Paper Giants 2 – 1980s workwear fashion inspiration

Greetings BusiChic,

Welcome to a new week of workwear inspiration where the focus of this week will be on the media. I’m kicking off things with a look to the past via ABC TV’s mini-series, Paper Giants: Magazine Wars. I’ve tried googling how to get in touch with the costume department to credit all of the styles featured on the show and in this post – if anyone knows how to, please let me know!

It’s the story of the rivalry between two Australian magazine editors to reign supreme from 1987-1997. In terms of workwear fashion this was the era of the shoulder pad, serious perms and frosted make-up. The fashions in the mini-series shown on screens last night were much more fresh-faced and tweaked to suit today’s styles. For example, such that cadet Beth, wouldn’t look too out of place in today’s office:

busichic paper giants cadet beth outfit

New Idea editor, Dulcie Boling, played by Rachel Griffiths sports classic corporate wear in ’80s shapes.

busichic paper giants dulcie boling outfit

Women’s Day editor, Nene King, played by Mandy McElhinney, had by far the kings share of content in part one of the mini-series and more of a colourful work wardrobe that kept me running up to the TV. Yup, the mini-series portrays King wearing cowboy boots on her first day on the job as editor of Women’s Day!busichic paper giants nene king outfit

Fabulous frock, Nene! – who is it by?

busichic paper giants nene king victory outfit

Nene King, as portrayed by Mandy McElhinney, rocking a bright yellow shirt and black tie with pencil skirt and statement heels.

In this interview published by The Age, King has this to say on the creative licence taken with her work wardrobe,

“I’ve never worn a dress in my life. Slacks, jeans, long skirts maybe, but no dresses.

Read more:

Paper Giants style that works: Statement Earrings

busichic paper giants earring

My favourite look in Paper Giants to try rock in the modern office: statement earrings. Plus a rather similar pair to try the look!

If you are interested in bringing the late 80s/early 90s to the office and it is quite easy to do  I suggest looking for statement earrings in op shops or etsy!

For the Dulcie-Boling-inspired: opt for classic and structured shapes: although here’s a branded take on Boling’s pearls and here a vibrant take on classic shapes.

For the Nene-King-inspired: opt for movement but be sure to not be too jingle-jangly!: I like this bold pair although the King character portrayed might prefer this empire-building style or this here is an interesting take on hoop-style earrings and this hoop style incorporates colour.


What did you think of the series?

Former Vogue editor, Kirstie Clements, tweeted “Dulcie’s got a shit script” and I’d have to agree that she doesn’t appear to get much of a look-in in part one of the mini-series, however reading ahead I’m looking forward to seeing more fodder for her there.

What did you think of the series and will you be watching part two on screens tonight? 


If you enjoyed this post, you might like to read about my busichic feature on Paper Giants: The Birth of Cleo – 70s workwear inspiration

All photos in this post from ABCTV

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