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80 Fashion Trends of the 80s

Updated on January 26, 2018

The 1980s had some totally tubular fashions, and we are going to look at 80 of them!

80 Fashion Trends of the 80s

I love 80s fashion! I tend to draw more of my fashion sense from the 60s, 70s, and 90s, but I am an 80s baby, and there are a few things that I work into my wardrobe from this eccentric and exciting decade. How about you? Are you into 1980s fashion?

Not sure? Well, then read on, my friend! Because I am about to present you with 80 fashion trends of the 80s! At the end of the list, you can decide if the 80s are for you or not when it comes to your fashion choices.

Before we get to that though, let's see what made 1980s fashion the way that it was...

Take a gnarly trip with me through the crazy 80s!

Believe it or not, but people actually wore patterns like this in the 1980s!
Believe it or not, but people actually wore patterns like this in the 1980s!
Pretty, yet slightly over the top footwear and fancy drinks - very 80s...
Pretty, yet slightly over the top footwear and fancy drinks - very 80s...

The 1980s...

Words that encapsulate the 1980s outlook and fashion aesthetic:

  • Money
  • Excess
  • Power
  • Greed
  • Materialism
  • Glamour
  • Luxury
  • Narcissism
  • Sex
  • Drugs
  • Art
  • Pretension
  • Gaudiness
  • Garishness
  • Self-Expression

"Greed, for lack of a better word, is good."

-Gordon Gekko, "Wall Street"

80s "It Girl" Madonna capitalized on the growing obsession with materialism and made a huge impact with "Material Girl."

Being glamorous was important to many people, especially women, in the 1980s.
Being glamorous was important to many people, especially women, in the 1980s.

80s Fashion Icons, Fashion Influences, and Fashion Movements

The 80s were a time when decadence and excess were so embraced, that celebrities in entertainment, posh fashion designers, members of royalty, successful businessmen and women, and both real life and fictional wealthy individuals and families were the ones looked to for fashion cues the most. From "Dynasty" to "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," wealth, power, and excess were all over television; fashion designers, who created looks so crazy that they could barely be worn, were worshipped (the price tags matching the high praise they received); and yuppies, preppies, and sloane rangers were powerful forces in fashion, with the sloane ranger look being popularized most by Lady Diana Spencer (aka: Princess Diana), even if people didn't realize it as much at the time.

But these money and power driven, upscale and royal fashions were not the only things to influence people in the 80s. People were also very much influenced by cinema of all kinds, musicians of all backgrounds (not just the wealthy, popular ones), eccentric art, and rebellion against the depressing feeling of the time (bad economies, threats of catastrophic wars, longer work hours, the AIDS epidemic, etc. Yeah, there was a LOT to be depressed about in the 80s...)

Here are some more of the 80s biggest fashion influences:

  • "Wallstreet" (movie)
  • "Miami Vice" (television show)
  • "Dallas" (television show)
  • "Heathers" (movie)
  • "The Lost Boys" (movie)
  • John Hughes movies ("Pretty in Pink," "Sixteen Candles," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," "Weird Science," "The Breakfast Club," "Some Kind of Wonderful," etc.)
  • The "Brat Pack" (Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy, Judd Nelson)
  • Madonna
  • Cyndi Lauper
  • Joan Collins
  • "Working Girl" (movie)
  • Hairbands
  • Dance movies ("Footloose," "Flashdance," "Fame," "Dirty Dancing," etc.)
  • Versace (fashion designer)
  • Vivienne Westwood (fashion designer)
  • Michael Jackson
  • Prince
  • Boy George
  • MTV
  • "Jane Fonda's Workout Book" (book)
  • Olivia Newton John's "Physical" music video
  • "The Cosby Show" (television show)
  • Hip Hop Music
  • Cher
  • Lisa Bonet
  • Don Johnson
  • Laura Ashley (fashion label)
  • Gucci (fashion label)
  • Pat Benatar
  • Brooke Shields
  • Whitney Houston
  • The Cure
  • The Smiths
  • The Flock of Seagulls hairstyles
  • Coca Cola creating celebrated and popular branded clothing
  • "The Golden Girls" (television show)
  • Metal Music
  • Nu Wave Music
  • Tom Cruise
  • Tawny Kitean
  • Billy Idol
  • Tom Petty
  • George Michael
  • "When Harry Met Sally" (movie)
  • Elle MacPherson
  • Cheryl Tiegs
  • The world of big business and the stock market
  • and so much more!

