80s Fashion & 80s Outfit that is making a comeback
Certain trends are timeless and stay popular, others are just things we laugh about from the past. There are certain styles in every decade that stay trendy no matter what. When it comes to the 80s, many styles are coming back into mainstream fashion and some of the trends honestly never left in the first place. If you’re looking to revamp your wardrobe, read on! Here are 50 80s fashion that is making a comeback
80s Fashion – 1. Denim on denim
It’s impossible to go to a clothing store and not see denim jeans of all sizes folded and stacked on the shelves. Denim is a trend that has never died. However, it was not always a popular trend to wear denim on denim, such as a denim jacket paired with denim jeans. It was just too much denim. However, 1980’s fashion changed the idea that there was such a thing as too much denim. It was a trend back then, and it’s not uncommon to see today.
If you take a look at your mom’s, friend’s, or even your prom photos, you’re bound to see extremely colorful dresses with an assortment of ruffles. Ruffles were in dresses, blouses, jackets, you name it. The dress could have ruffled shoulders, be lined with ruffles, or be entirely made up of huge ruffles. It creates a fun layered effect to all your outfits.
80s Outfit – 3. Brightly colored windbreakers
Every windbreaker you will find from the 80s will have at least 3 different colors on it with geometrical designs. If you attend an 80s fashion party, you’re guaranteed to find at least a couple of people rocking these iconic windbreakers.
4. Aviator sunglasses
Aviators (also known as pilot’s glasses) were a statement piece back in the 80s. Originally created by Bausch & Lomb for protecting pilot’s eyes while flying, they are now marketed today as Ray-Ban Aviators and are worn as a fashion statement. Their specific shape of lenses immediately up your cool and add a suave aura to your outfit. They were sported by many celebrities, including Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Elvis Presley, and Tom Cruise.
Mesh shirts overlapping a tank top was a trend for women in the 80s. They were made in different colors, but most popularly in neon green, pink, yellow, and other bright colors. Mesh layered shirts are still popular today, but most are black and give a punk rock or chic look.
6. Acid washed denim
You’ve probably seen some acid-washed denim in stores or when you’re thrift shopping. It’s a particular pattern that looks a bit like the jeans were crumpled up and doused with acid and then straightened out and worn. They were popular as pants but also came in denim jackets, skirts, and more.
7. Leg warmers
Leg warmers were very popular in the 80s and were offered in classic 80s colors: neon pink, green, bright red, yellow, and more. However, they are styled a bit differently than what you see in today’s outfits. In 80s outfits, they were mostly sported over leggings for a workout look or over legs and paired with heels for a fancier cute look. Nowadays they are mostly associated with ballerinas or seen peeking out of tall boots in winter outfits.
8. Hair crimping
Hair crimping is a way to get big, voluminous hair. In the 80s, there were crimping heat tools that would be used in the same way as a hair straightener but had many small wave-like divets. Although crimpers may not be available in stores today, the crimped hair look can still be achieved by heat pressing tight braids and then unraveling them. Today crimped hair is worn by celebrities such as Beyonce and Ariana Grande.
9. Off the shoulder tops
Off the shoulder tops are also a very popular choice for 80s outfits for any spirit days your school has. Its popularity started trending in the 80s, and large fashion brands such as Fashionova and Forever 21 incorporate Off the shoulder tops to this day.
10. Big sleeves
Big sleeves were totally in during the 80s, mostly for women; the bigger, the better. This also went along with the shoulder pad trend, with strong and prominent shoulders. If you wanted to increase the nostalgia of your outfit even further, add big ruffled sleeves!
11. Adidas Stan Smith
The classic Stan Smiths are a staple to any young person’s wardrobe, whether it’s today or back in the 80s. This iconic laced sneaker is mainly white, with a colorful logo printed on the tongue and heel. They were unisex and versatile, which made it wearable by everyone and with any outfit.
12. Colored sunglasses
Whether they’re colored lenses or frames or both lenses AND frames, sunglasses were brightly colored and went along with the whole brightly colored 80s outfit.
13. Monochrome power suits
Monochrome power suits were a great statement piece for women. It made the outfit wearer look professional and fashion-forward. Today they are rocked in the same way, immediately giving a dapper look.
14. Oversized blazers
Oversized blazers were worn like long cardigans or jackets are worn today. It was long enough to touch your thighs and could be paired with essentially any outfit you had on whether it be jeans and a t-shirt or a blouse and a skirt.
15. Sheer tights
Similar to other 80’s fashion trends, sheer tights were popular in many bright colors back then, but are popular as just classic black today. Colors may have turned more subdued, but the actual article of clothing is widespread and worn by many.
16. Fanny packs
Fanny packs were convenient, light, and made it easy to reach your belongings. Available in an assortment of bright colors, it was essential in the 80s to not leave home without your fanny pack. Nowadays they act as a statement piece as luxury brands such as Supreme, Louis Vuitton, Fendi, and Balenciaga, who are making designer fanny packs that cost thousands of dollars.
