The Ultimate Guide to the 80s fashion (everything you ned to know)


The Ultimate Guide to the 80s fashion (everything you ned to know)

The Ultimate Guide to the 80s fashion – So you’re interested in the 80s fashion trend? To best understand what motivated fashion in that decade, we also need to know what society was like in that decade. If you read this article, by the end you will know:


  • The most important events that happened in the 1980s
  • Who influenced fashion trends in the 80s?
  • The most famous singers who were popular in the 80s
  • The women’s fashion trends of the 80s
  • Men’s fashion trends of the 80s



We will start this article by trying to recall a little of what happened in the eighties. Which films made the most money? Which films were popular?

The 1980s were dominated by conservatism and a free market economy. Social and economic change took place. The global internet emerged in the second half of the 1980s. Tim Burners Lee’s concept of the World Wide Web was ready by 1989.

In the western world, multinational companies expanded into Thailand, Mexico, South Korea and Taiwan, where they exploited cheap labour.

This is an important event for sustainable fashionistas in the years to come because its followers reject slave labour and exploitation. Instead, they expect a decent wage.


Ultimate Guide to 70s fashion

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During the 1980s, tragic events such as the AIDS epidemic killed an estimated 39 million people.

The end of the decade saw the Soviet merger that ended the Cold War years. The 1980s were the last decade of the Cold War. US President Reagan rejected the policy of détente and adopted a more aggressive stance. The world came closest to the threat of nuclear war after the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.

Let us look at the major events that have taken place in this decade, year by year.


The Ultimate Guide to the 80s fashion

80s fashion


On January 4, US President Jimmy Carter, with the approval of the European Commission, imposes a grain embargo on the Soviet Union. He also announces that the United States will not attend the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow on 21 March.

On 21 May, the film Empire Strikes Back, part 2 of Star Wars, is released.

Tim Burners Lee begins work on ENQUIRE on 23 June. This eventually leads to the creation of the World Wide Web. And Queen releases their eighth studio album, The Game, on June 30.

Ronald Reagan is elected the 40th President of the United States in November 4. On December 8, John Lenon is assassinated.

Women’s fashion ranges from conservative to fanciful pieces. It was a year of resurgence for the classic preppie look. Many fashion designers drew themes from history. Some used elements of avant-garde futurism in their clothes.

Halston presented a major collection in China. It was the first year that an American fashion show was held in China.

In men’s fashion, it became more and more acceptable for men to wear sports coats to events where they had previously worn suits.

80s fashion


On 12 April, the space shuttle programme is launched. The Columbia space shuttle is launched and returns to Earth two days later. This is the first time a reusable spacecraft has been launched into space.

Raoul Wallenberg becomes a posthumous honorary citizen of the United States on October 5.

Armani, Valentino introduced pieces such as balloon trousers and Bermuda shorts to the public consciousness. Gold, copper and brass metals appeared on the blouses. There was also a major change in fashion accessories – handbags and belts started to shine.

80s fashion


On 26 April, British troops retake the island of South Georgia during Operation Praquet, the Falklands War. On 20 June, British forces defeat a larger Argentine force. Spain becomes the 16th member of NATO on 30 May.

On 11 December, the pop group ABBA performs for the last time on a British TV show. On 26 December, Time magazine’s Man of the Year becomes the first asylum to be named not human but a computer.

The global recession and the entry of more women into the workforce has affected fashion. Quiet primary colours, low-maintenance fabrics and understated style emerged.

The demand for business suits women increased.

80s fashion


IBM releases the IBM PC XT on May 8. On May 25, the movie Return of the Jedi premieres, part 3 of Star Wars.

Japanese designers Yohju Yamammoto, Kansai, Rei Kawakubo, Mitsuhiro Matasuda dominate the fashion world. Previously unknown in the western world, they have now influenced designers worldwide.

T-shirts have become the most popular garment. Short-sleeved, thin cotton T-shirts. Jeans were popular this year and corduroy was also a hit.

80s fashion


Steve Jobs launches Machitosh on 24 January.

Giorgio Armani’s autumn 1984 collection introduced a new look. Women’s fashion, copying the men’s look of the time, consisted of a sports jacket, trousers and a greatcoat. Armani won an award for his collection.

The boyish look appeared not only in Italy, but also in French and British catalogues. The look was adopted by all the major American manufacturers.