There were also several fashion movements throughout the 80's. Some I already mentioned (The "Yuppie Movement" being a big one), but here are a few of the other more notable fashion movements of the 1980s:

  • The New Romantics
  • The Pirate Look
  • 1940s and 1960s Revivals
  • Fashion as Art
  • The Androgynous Look
  • Gothic Looks derived from the "Batcave," and/or "Deathrock" Cultures
  • and many more.

Plus, jewelry, flowery hats, scarves, makeup, and body paint, as well as typically "masculine" clothing items were acceptable on all genders in the 80s, which is something that I love a lot about 1980s fashion. (I believe all people should be able to express themselves however they want; if a straight man wants to wear eyeliner or lipstick, he should darn well be able to do so without being considered any less of a man or having his sexuality questioned! If a bi-sexual woman wants to wear a power suit and tie, she should be able to do so without being labeled a lesbian instead of bi-sexual due to old, outdated gender stereotypes!) People of the 80s got it, at least some of them did, and they helped to pave the way for so many people in the 90s and the new millennium to be themselves and express themselves freely through fashion. So, like, totally awesome to the max, right?

But enough talk... let's take a more entertaining look at 80s fashion influences...

Shining a "Spotlight" on The New Romantics:

"Loving would be easy if your colors were like my dreams..."

"Let's get physical, physical..."

Physical fitness was super important in the 80s!

Who didn't want a hot bod like Jane Fonda's?
Who didn't want a hot bod like Jane Fonda's?

Also important in the 80s? Anything concerning Lady Diana Spencer / Princess Diana!

Style Icon: Lady Diana

And of course, it wouldn't be the 80s without a big dose of fun!

But let's get to why we're all here...

It's time to look at 80 fashion trends of the 1980s!

80 Fashion Trends of the 80s (in no particular order)

Here we go, we're finally tackling these 80 fashion trends of the 1980s! Let's see if any of your favorites made the list, shall we?

80 Fashion Trends of the 80s: 1-10

  • 1. Shoulder Pads
  • 2. Big Hair / Teased Hair / Crimped Hair / Hair Styled as Art
  • 3. Pearls
  • 4. The "Di Cut" (Named after Lady Diana Spencer / Princess Diana)
  • 5. Neon Colors / Primary Colors / Jewel Tones / Pastels / Black and Brown
  • 6. Scrunchies
  • 7. Mini Skirts
  • 8. Bows
  • 9. Blue Eyeshadow
  • 10. Body Conscious Dresses (Also called: Body Con Dresses)

Big, chunky jewelry, jewelry one could wear in layers, pearl necklaces, gold chains, and jewelry made with fancy, expensive jewels, such as diamonds, were very important in the 80s.
Big, chunky jewelry, jewelry one could wear in layers, pearl necklaces, gold chains, and jewelry made with fancy, expensive jewels, such as diamonds, were very important in the 80s.

That eye shadow, that "body con" dress, and that giant bow on her head makes Whitney an 80s fashion icon!

Blue... what a great color!

Though eye shadow was popular in many shades, nothing says 80s quite like blue eyeshadow.
Though eye shadow was popular in many shades, nothing says 80s quite like blue eyeshadow.

80 Fashion Trends of the 80s: 11-20

  • 11. Thin Belts
  • 12. Power Suits
  • 13. Jelly Shoes
  • 14. Vinyl Jackets
  • 15. Overalls
  • 16. Silk Blouses
  • 17. Underwear as Outerwear
  • 18. Leggings
  • 19. Permed Hair
  • 20. Scarves (to be displayed on the head, around the neck, tied to legs, ankles, arms, wrists, or feet, worn as a belt around the waist, on mic stands, etc.)

From Aerosmith to Ally Sheedy, everybody had scarves in the 80s!

80 Fashion Trends of the 80s: 21-30

  • 21. Over-sized Eye wear
  • 22. Tapered Leg Pants
  • 23. Cowboy Boots
  • 24. Fishnets
  • 25. Roll-neck Turtle Necks
  • 26. Penny Loafers
  • 27. Asymmetrical Clothing and Hairstyles
  • 28. Culottes
  • 29. Baseball Caps
  • 30. Ray Bans

Ray Bans - Practically the Official Eye Wear Brand of the 80s!