Bodysuits were popularly sported layered over tights, complete with leg warmers for an athletic leisure look. The more colorful and crazy the print, the better it looked. They were also cut differently in the 80s, making the leg holes higher cut to give the illusion of longer legs. These bodysuits are still popular today but are layered underneath pants and skirts for dressy or fashionable situations.
18. Animal print
Cheetah print, leopard spots, zebra stripes, you name it. There were animal print dresses, blazers, pants, skirts, and more. It was a wild look that had a surge of popularity in the past decade, and has slightly waned in popularity in 2020.
19. High-waisted jeans
High-waisted jeans (otherwise known as mom jeans) were the best type of jean style back in the day. They came in an assortment of washes but were most popular in light denim or acid-washed denim. This trend is making a great comeback because these are some of the most comfortable styles of jeans available!
20. Mini skirts
Any high school movie set in the 80s is sure to have at least one or two girls in a mini skirt. There were tight ones, ruffled ones, plaid ones, and leather ones.
Lace was a great material in 80s outfits. Mostly worn by ladies, lace was used most frequently as the top layer on a dress or shirt. Some lace accessories included headbands and skirts. Lace is a timeless trend that makes any outfit a little bit fancier.
22. Colorful watches
Watches worn in the 80s were made in many different colors. They were mostly analog watches and sometimes featured cool patterns or cute characters such as Mickey Mouse on the watch face.
The world’s most popular skateboard shoe started its trend in the 80s. The sporty look was becoming increasingly popular, and skaters and non-skaters alike hopped on the Vans bandwagon.
24. Velvet dresses
Velvet dresses were also a popular choice for proms and fancy parties in the 80s. There are limitless styles when it comes to velvet dresses, but the material still gives the same shimmery look and feel.
25. Bomber jackets
Bomber jackets were popular for men and women in 80’s outfits. Today they are making a comeback by being a cool and comfortable jacket that can easily be layered underneath. In today’s media, it was recently sported in Guardians of the Galaxy by character Peter Quill.
Leggings added to the athletic leisure look when it was worn underneath bodysuits. They also were worn with ruffled skirts and tutus. They came in neon colors and animal print. Although leggings are still popular today, most come in muted colors like black and gray.
Neon was the color scheme in 1980s fashion. And it wasn’t just one color per outfit either. You could wear a neon green mesh shirt over a neon yellow tank top with a bright pink ruffled skirt layered over bright blue leggings and purple leg warmers. Many jackets and pants came in multiple colors instead of solids.
28. Doorknocker earrings
Doorknocker earrings were the most popular type of earrings in the 80s. They were typically large hoops with a shape and texture that resembled bamboo. These earrings were worn by runway models and hip hop artists alike. A notable example of doorknocker earrings referenced in pop culture was when hip hop artist LL Cool J described wanting a girl with hair extensions and “bamboo earrings” in her song “Around the Way Girl”.
29. Distressed jeans
Distressed jeans with holes and rips started their upward trend in the 80s. The distressed look was popular for street, casual, and effortless styles. Rips and holes were primarily located near the knee area, but could also be in near the thigh or cuff region. Today distressed jeans are still available in any store that sells jeans. It is often associated with youth, teenagers, and young adults.
Chokers were another statement piece adorned on the necks of many ladies in the 80s. Similar to most 80s fashion trends, they were available in many colors and had some big and bold designs. Iconic American singer, Madonna (also known as the “Queen of Pop”), was known for her bold and edgy look back in the 80s. She was rarely seen without a necklace and still maintains her bedazzled look today.
31. Metallic print
Leggings, dresses, and skirts with metallic print gave clothes a shiny look that was different from that of velvet and sequins. The metallic print was flashy and bold, which, if you haven’t noticed thus far, was very popular in the 80s. Pop artist Prince’s signature look included a purple metallic suit with a ruffled white shirt underneath. Although metallic print is not a staple in most people’s closets now, it is still worn by celebrities at fancy events, such as the Academy Awards.
32. High-top sneakers
High-top sneakers with cuffed jeans were essential components in some of the most iconic 80’s outfits. The first Air Jordan high-top basketball shoes created by Nike were designed in the name of Michael Jordan, one of the best NBA players of all time. The recognizable Jumpman logo features Michael Jordan’s silhouette as he jumps to slam dunk a basketball in the hoop. Jordans were released in the 80s and the high-top sneaker design made a worldwide impact that is still popular today.
33. Bucket hats
Bucket hats, similar to fishing hats, were light, comfortable, and had a nice shape to them that fit your head snugly. They were popular amongst hip hop celebs like Run-DMC, Jay-Z, Rihanna, and Chris Brown. Bucket hats were usually a solid color (popularly black or red), which was unusual for the generally colorful 80s style.
34. Corset belts
You may recognize corset belts as those thick belts that wrapped around women’s waists, sometimes including a large buckle or design in the center. Corset belts were meant to create a cinched waist effect that gave an illusion of an hourglass figure. They were generally worn over shirts, dresses, and skirts.
