Ah, to be a young upwardly mobile professional (yuppie) in the ’80s! Having goals never hurt, especially when accomplishing them landed you a killer job, a fabulous New York apartment, and the ability to live a life of decadence on your night off. Today we’re taking a look at the way yuppies were portrayed in film and magazines during the 1980s. This post isn’t an essay. Let’s call it a fun exploration of the yuppie lifestyle…with lots of screen shots!
Good morning? Not really. When the little hand is on the six and the big hand is on the three…it’s too damn early to get up. Entre nous, whether the wake-up call comes from my sleek new Rolex or my chic lacquered alarm clock, the blow is not softened. Too much weekend, too much champagne, too little sleep. Frankly, this rising young executive would rather not.
–from Metropolitan Home
Yuppies juggled a lot. They worked hard and they played hard, so the quote above (from a piece by Stephanie Pierson via the September 1986 issue of Metropolitan Home) represents the balance your typical yuppie had to strike between living the good life and clocking in at the office. Let’s call it “the yuppie shuffle”. A solid morning routine was key. Above and below we see screen shots from the 1987 film Baby Boom.
In the movie, career woman J.C. Wiatt (Diane Keaton) inherits a baby from a cousin and must learn to juggle the demands of work and motherhood. She heads to FAO Schwartz and buys a truckload of toys and clothing, and she hires a nanny. She soon finds that her maternal instincts come naturally, and by making some key career adjustments, she’s able to have it all. Below we see her visiting with daughter Elizabeth one morning before boarding a flight for an important meeting.
Yuppies without children had a bit less to juggle, but we wonder how many of them had time to lounge on the chaise with a cup of tea and the paper before heading to the office. Then again, this photo from Metropolitan Home (as well as the quotes featured in today’s post) were designed in part to showcase some amazing new ’80s yuppie products rather than provide a detailed inside look at the yuppie lifestyle. Either way, it looks pretty fabulous!…
Let’s talk designer details! A black marble counter in the powder room makes morning primp time all the more elegant, while glossy black cabinets in the kitchen take the edge off the bright morning sun. Is starting the day so bad when you’re surrounded by the fruits of your labor…in material form?! And remember, folks, this was the ’80s. No smoothie bowls for breakfast. A glass of orange juice and a big hunk of jam-slathered bread were perfectly acceptable. Don’t you miss the days before we realized carbs turn to sugar?!
If you were lucky, your significant other (also a yuppie) made you breakfast and packed you lunch. The Metropolitan Home photo shoot above and the screen shot below (from the 1988 film Working Girl) empower working women and depict supportive partners who love to pamper. Check out the red dials on the microwave below. A sleek kitchen was definitely a must in the ’80s. Textured cabinetry, streamlined fixtures and a dark color scheme (peppered with bright accents) were key decorative touches.
At the Office
Some days I’m hungry for power. Some days I’m just hungry. (Lunch is tomatoes and mozzarella.) He says he gets more done working at home. So how come he knows all the words to every video on MTV?
Aren’t you loving these quotes from Metropolitan Home? I’m not sure what the woman above does for a living, but if she has a leather sofa in her office and can nibble on mozzarella and tomatoes while sipping coffee from a chic cup and water from a crystal goblet, I’m thinking her job must have its designer perks! Check out the Memphis-Milano lighting on her desk: the Pausania lamp by Ettore Sottsass. And her partner certainly has a cool office setup of his own, complete with textured walls and a Le Corbusier chair:
Also essential to any power job: a supporting staff at your service. Here’s another screen shot from Baby Boom. LOVE the the green carpet, desk lighting and modern artwork behind James Spader and crew:
Sometimes the workday involved an important meeting. And if you’re Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, you’re about to realize the guy you went home with the night before is actually the guy you’ve booked for today’s meeting. Bonus points if you’re a secretary pretending to be an executive and “that guy” is Harrison Ford!
And extra credit if you end up pulling it off and landing a giant promotion, complete with your own roomy office. Now that’s a productive day at work! Soon the sun will be setting and the night will begin…
I’ve been slaving all day over a hot desk. He’s obviously been knocking himself out, too. With dinner guests coming in an hour, good thing I picked up the essentials. Guess who’s going to grate the Parmesan and toss the fusilli? (Hint: Not me.)
Seriously, how much are we loving these quotes?! And if anyone’s keeping track of this woman’s meal plan for the day, it includes bread and orange juice for breakfast, mozzarella and tomatoes for lunch, and pasta for dinner. Gosh darnit, I miss the carbfest that was the ’80s! Yet others managed to work in some greens and protein. Above and below we see screen shots from Baby Boom. That dishware is a-mazing. This is what’s called a working dinner, and it was a common occurrence for ’80s yuppies.
For those who weren’t picking up dinner at the market or dining at the latest New York restaurant, there were a range of kitchen gadgets to enjoy. You know, if you were adventurous enough to cook! If you could afford it and you were a foodie, why not enjoy the latest pasta maker?…
Or experiment with your new sushi maker?! Above we see the well accessorized hand of Daryl Hannah and below is watch-adorned arm of Charlie Sheen. The movie is Wall Street, and if you want to see the the ultimate in ’80s yuppie decadence, check out this post.
We’re getting the feeling that black and white dishes were an ’80s yuppie staple:
For after-hours yuppie fun, watch the 1988 film Bright Lights, Big City starring Michael J. Fox. For the well-behaved yuppie, working after dinner wasn’t unusual, and then it was time for bed. After all, morning comes too soon…
Thanks for reading! For more ’80s fun, check out Mirror80’s Yuppie Cocktail Party concept. Hope your week is off to a great start. XOXO, Kate
Jano Montalvo says
I really love the way you have captured that atmosphere from 80s. Great post as always! Have a very nice summer =)
Hi Jano! Thank you for your kind words! I enjoyed escaping into the world of ’80s corporate culture for this post. So many great office interiors and apartments to enjoy! I hope you have a wonderful summer as well. 🙂