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80s Fashion Trends

Updated on January 3, 2014
enchanting, casual, 80s, hair, makeup
enchanting, casual, 80s, hair, makeup

Loving the 80s and the Fashion Trends it Brought Us...

The 80s produced some interesting things. Fashion wasn't its strongest point. As trends are recycled and decades revisited we can only hope that the 80s stays in the 80s, and spare ourselves from the embarrassment of oversized clothing and blinding colours. 80s fashion introduced hip hop culture, evolved punk fashion and the yuppie movement. On this 80s fashion hub you'll see pictures and descriptions of 80s fashion and hair styles. Many of the 80s fashion sprung from American & the UK subcultures that have had a great influence cultures around the world.

Stay True To Punk! DIY, rebellion, anti-authoritarianism and anarchy
Stay True To Punk! DIY, rebellion, anti-authoritarianism and anarchy

80s Punk Fashion:

The 80's saw the rise of the Punk era. Multicoloured Mohawks, bleached hair, short spiky hair, torn leather with chains, eye liner, spike collars and spike wrist bands. Punk is about rebelling against any and all social structures. Most of the extravagance of the era was with the aim to free the individual from the notion that everybody should look the same. Everyone was striving to free themselves from being sheep in the flock. This extreme counter culturism inspired shocking almost perverse 80s hair styles and trends: close-pin piercings, shredded clothing, etc. 80s punk fashion is like nothing else.

Yo, Max Out... These clothes are whack!
Yo, Max Out... These clothes are whack!

80s Hip Hop Fashion:

The 80s were the golden age of Hip Hop. Adidas jump suits and shoes, multi-fingered rings and thick gold chains. Hip Hop music, fashion and culture were called a fad throughout the eighties and part of the nineties. In the 80s Hip Hop was the loudest expression of African American subculture and Black Nationalism became increasingly influential in rap. The "hip-pop" era also saw the split between male and female hip hop fashion, which had previously been more or less similar. Women in hip hop had emulated the male tough-guy fashions such as baggy pants and heavy work boots but added glamour with hoop earrings and lip gloss. In 1980, Nike had attained a 50% market share in the U.S and in 1988 Nikes famous slogan “Just Do It” became the pinnacle of the brands’ marketing efforts. Starter jackets, in addition, were also a popular trend in their own right during the late 1980s and early 1990s. A lot of 80s Hip Hop fashion became something of a status-symbol, even today with famous rappers such as 50 Cent.

Glamour Rock n Roll: 80s-tastic
Glamour Rock n Roll: 80s-tastic

80s Pop Rock n Roll Fashion:

Huge hair, platinum blonde hair, glitter, lots of make-up, sexual ambiguity, tight jeans (bulging crotch). Male 80s "hair bands" were all very feminine looking and driven to do nothing but get wasted and have sex. Hair bands drew as many women fans as male despite their teased hair, lipstick and womanizing. Back in the 80s, rock music was said to represent freedom of expression; the freedom to be yourself. These rock bands brought together all sorts of people, each one unique in their own little way, each one their own different person. During the 1980s, rock groups Poison, Motley Crue, and Guns N' Roses all demonstrated their own style of fashion to the world of music. They were always seen wearing black, tight leather pants, leather jackets, and tall, spiked leather boots, not to mention accessorizing the leather with shiny silver belt buckles, chains, and rings. Some also wore dark eye glasses and headbands, heavy makeup including dark eye liner, mascara with big, long, frizzy hair with bangs and tons of hairspray. Rock on!

80s High Street Fashion

The 80s material girl flaunted perms, bold colors and heavy makeup literally to the max.The 1980s fashion had heavy emphasis on expensive dressing and fashion accessories.In the 1970s, the silhouette of fashion tended to be characterized by close fitting clothes on top with wider, looser clothes on the bottom. This trend completely reversed itself in the early 1980s as both men and women began to wear looser shirts and tight, close-fitting trousers. The main fashion trends were:

80's Shoulder pads extreme!
80's Shoulder pads extreme!

80s Fashion Trends - Big Shoulders

Shoulder-padded women were prolific, giving the illusion of having broader and less sloping shoulders. The appearance of big shoulders was very popular during the 80s. To get this appearance, women would wear shirts or dresses that had shoulder pads. Although many people would agree that the look was slightly manly, it was very popular during this time. The reason was because women felt that shoulder pads got rid of their shoulder imperfections. Today, most fashion styles do not include shoulder pads.

The business woman
The business woman

80s Fashion Trends - Business Suits

One of the most popular fashion trends of the 80s was business suits. This included skirt suits and pants suits. With both options, a lot of emphasis was placed on the appearance of big shoulders. Business suits came in a wide variety of colors but it was generally more popular to wear dark colors, such as black or navy, or light colors, such as light green, blue or pink.

80s Fashion Trends - Shawls

Shawls are another fashion trend which became very popular during the 80s. They were worn on various occasions and with many outfits. Women wore shawls with tank tops during the day and with evening gowns at night. Shawls were designed using a wide variety of colors, patterns and materials. They were one of the most popular accessories of the decade.

A very cool clutch bag, in Yellow leather, dating to circa 1984.
A very cool clutch bag, in Yellow leather, dating to circa 1984.