A counter-trend also emerged. Some women rejected the look and opted for very tight clothes.

80s fashion


On 20 January, Ronald Reagan is sworn in for a second term as President of the United States. The border between Gibraltar and Spain is reopened for the first time since Franco closed it.

On 1 September, Robert Ballard and Jean-Louis Michel find the wreck of the Titanic during a joint expedition. Super Mario is released for Nintendo on 13 September.

Windows 1.0 is released as a Microsoft Corporation product on 20 November.

In 1985, a major fashion revolution takes place. Different forms of fashion emerged. It was no longer a trend for everyone to dress alike. There were many designers who were all successful and created their own individual styles.

In 1985, the Cory American Fashion Critics’ Awards, which had celebrated the industry’s most successful designers for 43 years, ended.

80s fashion


On January 28, the space shuttle Challenger disaster occurs. On 26 April, the Chernobyl disaster.

In the United States, 23-year-old Marc Jacobs becomes the most promising new designer. He has produced some fantastic designs. He was widely praised for his contemporary approach to fashion.

80s fashion


On 12 June, during a visit to Berlin, Germany, US President Ronald Reagan calls on Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall.

1978 The miniskirt is revived. In the autumn fashion collections, the new hemlines dropped to their knees, sometimes to mid-calf length.

80s fashion


November sees the completion of the TAT-8, the first transatlantic telephone cable using optical fibre. It results in a stronger connection between the US and the European Internet.

The first proper and official Internet connection to Europe is established between Princeton, New Jersey and Stockholm, Sweden.

The first World AIDS Day is held on 1 December.

In the spring, Chanel presents a collection of suits paired with elegant skirts. Yves Saint Laurent produced arguably his best collection this year. Lacroix created a bubble skirt that was short-lived but very popular.

80s fashion


A wave of revolution sweeps across the Eastern bloc of Europe, leading to the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991. On 20 January, George H.W. Bush is sworn in as the 41st President of the United States.

On 12 March, Tim Berners-Lee drafts a proposal document that becomes the blueprint for the World Wide Web.

The 61st Academy Awards are held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, with Rain Man winning Best Picture on 29 March .

On 3 May, the first McDonald’s restaurant in the Soviet Union opens in Moscow.

The focus this year was on jackets. Linen, wool and silk jackets became the focus of women’s fashion. Several designers used smaller shoulder pads.

Fashion designers created clothes that faithfully followed the silhouette of the body. Animal prints were on a popular choice among women.

Famous music artists who influenced fashion in the 80s

Whitney Houston

The Voice has become the nickname for American singer and actress Whitney Houston, one of the best-selling music artists of all time with worldwide record sales of more than 200 million records. She has influenced many singers. She has had seven consecutive singles on the Billboard Hot 100. His first studio album was released in 1985.


Prince is regarded as one of the greatest musicians of his generation. His music encompassed many styles. Funk, R&B, rock, soul, pop, jazz and hip-hop. He played several instruments on his recordings. His first album was released in 1978. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2006, the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame in 2016, and was twice inducted into the Black Music & Entertainment Walk of Fame in 2022.

Duran Duran

The English new wave band was formed in 1978. It was founded by Nick Rhodes and John Taylor. The band has gone through a number of personnel changes. They entered the mainstream with an appearance on the MTV music channel. In the 1980s, they were one of the leading bands of the MTV-led Second British Invasion of the US.


Cher is an American singer, actress and television personality. Described as a champion of women’s autonomy, she made her debut in 1965. In 1982, she made her Broadway debut in Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, which she also starred in the film version of. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her 1987 film Moonstruck.


Madonna made her debut in 1983. She is known as the queen of pop. She is constantly reinventing herself. Known for her versatility, she pushed the boundaries of artistic expression in mainstream music. She addresses social, political, sexual and religious issues. His work has provoked controversy and critical acclaim. He is one of the best documented figures of the modern era. A separate academic sub-discipline is Madonna Studies. Madonna studies (also known as Madonna scholarship, Madonnaology or the Madonna phenomenon) is the study of the work and life of American singer-songwriter Madonna, using an interdisciplinary approach that includes cultural studies and media studies.

Michael Jackson

He has been called the king of pop and is considered one of the most important cultural figures of the twentieth century. His contribution to music, dance and fashion over four decades has made him a global figure in popular culture. He is the most awarded individual music artist.

