Fab40s: channeling our childhood pop idols

This month it was my turn to choose the Fab40s theme. Last month, we styled Candy Crush. After giving it some thought, I decided we should try channeling our childhood pop idols and style an outfit inspired by them. An odd theme, perhaps, but we do like a challenge!

The challenge, for me, wasn’t so much styling an outfit inspired by my childhood pop idol but it was styling it for today. I didn’t want to look like a fancy dress version of the woman I adored as a child. I wanted to use some of her style and make it suitable for 2021.

So, let’s rewind time. Say to, 1984? Can you remember that far back? I was eight years old and a particular American singer was fast becoming a huge star in her own right. She was unlike anyone I’d ever seen before and her music just made me want to dance and sing to my heart’s content. I started a scrapbook dedicated entirely to this woman. I would carefully cut out any mention of her from my dad’s newspapers and my mum’s magazines and glue each article and picture into this book. It was like my very own little pop bible. And the singer? Well, it was Madonna, of course.

I loved everything about her. Her music, her spunkiness, her fashion style, the way she did her hair. I just wanted to be her (well, I did say I was eight!). This carried on for a few years but when we moved to Portugal in 1986, even though she was still my idol, I wasn’t able to take the scrapbook with me. Plus, it wasn’t so easy to get hold of English magazines at the time. But I continued to love her and her songs. I even loved her movies lol. Desperately Seeking Susan and Who’s That Girl were my absolute favourites. My obsession faded with time, even though I continued to love her old music…I began to lose interest in her newer stuff. The last album I enjoyed was Ray of Light. Most of what came later disappointed me a little. But I was a different person by then, anyway. And so was she.

But back to the outfit I styled for our childhood pop idols theme. As mentioned previously, I didn’t want to look like a fancy dress version of Madonna, so I decided to take her love of lots of jewellery (1980s style) and make it my own. Now, before you say anything, you might notice I haven’t gone overboard with the necklaces because it’s just not me to wear so many! I’m actually only wearing two here (one from Bijou Brigitte and the other was a gift from MIL). I am, however, wearing several bracelets to make up for it. Again, I feel ok with this amount. Any more, and I would have felt too OTT.

OTT certainly isn’t a phrase I would use for this outfit though! It’s probably one of the most simple Fab40s outfits I’ve ever styled. After reminding myself of the kind of thing Madonna wore back in the 80s, I believe this has elements of that. In the early days, she favoured plain t-shirts with jean shorts, or high waisted tapered trousers with lace vests (tank tops). I found a few pictures of her wearing simple ballerina shoes too. She sometimes wore this style of jacket—although hers weren’t necessarily denim. I would have preferred to wear a lace top here, but would you believe that I don’t have any?! The only one I could find was more goth (long sleeves, high neckline), so I opted for a plain vest instead.

What she did like to wear were lace gloves, which I do happen to own (!), but I decided against wearing them because I simply wouldn’t wear them myself to go out. I bought them for a fancy dress outfit years ago lol! I also decided against the big bow in my hair. I did try a tamer version but it just looked wrong, so I opted out. I like the result though. It’s a super simple Madonna-inspired outfit for my 45-year-old-self in 2021. Do you see my inspiration?

Let’s see what the other Fab40s gals wore for this fun childhood pop idols theme. Ada isn’t joining us this month because she’s taking a much needed and well deserved break to spend some quality time with her family. But she’ll be back soon!

Daenel, Living Outside the Stacks

Daenel struggled with this theme because she wasn’t able to listen to pop music as a child, but when she got her first walkman, things changed! She adored Lisa Stansfield and I can totally see her inspiration in this picture! And what a stunningly beautiful photo it is. I loved Lisa Stansfield too. If I ever hear that song, All Around The World…it stays in my head for ages. Oh dear….I think I’ve done it again!

Mireille, Chez Mireille

Mireille also struggled a bit with this theme, because, growing up in France at that time, she wasn’t able to listen to all the mainstream pop music. So, she chose French singer, Patrick Bruel to inspire her. I’d never actually heard of him, but I can totally see 80’s/90s rocker in this look! And what a cool backdrop, right?!

Shelbee, Shelbee on the Edge

I had a feeling that Shelbee would also be styling Madonna and I wasn’t wrong! I love that we had the same pop idol as kids. It’s just something else to add to our ‘lots in common list’! I also love that she’s showing off her brand new Doc Martens for this fabulous Madonna-esque look! She looks absolutely fabulous.

And me…with Rocky from down the road, who decided to jump on the sun bed with me while I was taking photos!



  1. September 27, 2021 / 2:58 pm

    Love the back story for your outfit! I have kept my journals and some picture from my youth but not much else. I do still have this poor stuffed animal that is about 40 years old now. It is hard to move everything when you go from a country to another. We sure look cool!

  2. September 27, 2021 / 3:02 pm

    Your challenge outfit is great fusion of Madonna and your own personal style. I like the dark necklaces against the white top. When I think pop icon, Madonna is the first one to come to mind along with Michael Jackson. I can see why you chose her.


  3. September 27, 2021 / 3:12 pm

    Suzy, I love how you took 80’s Madonna elements and styled them into a current, cool, and modern look that is perfectly fabulous on your 45 year old self. I was hesitant about my Doc Martens because I feel like they are so very 90s. But I also wanted a current look that I would wear right now.

    Your outfit is so so good! I love the double denim and the layered necklaces with the ballet flats. You can absolutely see the Madonna inspiration in this look while not looking like you are wearing a Madonna costume. Although I might want to wear a Madonna costume for a Halloween post! This was a super fun theme, my friend! I’m up next and still brainstorming!


  4. September 27, 2021 / 4:03 pm

    In 1984, I had three kids under the age of four and was a stay at home mom. Madonna and MTV saved my sanity…especially for those middle of the night feedings! I love how you took her style and then made it your own. You always look so comfortable and happy in your photos (something I definitely am not yet). What a fun prompt!

  5. September 28, 2021 / 12:12 am

    I like how you took the inspiration and transform into something that close to you Suzy. That is a perfect reflection of who you are. Although the inspiration goes back to 80’s, it’s very much is in vogue now

  6. September 28, 2021 / 11:45 am

    Such a fun way to take inspiration from a great fashion and music icon and make it more wearable! the layered necklaces look great together 🙂

    Hope your week is off to a good start 🙂

  7. Kimberly
    September 29, 2021 / 4:07 am

    You look amazing! I definitely love the double denim look (I’m a sucker for denims hahaha). Now the only missing is the mic and you’re ready to hit the stage 😉

  8. September 30, 2021 / 9:49 pm

    You four come up with such fun styling themes that allow you so many options for showing your creativity. I adore your spin on this month’s “pop idols” prompt.


  9. October 1, 2021 / 3:09 am

    Oh my word, I love the image of you scrapbooking Madonna. My first contact with her was the song “Borderline.” I. Loved. It.

    You did a great job updating her look. I love everything about it. Also how do you not have a lace top? I just imagine you having a closet full.

  10. October 3, 2021 / 4:08 pm

    Love that you styled Madonna with touches of bracelets and layered necklaces. I mostly listened to rock/ hair bands, but I did enjoy some pop from time to time! Of course, Madonna!
    thanks for linking!
    jess xx

  11. October 3, 2021 / 9:28 pm

    This is such a fun challenge! I have no idea who I would pick.

  12. October 9, 2021 / 5:18 pm

    A simple but very effective outfit. Very wearable and you can change the jewellery.

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