wear including high-necked blouses with bow ties and constricting suits.

"There were so many different aspects to the '80s and so many ways to go and still feel like you had a cool look and an individuality," Smith says.

"There's the preps and the punk rocks and the movie icons, the Flashdancer, the Madonna," she tells Zap2it. "It made people more comfortable with their bodies because you could find yourself anywhere. Color was huge."

A pastel pink jumpsuit, with sleeves poufy enough to carry a baby and ankles tight enough for slouchy socks to be worn on the outside, needs the confidence that Beverly Goldberg ( Wendi McLendon-Covey) exudes. The only accessory that could make this even better was BeDazzling it.

"She considers herself a trendsetter," Smith says. "This outfit, to me, is girl on the go. She has a full day ahead of her." She completes the look with Reebok's Lifestyle shoes.
As the youngest of three, it's not surprising that Adam ( Sean Giambrone) would get hand-me-downs. What makes this sadly hilarious is that he gets his sister's hand-me-down jeans. They do not fit at all, anywhere.

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In this shot, his grandfather ( George Segal) buys him a cool outfit, but Adam's mom shrinks it and is convinced that her son looks better in the now capris, rarely a good look on males. The acid-washed, high-waisted jeans are Z. Cavaricci, and Smith made the hoodie, which was in a shade of chartreuse that could have been considered an epidemic then.

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Just from the calves down, Erica ( Hayley Orrantia) wears five colors, three of which are neon. In her hot pink top, rainbow-trimmed collar and hem in rainbow, slouchy socks that match her earrings and an acid-washed skirt, which she "chopped the bottom off so there's a raw edge," Smith says, Erica shows her individuality. She tops it off with a side ponytail, of course.

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Barry ( Troy Gentile) is pretty much the poster boy for the time - on wheels and in terry-cloth sweatband and wristbands, tube socks, and the colored shorts with white piping. Though Smith rents some of the costumes, she was able to buy most of this outfit at American Apparel.

"When you have a show like this, you want to be nostalgic to the people who lived it," Smith says. "But you need to be a relatable show to those who didn't."
Photo/Video credit: ABC