Let’s throw fashion back a little into the ’80s where the watchwords ‘big and bright’ were what you could easily use to describe the trends that were common then. It was an era of big hair, padded shoulders, colorful fabrics, and patterns. Fashion in the 1980s was a big deal, and a lot of people took it personally. It was all about materialistic values and public display of wealth.
For your clothes to be appreciated, you’d have to spend extra cash on some designer labels.
Teenagers in the 80’s played a vital role in the fashion industry, but compared to what we have now, it was not dominated by youngsters. Celebrities who came to stardom from their childhood days like Tommy Hilfiger stood their ground in the fashion industry, even as they got mature.
If you’re old enough and you feel a little sheepish whenever you go through your old photo album, well, you shouldn’t feel that way because it was one of the most iconic fashion decades in history. Living through the 80s will make you appreciate what have in today’s society. From spandex to teal eyeliner and velour tracksuits to the neon shoelaces which defined the 1980s fashion have all become trend leaders to the modern fashion industry.
The 80’s raised more fashion idols than any other decade before it. This might be a little difficult to imagine now, but back then, there were no mobile phones, gadgets, or the internet. They only had television sets that offered only a few channels, and watching a fashion show or movie was luxurious.
Apart from the television, the average person’s source of fashion information was magazines and advertising.
Because there was limited exposure back in the day, it gave a few celebrities, music bands, and eighties clothing brands the golden opportunity to dominate the world of fashion in the 80s for a long time.
Men, women, and young adults in the 80s permed and coiffed their hair to make it look as gigantic as possible. Their hairstyles were big, curly, and heavily styled. This gave fashion in the 80s its distinctive look.
FASHION ITEMS THAT STOOD OUT IN THE 80s
Jewelry in the 80s were large and distinctive. Women of all ages wore huge earrings, large beaded necklaces, stacks of bracelets, and enormous brooches to match their bold clothing.
In the 1980s, Jewelry was not used for fashion alone. It was a personality statement.
The teenagers also had their way of looking dapper, and it was through jelly bracelets and woven friendship bracelets, plastic watches, and beaded necklaces.
Other accessories that were famous include fingerless gloves, plastic bangles, large funky earrings in neon shades, mesh accents, leg warmers, fanny packs, and pearl necklaces.
Some of the trendiest shoe brands that drove people crazy in the 80s include Doc Martens (chunky boots), Jordans, Adidas Campus, Vans Classic slip-on, medium heeled pumps, and Mary-Janes, Reebok, and Nike.
Apart from the massive boom in the fashion industry, fitness was another thing that drove people gaga in the 80s, and sportswear produced from some of the companies listed above became famous street wears.
SUNGLASSES AND BIG-EYED SPECTACLES
In the 1980s, the sunglasses had gigantic frames and sported colored or mirror lenses. Some of the trendiest brands include; Wayfarers and Aviators by Rayban and Vuarnet.
With the fitness movement driving almost everyone crazy in the 80s, The terry-cloth headband went beyond being a practical sports accessory to a fashion ornament. Every cool person styled their hair around a headband.
WOMEN’S FASHION IN THE 80s
In the ’80s, the female’s style of fashion was slender clothes with big shoulders and a pinched waist.
Women in top positions in the workforce got most of their inspirations from famous actors such as Melanie Griffith in WorkingGirl.
When it was time for parties and special occasions, women dressed more formally than the way they do today. To look sharp, they needed a variety of smart clothes and matching accessories.
And if they ever needed to wear suits, they must be well-tailored with padded shoulders like Jackie Collins’. With their skirts at knee level a cinched jacket at the waist, the power-suits were made of glitzy fabrics in jewel colors that were worn with a plain blouse by designers such as Versace.
MEN’S FASHION IN THE 80S
Men in the 80s attached more importance to the way they looked more than any decade before it. The term ‘yuppie’, which is still used to date was coined as an acronym from Young Urban Professional. Men paid close attention to their hairstyles and accessories, all thanks to artists such as Boy George.
Male clothing also had very bright colors and patterns that were similar to women’s clothing as of then, but still, men dressed more conservatively with their primary concern for comfort.
Fashion in the ’80s was mainly about showing off affluence and style, and the best way to show off was through clothes sported by famous fashion designers or an advertising brand. Brands such as Nike, Gucci, Levi, Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger, and Harley Davidson were all household names in the 80s.
In 1986, bomber jackets reached its peak in the fashion industry after the release of Top Gun. Whether made from leather or nylon, the 80’s bomber jackets were classic.
Men also wore sharply cut suits with broad shoulders to look more powerful and authoritative.
EIGHTIES FASHIONS FOR CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS
With many affluent households in the ’80s, children became more self-sufficient compared to the earlier generations, and they were free to follow the latest fashion of their choice. Music channels like MTV, popular musicians, and movie stars had the biggest influence on teenagers, and this spread like wildfire among kids of their age. Every kid had a jean jacket, be it acid-washed or softly worn. Some went as far as ripping off the sleeves and adding pins and badges to express their sense of style.
Every girl with a good sense of style owned a pair of neon or cut-out tights with miniskirts and denim jackets.
Rappers and hip hop idols then popularized the idea of wearing sneakers with laces, and this rebellious touch fascinated the boys so much that they were seen flopping around with their shoes falling off their feet.
Many celebrities influenced and made fashion a big deal in the ’80s. Some of them include the likes of Madonna, Boy George, Leigh Bowery, Cyndi Lauper, Grace Jones, Molly Ringwald, Whitney Houston, and a host of others. But above all, Princess Diana was the biggest household name in the fashion industry for decades. Her royal and impeccable sense of style were second to none throughout the 80s. What made her stand out from the others was her ability to communicate world-class through her clothing.
Undoubtedly, the 80s was a competitive decade in the fashion industry, and this gave birth to most of the fashion trends we see today. And for generations to come, these names will be held in high regard.