Tassels are colorful strings that are knotted together to create a fun dangling trim that shakes and wiggles with movement. Tassels can essentially be put on anything from shirts and jackets to earrings and pants. Their presence in fashion has since decreased, but they are still popular additions to many handbags, wallets, and purses.
UGG, an American footwear company, was founded in the late 1970s in southern California. These boots became a hit in the 80s and are still popular today. Originally meant to be a boot made for warmth in cold climates, it was taken up by surfer communities and are even worn in warmer places like Hawaii.
37. Pleated skirt
Long pleated skirts were all the rage in the 80s. The vertical divets in the pattern resembled a classic pleated lamp shade. The skirts came up to the waist, which flattered the shape of the outfit wearer, similar to a corset belt.
38. Grandma florals
Grandma florals were very colorful and elegant designs depicting different types of flowers. The grandma name may be due to the pattern resembling your grandma’s couch or the dresses she’d wear. Grandma floral dresses are still worn today, but are usually categorized as vintage dresses.
If you go through your closet and find a pair of old Keds, don’t throw them out! This shoe gained popularity in the 80s and is still a hot shoe today. They are a simple, thin, canvas shoe that will go with any outfit you can think of. Keds will never go out of style!
Sweatpants are great for a classic, casual, and relaxed look. Not to mention wearing sweats is so comfy it’s like wearing your pajamas in public! Most sweatpants you see today are in colors such as black and gray, but 80s fashion had a much larger variety of fun colors to choose from.
Thick headbands were a very popular accessory in 80s fashion. Athletic sweat headbands were available in neon colors. Fashion headbands came in fun patterns such as polka dots or lace with a bow or knot on top. Singer and songwriter star of the 80s, Debbie Gibson, sported headbands and scrunchies during her time in the spotlight.
42. Crop tops
Crop tops are commonplace in today’s fashion, but many people are unaware of the fact that they’ve been around since the 80s. Crop tops that were cut just above the belly button were good for wearing underneath your jacket on a breezy hot day or during a workout! However, the fact that crop tops were worn by men in the 80s (referred to as half-shirts) makes the trend a little different back then compared to now.
The mullet hairstyle (also known as business in the front, party in the back) was sported mostly by men in the 80s including Billy Ray Cyrus, Mel Gibson, David Bowie, and Hulk Hogan. You may be asking: Are mullets making a comeback? Ask Jared Allen.
44. Wide leg pants
Both roomy and fashionable, wide-leg pants were a success in many 80s outfits. Coming in many different colors, these pants were very long and came up to the waist. The pants were fun and flowy when you walked. This is yet another addition to the 80s comfort fashion trend that continues to be popular today.
45. Polka dots and spots
Polka dots and spots weren’t just for little kids in the 80s. Many dresses, skirts, and blouses were adorned with polka dots and worn by women and girls alike. Polka dots are a fun pattern to add to your closet, even nowadays. In some cultures, polka dots symbolize good fortune!
46. Leather jackets
A leather jacket was the ultimate symbol of a cool guy in the 80s. Like Danny Zuko from the movie Grease, the most popular guys in school wore black leather jackets. Heartthrob actor Tom Cruise was known to rock a black leather jacket and Michael Jackson’s signature look included a red leather jacket. Worn by both men and women, leather (or faux leather) jackets are still popular today.
Sequins give any dress or skirt a glittery, shimmery feel. They are fun, colorful, and change color in different types of light. Jerry Hall, a Texan belle model/actress was often seen wearing sparkly sequined tops and dresses in her magazine covers and at important events. Although it is known to be an uncomfortable material, the sequin trend continues to be popular and is still found in many stores today.
48. Big hair
Hair was big in 80s fashion. Men wore mullets and greased up hair, while women wore crimped blowouts that looked like curly clouds. Big voluminous hair requires a lot of upkeep, but it might be making a comeback soon! Pretty Woman star Julia Roberts and 1980s soap opera star Joan Collins were among some of the most well-known celebrities who rocked the big hair trend.
Loafers are similar to boat shoes in shape, appearance, and slip-on capabilities. You may recognize these shoes from your parent’s closet and soon you might be adding it to your own! Loafers are versatile where you can dress them up and dress them down for different occasions.
Cardigans were a popular choice of outerwear in the 80s. Most cardigans have buttons lined down the front and some have pockets. They range in length, some going all the way down to the thighs, while others barely reaching the waist. Cardis had an ability to give the outfit a more dressy and preppy look. It was integral for layering, such as over shirts and underneath jackets or heavier coats. Cardigans are still popular today and used the same way. So consider getting some fashion advice from your parents!
Although certain brands today are coming out with clothing that resembles 80s fashion (Nike, Adidas, etc.), it is just as popular of a trend in most thrift and secondhand stores. 80s outfits that include things like shoulder pads may be best to leave in the past, but there are plenty of other styles that can be incorporated into fashion today!