Every decade has their own fair share of hits and misses when it comes to fashion. But, there’s a challenge to beat out the 80s when it comes to the most memorable style choices. The 70s came close but so far, the four decades since haven’t been able to do it.
But why? What makes the 80s so unforgettable when it comes to fashion? Let’s take a look at the top fashion trends in the 80s to find out!
Someone, somewhere got the ridiculous idea that women would look more suitable (pretty sure there’s a pun there?) if they wore blazers and power suits that consisted of broad, football player-like shoulders. Needless to say, the fashion lasted the decade and spilled over into the 90s, but it hasn’t made a comeback … yet.
Acid Washed Jeans
Cotton/denim is probably the most versatile material in fashion, and it has been for quite some time. But, leave it up to the 80s to experiment – introducing acid washed jeans. It was an experiment that boomed during the decade but failed to last the test of time. When it comes to jeans, just say no to acid.
Thanks to repressed memories from 80’s rap “icons” like MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice, harem pants became the rage in the mid to late part of the decade. These big, baggy pants with tight ankles were reminiscent of fashion that originated in the Arabian Peninsula.
At some point in the 80s, animal print became a go-to luxury look. Whether it was actual fur or faux fur print, men and women were sporting their best animal Safari impersonations with the likes of cheetah, tiger, zebra, leopard and giraffe print … on everything. Literally, everything. From jackets and furniture to underwear and artwork.
Colored Leggings, Miniskirts and Fingerless Gloves
Like most fashion trends, it takes one huge celebrity to endorse them to really detonate a craze. Well, for young women in the 80s, that celebrity was Madonna. Shortly after she hit the scene rocking a mini skit, leggings and fingerless gloves in Like a Virgin the trend was set and the rest is history.
If you were part of the aerobics craze that hit the late 70s and 80s, then you had leg warmers, guaranteed. It was a decade of “getting physical,” like Olivia Newton John said in 1981 … so long as you were wearing leg warmers to do so. In fact, leg warmers became so popular that they briefly transcended just an athletic trend and became a casual style trend.
Member’s Only Jacket
Like the name suggests, Member’s Only jackets made you part of an elite club. They came in a wide variety of colors and material (like faux leather and denim). The cool crowd rocked them, and if you wanted to be even cooler than cool, well, you pushed the sleeves up to just below the elbows for the coolest of cool.
Oversized, One Shoulder Tops
What looked better paired with two of our previously listed 80s trends (mini skirt and leggings) than an oversized sweater? Short answer, nothing. These big, oversized tops were often fastened with a belt at the waist for that sought after V-shape and hung ever so meticulously nonchalant over one shoulder.
Not all 80s fashion was just about the clothes. Although the way masses of people walked around wearing the Walkman, it could have been mistaken for clothing. This portable cassette player with headphones was an essential for the 80s on-the-go music lover.
Big Hair, Don’t Care
If you wanted to make a statement with your hair the 80s, it usually entailed how much volume you could get into your hair. The bigger, the better. So after 15 minutes of blow drying and a full can of hairspray, you’d be ready to paint the town … and destroy the ozone layer.
The best part about all these 80’s fashion trends is that they were so well commemorated at the time thanks to the popularity of polaroid pictures and home video cameras, like the Sony Handycam. Allowing you to see just how “in style” you were back in the late Gen X years. Speaking of old photos and film … if you’ve got a dusty shoe box full of old media, send it into Southtree to digitize those moments and preserve your memories for decades to come.