Boy George

English singer and songwriter, fashion designer and media artist. Singer with the band Culture Club. He was part of the New Romantic movement that emerged in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Celebrities who influenced fashion in the 1980s

Princess Diana

Member of the British Royal Family. First wife of Prince Charles of Wales. Mother of Princes William and Harry. She has become an international icon for her activism and glamour. Her wedding took place in 1981 at St Paul’s Cathedral. She became Princess of Wales. Princess Diana was celebrated in the media for her charity work. She was a leading figure in fashion in the 1980s and 1990s.

Joan Collins

In 1981 she played the role of Alexis Colby in the soap opera Dynasty. The series was a huge worldwide success. By 1985 it was the number one show in the United States.

Jane Fonda

American actress, activist and fashion model. She is known as a film icon. Jane Fonda has won numerous awards. She released her first workout video in 1982.



Subcultures, which were present in the 80s

Skate Punk

Skate, a sub-genre of punk rock, emerged in the 1980s. Originally a form of hardcore punk. It contains fast tempos, solo guitar playing and fast singing.

In the early 80’s bands such as Buzzcocks, Descendent, Adolescents, Black Flag, Circle Jerks paved the way for the emergence of Skate Punk.


Casual subculture is part of football culture. It is characterised by hooliganism and the wearing of expensive designer clothes. It started in the UK in the early 1980s. Many hooligans started wearing expensive designer clothes in order to avoid police attention.

They didn’t wear club colours, which made it easier to infiltrate rival clubs and get into pubs.

In the documentary Casuals: The Story of the Legendary Terrace Fashion, they talk about the fashion that emerged in the late 0971s and early 1980s.


The skinhead subculture emerged among working class young people in London in the 1960s. It soon spread to other parts of the UK. In the 1970s, it spread around the world.

Skinheads are motivated by social alienation and working class solidarity. Their appearance is characterised by shaved heads and working-class dress. For example, the steel-toed worker’s boot. They were straight-leg jeans and button-down collared shirts.

Rude Boys

Slang terms such as rude boy, Rudeboy, rude, rude or Rudy come from Jamaican street culture. They date back to the 1960s. We still use them today. In the late 1970s, the terms rude boy and rude girl became widespread in England.

These terms were carried over into the ska punk movement. The terms rude boy and rude girl can also be synonymous with a gangsta, yard or bad man.


Rockabilly is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll music. In the United States, it dates back to the 1950s. It combines Western musical styles in a genre. It combines the sounds of country, rhythm and blues.

Its defining features are strong rhythms and boogie Woogie piano. Popularized by artists such as Carl Perkins, Elivs Presley. In the early 80’s rockabilly was revived.

New Vawe

New Vawe is a musical genre that embraces a 1980s pop-oriented style. It was used for musical styles that emerged after punk rock. It encompasses the popular music styles of the era. Including power pop, synthpop, punk rock.

New Romantic

In the UK, an underground movement called New Romantic started in the late 70s. It developed in nightclubs in London and Birmingham. The movement was an expression of flamboyant, eccentric fashion.

It was inspired by fashion boutiques such as Kahn and Bell and the London PX. When the subculture was formed, its members were initially known as Blitz Kids, New Dandies and Romantic Rebels.



The Ultimate Guide to the 80s fashion

The 80s saw a continuation of the styles of the 70s, which by the end of the decade had evolved into the heavy metal trend. In the 80s, fashion became extravagant. Colour-dyed hair, ripped jeans, neon clothing, bright colours and fancy designs were all fashion trends during the decade that were not initially accepted, but became popular trends.

The perm, scallop, Jheri curl, hi-tee and big hair were among the most accepted hairstyle trends.

Shoulder pads, denim jackets, leather pants, jumpsuits, preppy polo shirts were among the clothing trends. The middle of the decade saw the dramatic return of the miniskirt. Make-up is aggressive, bright and colourful.

Headbands and Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses, made popular by the film Top Gun, and Swatch watches became popular fashion accessories.

The aerobics and fitness craze began in the 70s and continued into the 80s. Tracksuits also crept into streetwear. From ripped sweatshirts, sweatpants tracksuits were part of mainstream street wear in the 1980s.

Athletic accessories were a huge fashion trend, with leg warmers, wide belts and headbands being worn as the enthusiasm for aerobics grew. Sports shoes and trainers also became part of the sports look.


