The 80s was a decade of big fashions, big hair and even bigger personalities. Something which was certainly needed to strut around in some of the out-there outfits that were on show in the decade fashion forgot. From bum bags and big earrings all the way to neon leggings and parachute pants, there were certainly a number of questionable fashion faux pars popping up all over the place, but hey, it was the 80s, and we loved it!
With so many to choose from, it’s difficult to decide which outfit looks most 80s. Here we look at some of the fashions that were so 80s it’ll make you laugh (or cry!).
80s Smart fashion was all about power – especially for women – and what better way to show that than with broad shoulders that make you look like an upside down triangle! A major fashion of the decade it defined women’s new freedoms and growth of power in the workplace. That’s not to say you didn’t see the odd male sporting the look, think Tom Cruise and Prince, however generally it is a style defined by women.
Originally only worn by Athletes as a way of keeping warm before competing, these soon became a popular day to day outfit for everyone from the New York B-Boys to London Preppies. Made with nothing but Nylon, these height of fashion shell suits were adorned with the crazy colours and designs you’d come to expect from an 80s outfit. Thankfully, these walking fire hazards have toned down slightly since then.
Bum Bag / Fanny Pack
Yes, unbelievably a bum bag/fanny pack was at one point the height of fashion (we’re serious!) and not just something that you see on ageing tourists in capital cities like nowadays. Often available in bright colours and made from suitably synthetic materials, there was one time that no hipster was seen without one of these. Oh how times have changed!
We all remember artists such as Bon Jovi, White snake and the other hair rock bands of the 80s showing off their big hair and even bigger attitudes. An oversized hair cut showed everyone you had attitude, so was widely adopted by bands and fans alike as they fought against the mainstream mullets, oversized suits, and popped collars of their member’s jackets that completed their preppy look. For girls, big hair was just as important, with the permed, teased and hairspary covered hairstyles all staying at the height of fashion throughout the decade.
If anything could define the 80s in a clothing item, it would be big door-knocker earrings. The ideal earring for a decade of daring fashion they were clunky, brash, loud and screamed “look at me” at everyone who could see them hanging down from below your side scrunchy hair style.
Made famous by MC Hammer, parachute pants with their big baggy crotches and bright patterned designs were all the rage for both men and women. Suitable for everything from nights out all the way to lounging around the house these multi-use, multicoloured monstrosities are still around today. Albeit re-invented as harem pants.
Spandex was literally everywhere in the 80s. Whether it was sleek and sophisticated leggings that were wonderful for day to day tasks, or lovely leopard patterned leggings worn so shamelessly by rock bands, you couldn’t walk down the street without seeing spandex on every corner. These days, Spandex is still as popular as ever, although thankfully the styles have toned down slightly!
Let’s be honest, Neon could have made it into any (and every) category, and however as it had such a lasting effect on fashion that we felt it deserved a category all by itself. Seen on everyone from celebrities all the way to Mums everyone wore Neon head to toe, mixing colours without any shame whatsoever in what was a fight for the most garish outfit around.
Often complimented with spandex, dancewear including Headbands, Leotards and Legwarmers boomed in the 80s as home exercise videos took over and aerobics became the in-vogue activity for any fashion follower of the 1980s. Well let’s face it, the 80s were all about getting physical!
The only item that’s kept it’s cool, we feel deserves an honourable mention. Thanks to a raft of Hollywood celebrities including Tom Cruise, Madonna and Michael Jackson bringing Ray-Bans to their peak of popularity. Ray-Ban Wayfarers become the only pair of sunglasses to be seen wearing wherever you are from the mountains of Aspen all the way to the beaches of California. Without Wayfarers, you may as well say goodbye to your street cred.
Now how happy are you it’s no longer the 80s?