80s Fashion Trends - Bags

Bags were very popular during the 80s. Throughout most of the decade, clutch bags were in demand. They offered so much appeal because they were so compact and were great for evening parties. Chanel handbags and Louis Vuitton luggage/briefcases were also very popular during this time, but due to the high cost, only the more elite were able to afford these designer bags. In the 80s, it was very common for women to match their handbags to their shoes.

Costume jewelry took it's own right in the 80s - to firmly stamp your style on your wardrobe.
Costume jewelry took it's own right in the 80s - to firmly stamp your style on your wardrobe.

80s Fashion Trends - Jewelry

There was a lot of emphasis put on accessories during the 1980s, jewelry being one of the main fashion trends that were focused on. It was very common for women to wear pearls, gold and hoop earrings. Charm bracelets, especially ones that held gold charms, were also very popular during this time. A lot of teenage girls took great pride in colorful plastic costume jewelry as well.

80s fashion - oh yes we did!
80s fashion - oh yes we did!

80s Fashion Trends – Leg Warmers

They might not have looked all that attractive, but Ill be darned if leg warmers didn't live up to their name! They were a massive trend in the 80s and were worn with heels or pumps, skirts and leggings. Originally worn by dancers to keep their muscles from cramping after stretching, in the early 1980s leg warmers became a fad and wearing them was fashionable among teenage girls. Leg warmers became particularly popular in the early 80's when 'lets get physical' came out, and the influence of the films Fame and Flashdance as well as the concurrent aerobics craze.

Vintage 80's Nylon Dance LEGGINGS!
Vintage 80's Nylon Dance LEGGINGS!

80s Fashion Trends – Leggings

When leggings became popular around 1982, they did so unobtrusively with timid gray, white and black leggings worn discreetly under skirts, dresses and even voluminous thigh-length sweaters. Then someone cranked the heat up and we saw animal prints, paisley, lace, zebra, leopard and snakeskin patterns. When the leggings party was in full swing, they stopped at nothing: liquid leggings that resemble molten metals; fluorescent, painted-on pants and bodysuit leggings. Life was spandex and lycra, and life was good. Today they have evolved from being an exercise necessity to popular clubbing apparel.

Love the 80s fashion trends?

What do you love the most about 80s fashion trends?

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80s Fashion Trends: Makeup Tutorial

Check out my article on Early 1900 Fashion, which was indeed a miraculous era for fashion!


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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      lol this is great

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Real name and date posted?? Need to cite your article. Thanks.

    • profile image

      girls dresses 

      8 years ago

      80's back and it produced some interesting things. Also the look fresh and fun

    • hanwillingham profile image


      8 years ago

      Thanks for this great hub.

    • slave222 profile image


      8 years ago from Milky Way

      This is an AWSOME hub.

      Going 2 an 80s themed party and had no idea what to wear.

      Heaps of Help


    • profile image

      wedding accessories 

      9 years ago

      80's fashion means something that is evergreen and meant to leave an imprint in a party when you can carry yourself in the right graceful way. I love the 80's style, and it clicks sometimes, whenever everyone is following only one current trend and you steal the show by being different.

    • yenajeon profile image

      Yena Williams 

      9 years ago from California

      I love 80's Fashion! This is a great hub.

    • mod2vint profile image


      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Simone, well said. I loved the 80's.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      "Shoulder imperfections?" I've never heard of this and I came of age in the 80s. People wearing shoulder pads (like they also did in the 40s and 50s, by the way) were usually trying to achieve a triangular silhouette, wide on top and narrow on the bottom. In fact, there was a lot of classic influence of the 40s and 50s in 80s fashion design. (80s prom dresses aren't too different from 50s prom dresses.) It's also when mixing vintage with contemporary clothing hit the mainstream (i.e., Pretty in Pink). And not all 80s clothes were brightly colored. Some people were Deathrockers (Goths) who went for more monochromatic ensembles or Ska fans who were into 2-tone Mod styles. The 80s were the last innovative decade for fashion. At least people weren't as scared to try something a little different then.

    • dollydater profile image


      9 years ago from UK

      I have recently done an 80's fashion hub, great pics you have, i couldn't stand the 80's fashion but the revival clothes are a fab take on it :)

    • FashionFame profile image


      9 years ago from California

      Hi Gaget Girl. I am in love with 80s fashion, especially hip hop fashion. Looking forward for more of your writing. Stay connected. Im joining your fan club and would like to invite you too.

    • profile image

      MMA Clothing 

      10 years ago

      Vintage is so much fun. Everything today just looks alike.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      80s fashions are cool.

      inovaters always get inspirations from 80s.

      i love 8os fashion.

    • P Morgan profile image

      P Morgan 

      10 years ago

      Hey, don't forget cowboy gear :) Our son HAD to have new cowboy boots every time he grew out of the old pair. A must!

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      10 years ago from Great Britain

      Can't quite believe I wore most of what you have described. Wish I'd kept some photos. Thanks for bringing back forgotten memories, .... I think...

    • profile image

      ken atik djatmiko 

      10 years ago

      the past always inspiring

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      lovel styls

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Excellent hub. Lots of good information on 80s clothing and fashion.

    • quiet tracer profile image

      quiet tracer 

      11 years ago from South-Asia

      Very nice hub :-)

    • desert blondie profile image

      desert blondie 

      11 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      Fun hub...interesting too! Have done a few columns myself reflecting back to eighties influences in today's fashions...take a look when you get a chance!


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