The Ultimate Guide to the 80s fashion (everything you ned to know) | Typical 80s carrying a huge tape recorder in the street

Typical 80s carrying a huge tape recorder in the street

The Ultimate Guide to the 80s fashion (everything you ned to know) | One of the key features of the 80s fashion trends was bright colours in dressing

One of the key features of the 80s fashion trends was bright colours in dressing


70s 80s fashion

The 1970s was the decade when more and more women joined the workforce. By 1980 and the early 1980s, it had become quite common for a woman to work.

In order for women to gain an equal position in the labour market, they dressed very seriously in the workplace. Knee-length skirts, wide-leg trousers and blazers became the norm in the workplace.

The film The Working Girl, starring Melanie Griffith and Sigorey Weaver and Harrison Ford, 1988. Not only does the film make for a great afternoon out if you’re in the mood for the 80s, but it’s also a very entertaining way to spend your time. It’s also a great way to see New York City in the late 80s.

Women’s fashion in the 1980s was characterised by bright colours. By the middle of the decade, clothes were more colourful than before.

In the 1980s, pop stars like Madonna were a big influence on women’s fashion. Wearing short skirts or trousers, necklaces and bracelets, with messy hair and headbands, the pop star was followed by millions of young girls around the world.


70s vs 80s fashion

The hippie movement of the 1970s was replaced by punk. The first half of the 1980s was much tamer than the second half. The 1980s were dominated by cheap clothes and fashion accessories. So the clothes were bright and shiny in this decade.

Hair was distinctly curly and styled in a sweeping way. Hair fashion was dominated by the bouffant hairstyle. This hairstyle is a puffy, worn-looking hairstyle. This way it lifts the hair and usually covers the ears on the side. Women wore shiny and lots of make-up.

Some of the best fashion models of the 1980s included Brooke Shields, Christie Brinkley, Gia Carangi, Joan Severance, Kim Alexis, Carol Alt, Yasmin Le Bon, Renée Simonsen, Kelly Emberg, Ines de la Fressange, Tatjana Patitz, Elle Macpherson and Paulina Porizkova.

80s fashion accessories

The early 1980s saw the emergence of a minimalist approach to fashion. Less emphasis was placed on accessories. At first it was a response to the bright colours of the previous decade.

In the same way, the colours became more muted. The third was brown, dominated by different shades of cream. The sweater was also a common garment for women. Including turtlenecks and cut-out necklines. Thin belts and knee-high boots, thin little necklaces and watches dominated.

Finally, by the mid-1980s, fashion became more colourful. Long woollen coats, skirts and miniskirts became colourful again. Millions of young girls around the world imitated their fashion idols. For example, in the bra worn as outerwear.

80s fashion skirt

By the end of the decade, the miniskirt was in the spotlight. Fashion designers promoted the wearing of miniskirts.

The miniskirt was the only fashion craze during the 1980s that was promoted by fashion designers. In the earlier years, it was not possible to wear skirts of any length, but in the 1980s the focus was on the miniskirt.

In Britain, America and France, brightly coloured shoes, narrow coloured belts, hats, lace gloves and plastic bracelets became popular. Women’s clothing items included coats. Both cropped and long coats. Also reversible and foldout coats.



80s fashion for women


80s fashion for women | minimalism

The early 1980s saw a softening of bright colours. In the late 1970s, disco fashion uses bright colours. In the first half of the 1980s, dress colour is subdued. The most common colours are brown and cream. Sweaters and blazers were among the pieces favoured by women. High-Waisted, loose-fitting trousers and embroidered jeans were also popular. Fashion accessories included thin belts and knee-high boots. Small and thin necklaces became the jewellery of choice. Small guards were worn by women.


80s fashion for women | Aerobics

General women’s wear included torn sweaters, tights and sweatpants. Suede tracksuits became a really popular item of clothing. The aerobics craze boosted the very big fashion trend for athletic accessories. Leg warmers and elastic headbands were fashion pieces.


80s fashion for women | Formalities

The cocktail dresses and ball gowns of the 40s and 50s came back into fashion formal wear. Hats and gloves also became popular. It was a trend of the era. There was also an increase in the wearing of black, which can be traced back to the punk fashion of the late 70s. The wearing of black dresses then returned in the 90s.