80 Fashion Trends of the 80s: 31-40

  • 31. Mullets
  • 32. T-shirts with Blazers
  • 33. Animal Prints
  • 34. Colorful Tights
  • 35. Legwarmers
  • 36. Leotards / Bodysuits
  • 37. Sweatbands
  • 38. Costume Items as Daily Clothing and Club-wear / Costume Jewelry
  • 39. Feathers
  • 40. Stars / Hearts / Rainbows / Unicorns

Feathers may have gotten big in the 70s, but the 80s took things to a whole other level!

The 80s also had a lot of people seeing stars...

From star patterns on clothing to star earrings to stars painted on the face to Converse All Stars - people in the 80s had a thing for stars!
From star patterns on clothing to star earrings to stars painted on the face to Converse All Stars - people in the 80s had a thing for stars!

Talk about a star of the 80s: it's Jem!

80 Fashion Trends of the 80s: 41-50

  • 41. Canvas Shoes
  • 42. Members Only Jackets
  • 43. Polo Shirts
  • 44. Large, yet Light Sweaters / Cardigans (especially tied about the shoulders)
  • 45. Puffy Sleeve Dresses (either just the shoulder or the whole sleeve)
  • 46. Ballet Flats
  • 47. Puffy Vests
  • 48. Checked Patterned Coats, Culottes, Shirts, Skirts, etc.
  • 49. Houndstooth Patterned Jackets, Sweaters, Skirts, Blazers, etc.
  • 50. Wellington Boots (also called: Wellies)

Wellies!

80 Fashion Trends of the 80s: 51-60

  • 51. Acid Washed Denim
  • 52. Torn / Shredded / Cut-up T-shirts
  • 53. The Buffalo Hat
  • 54. Over-sized Sweatshirts (especially those that hung off of one shoulder)
  • 55. Stirrup Pants
  • 56. T-shirt Clips
  • 57. Reebok High-tops
  • 58. Fur Coats, Hats, etc.
  • 59. Slouch Boots
  • 60. Gloves / Finger-less Gloves / Wristlets (satin, lace, leather, etc.)

80s fashion was very much about having power and self-confidence, taking risks, and dressing to excess for success! This can all be observed in this video...

Even kids were fashion fierce in the 80s!

Fashion Trends of the 80s: 61-70

  • 61. Tutus
  • 62. Converse All Stars
  • 63. Corset Belts
  • 64. Coogi Sweaters (also known as "Cosby Sweaters")
  • 65. Jheri Curls
  • 66. Over-sized Sweaters and Sweater Dresses with Leggings
  • 67. Round Brim Hats
  • 68. Geometric Shapes (in patterns and clothing construction)
  • 69. Layering (jewelry, clothing, etc.)
  • 70. Mixing Patterns. Color Palettes, Animal Prints, etc.

Leather was a big part of the 80s.

80 Fashion Trends of the 80s: 71-80

  • 71. Leather (especially leather jackets)
  • 72. Leather and Lace Together
  • 73. Top Hats
  • 74. Jordache Jeans
  • 75. Sequins and Rhinestones
  • 76. Velvet (especially dresses and jackets)
  • 77. Gold Chains
  • 78. Diamond Jewelry
  • 79. Over-sized Jackets Paired with Skin Tight Shirts / Leotards / Bodysuits
  • 80. Legwarmers and/or Socks with Pumps

Legwarmers and/or socks with pumps? So 80s!

For an in depth, scholarly look at 80s fashion: "The Ultimate Fashion History: The 1980s"

1980s fashion may have it's faults, but at least it was a very interesting decade for fashion! We should be grateful for what the 80s gave us!

There we have it... 80 fashion trends of the 80s!

Did I miss any of your favorite fashions from the 1980s? If so, please let me know in the comments below!

Also, what do you think of the 80s fashion trends seen here, on my family, in the 80s? I personally think we're looking radical to the max.

My family in the late 1980s; that's me, bottom left.
My family in the late 1980s; that's me, bottom left.

What do you think of 1980s fashion?

Are there any 80s fashions you think are, like, totally awesome?

See results

If you think that 80s fashion is totally tubular, then keep the 80s alive, and share your love in the comments below!

If you need some more inspiration before you go, this video will help... Whitesnake + Tawny Kitean = 80s Greatness!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these fashion trends from the 1980s!

Yes, this is me! I was looking very 80s for a Hairband show I did with my band Odds Fish in 2017! It was a lot of fun! I hope you all can have fun with 80s fashion too!
Yes, this is me! I was looking very 80s for a Hairband show I did with my band Odds Fish in 2017! It was a lot of fun! I hope you all can have fun with 80s fashion too!

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