Totally Memorable '80s Fashion Trends
When you hear the words '80s Fashion' what comes to mind? Spandex? Shoulder pads? Madonna’s ripped tights? The decade was an era of bold styles and prints and as ridiculous as some of it may look now, we have the '80s to thank for many of our trends today. In honor of these styles making a comeback in modern fashion, let’s take a look at 10 of the most iconic, outrageous, and definitive trends from the 1980s.
10. High Waisted Jeans
Lovingly referred to as “mom jeans,” these high waisted jeans were fashionable in the 1980s among middle aged women as well as those who wanted a figure flattering cut that had a rock-n-roll feel. Bonus points if they were acid wash. High waisted jeans are the perfect example of a trend lovingly reclaimed from the 80s, only now the style which was once seen as unhip among the younger generation is trendy with teenagers and young women.
The 80’s were a decade of optimism and innocence. In many ways, these bold colors represented a fun, playful step into the future of fashion. Neon outfits were one of the most quintessential looks of the era and were a fun way to express your confidence and uniqueness. Neon fashion can still be seen in rave culture and may be making its return to runways before we know it.
8. Shoulder Pads
Another bold 80s trend were shoulder pads, almost synonymous with 1980s fashion. The 1980s saw a rise of powerful women in the workplace on a scale never seen before. Some people say that shoulder pads were a way women could visually assimilate within traditionally male-dominated fields and assert their power. Others might have just liked the androgynous styles of Madonna or Grace Jones. Whatever their purpose, shoulder pads were a fun, undeniably '80s, trend.
Spandex is another trend making its way back into modern fashion in a major way. Spandex also symbolised the success, uniqueness, and youth that the 1980’s represented. Though most commonly seen in workout apparel, the 1980’s also introduced Spandex into the everyday fashion of average people and acted as a fun way to stand out from the crowd. Spandex is still worn today, with many young influencers sporting spandex bike shorts and oversized sweatshirts as a hot new trend.
6. Leg Warmers
The 1980’s was a decade of fantastic dancers, from Michael Jackson to Cyndi Lauper. Many young people wanted to recreate their moves and get more into dance themselves. Leg warmers, once strictly considered dancewear to keep the calves warm during practice, soon made their way into mainstream fashion. The trend boomed with the success of Fame and Flashdance, which featured leg warmers on the big screen.
5. Ripped Jeans
Denim really shifted during the 1980s, especially thanks to the emerging punk rock scene. Ripped jeans, created in the 1970s and popularized in the 1980’s, is a trend that’s never quite fallen out of style. It can be seen in every decade since, but was considered an alternative trend in the 1980s symbolizing the punk scene. This one hasn’t made a comeback because it’s never gone out of fashion.
4. Denim on Denim
Another denim trend, this look was extremely popular for men growing up in the '80s. Whether it was a denim jacket over jeans or a denim Oxford shirt tucked into your acid wash jeans, the double denim look epitomized cool at the time. Calvin Klein designed an all-denim line at the time and other fashion designers quickly followed, turning the denim trend into a worldwide phenomenon. Women were also drawn to the trend and the denim on denim look was loved by many our favorite celebrities of the time.
3.Windbreakers and Tracksuits
1980’s nylon windbreakers and tracksuits are a staple of the generation and what often comes to mind when we picture popular street fashion of the decade. Popularized by artists like LL Cool J and The Beastie Boys, this is yet another example of workout attire making its way to the street fashion scene. This trend has also made its way back into our modern lives with windbreakers making a comeback in recent years.
2. Big Hair
While technically not a fashion trend, we can’t leave this iconic 80’s fixture off our list. One of the most memorable parts of the 80’s, these voluminous, permed, and moussed styles add to the reputation of the decade as being one of excess. Seen on celebrities like Bon Jovi and Madonna, it’s popularity took off and big hair quickly became all the rave for men and women alike. This is one 80’s trend that we don’t see making a comeback anytime soon.
1. New Wave
New Wave and Post-Punk had huge influences on 1980’s society and fashion. Slim-fitting suits and thin ties, bold colors and prints, and Members-Only jackets all defined the style. The genre was described as “Pop’s response to punk” and blends elements of the two resulting in a unique, edgy, colorful array of silhouettes and styles.