Professional fashion

80s fashion for women | Professional fashion

Working women, in order to position themselves as equals in the labour market, dressed seriously at work. Knee-length skirts, wide-leg trousers and blazers were popular. To make formal shoes more comfortable, manufacturers added more flexible soles.

Bright colours

Bright colours

From 1982, bright colours returned to women’s fashion. Long woollen coats and miniskirts became more colourful, as did sweaters and jumpsuits. Madonna proved to be a major influence on women’s fashion. Her look was followed by a collection of leggings, necklaces, rubber bracelets, fishnet gloves, hair extensions, long layers of pearls, bleached untidy hair with dark roots, short skirts worn headbands and lace bands.



Television shows such as Dallas and Dynasty brought oversized shoulder pads into fashion. They were popular from the mid-80s until the 90s. Women became more confident in the workplace. They wanted to wear clothes that mimicked the male look. Margaret Thatcher’s suit quickly became one of the most popular heartthrobs of the 1980s. The suits she wore were usually plain in colour, with a matching hat and a skirt that came below the knee. The look also included broad shoulders and a pearl necklace.

Consumer-friendly fashion

Consumer-friendly fashion

From 1987 until the early 1990s, the miniskirt was at the centre of fashion. It was also promoted by fashion designers. Young girls wore them with tights, trousers or long socks. Shoulder pads became smaller from this period onwards and went out of fashion in the early 1990s. Brightly coloured sneakers with beaded necklaces and plastic bracelets became popular accessories. Neon shades of plum, gold, pink and blue became popular colours.



80s fashion for men



In the early 1980s, men’s fashion moved away from the hippy look and disco look. Sportswear became popular. They were more popular than jeans. Suede was a popular fabric. Tracksuits became the garment worn by men. V-neck sweaters, shirts, sport shirts.

80s fashion for men

New wave

New wave

Punk and new wave music influenced men’s fashion as much as women’s. Bold patterned ties and striped T-shirts came into fashion. With brightly coloured frames, androgynous sunglasses became popular. Leather jackets were widely worn by men. Short hair became a trend among men.

80s fashion for men



The style of the 1950s, returned in the early 1980s. The Official Preppy Handbook summarised it definitively. Popular preppy clothing included Oxford shirts, sweaters and turtlenecks. Khaki coloured trousers with boat headlines were part of this look. Knitted sweaters, corduroy sweaters were often worn around the shoulders. Striped linen dresses were popular.

80s fashion for men

Influencing stars

Influencing stars

Wool sports coats were to popular wear in the middle of the decade. This period saw an explosion in the wearing of colour. Vibrant styles appeared on men’s clothing. Television series such as Miami Vice and Magnum triggered this change. Michael Jackson had a big influence on the way young men dressed. Wearing red and black leather trousers, white gloves, sunglasses and oversized leather jackets became a trend.

80s fashion for men

Business look

Business look

Three-piece suits began their decline in the early 1980s. The lapels became very narrow, as they were in the 1960s. Slim ties were popular for a short time. They were replaced by wider, striped ties, influenced by designers such as Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren and Anne Klein. Typically, the suits were in dark blue and grey.

80s fashion for men

Tropical suiting

Tropical suiting

The safari jacket and the Nehru suit continued to be popular in Australia, India and China. In Hawaii, Bermuda shorts were a popular part of the wearer. The casual Friday style spread to the United States and became accepted business wear in Hawaii.

80s fashion for men

Martens Doc


Martens shoes were popular with women and men alike in the 1980s. They were originally a favourite of the skinhead subculture in the 70s. It was also discovered by the punk subculture. An important look for post-punk gothic fashion.

80s fashion for men

Parachute pants

Parachute pants

The increased popularity of Breakdancing brought with it the parachute trouser, typically worn by men. They were usually brightly coloured. The trousers were made of synthetic nylon material. Also known as Hammer trousers because of the distinctive style of the MC Hammer.





The 1980s saw major changes in the world. It was the last decade of the Cold War. Clothing in the 80s was generally very bright and vibrant. After the hippie fashion of the last decade, punk fashion developed. The decade can be divided into two parts. The first half was tamer than the second half. The second half of the decade saw the development of a distinctive, iconic colour scheme.

The presence of women in the labour market became accepted. Women took up managerial positions. Shoulder pads with broad shoulders were a typical fashion trend of the 1980s.

Television shows and popular singers influenced fashion in this decade.


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The Ultimate Guide to the 80s fashion (everything you ned to know)
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