BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details.
Which ’80s fashion trends are back in style?
The ’80s were an exciting decade in which we saw a huge wave of influences from pop culture, including some of the best music, TV shows, movies and toys of all time. Those who got to experience it look back on it with a sense of nostalgia and continue to relive those memories. One way they do that is by wearing outfits and accessories that were trendy back then.
That nostalgia has made its way into today’s fashion. While minimalism has been the go-to look for a while now, there has been a comeback of more exciting, bold and eye-catching outfits straight from the ’80s. If you’re bored with simplistic styles and predictable designs, consider adding statement pieces, like Resfeber Women’s Ripped Boyfriend Jeans, to infuse your wardrobe with more fun and novelty.
Top ’80s fashion trends
There was nothing subtle about the fashion trends in the ’80s — the words “big and bright” sum it up best. Find out the most loved outfits and accessories during this age of funk, punk rock, preppies and “old school” rap music.
Oversized blazers and shoulder pads
A blazer with massive shoulder pads was the favored professional look in the 1980s. The fabric-covered padding was added to clothing to give the illusion of having broader and less sloping shoulders. Blazers were often big and boxy.
Jeans: acid-washed, patched-up, ripped and high-waisted
Rock-style and acid-washed jeans were all the rage in the 1980s. The denim often had patchwork details. Some people even opted for ripped jeans that had the knees torn out. Another favorite was high-waisted jeans worn by those who wanted to make a statement.
Whether it was big curls, big bangs or big feathers, ’80s hair was big. Rock stars of that era popularized the permed, voluminous look. Television shows like “Dynasty” gave a glamorous take on the high-volume bouffant.
Spandex and leg warmers
Everyone in the ’80s wore spandex. It was considered “cool”, not only because it looked good, but also because it was comfortable to wear. Spandex was often complemented with leg warmers that covered the calves.
Colorful clothing, especially neon, was everywhere in the ’80s. Bright hues like bright yellow, green, orange and pink were considered to be youthful and cheerful. Matching tracksuits or tops and bottoms were often worn in coordinating neon colors.
10 ’80s fashion trends that are cool again today
Blazers today are structured so that they don’t look overpowering. It’s the perfect layer that makes an outfit look chic. Popular colors include taupe, black and neutral plaid.
This style of jeans provides a boho and laid-back feel. It’s been subdued by adding embroidered floral patterns with the patches.
The high-rise, slightly baggy jeans have been reintroduced to the fashion world after the long reign of skinny, low rise jeans. They provide a balanced silhouette, making them suitable for almost all body shapes and sizes.
This staple accessory of the ’80s has newfound fans in recent times. The most popular style is padded headbands followed by velvet, braided, knotted and embellished or a combination of these styles.
Acid-washed denim has made a comeback on the runway and in fashion outlets. Edgier trends, such as ripped and distressed jeans, have become a favorite to pair with polished blazers and blouses.
A fashion trend that’s considered most synonymous with the ’80s has been brought back in modern fashion. Designers have brought back the silhouette of the extra padding while adding modern touches to make it appear chic and fitted.
Another ’80s look that’s back is puffy sleeves, defined by rounded detailing at the shoulder, which adds a voluminous look to the sleeves of any dress or top.
Sequins and shine have made a comeback, but unlike the ’80s, the trend looks more polished and subtle. From cocktail dresses made with lightweight material covered in shimmering sequins to sequined skirts paired with a T-shirt or sweater, they make a wearer shine during the day or night.
While the quality of athletic wear has been upgraded to be more weather- and sweat-resistant, the high-waisted legging styles that were popular in the ’80s are here to stay.
Skin-tight black leggings made with spandex are now seen as a smart alternative to jeans and black trousers. A different style of leggings called “jeggings” is made to look almost like a pair of skinny jeans.
How much you can expect to spend on ’80s clothing items
The price range depends on the brand, material, fit and design. Accessories range from $10-$500. Clothes range from $25-$1,000. You can expect to spend anywhere between $20-$400 for classic ’80s-style shoes.
’80s fashion trends FAQ
What are some ’80s clothing brands that I can still wear today?
A. There are still plenty of clothing brands that give off the ’80s vibe. The socially aware clothing line United Colors of Benetton carries many patterned, colored and high-waisted designs. If you’re open to splurging, choose from a range of popular ’80s designer brands, such as Issey Miyake, Calvin Klein, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Ralph Lauren and Karl Lagerfeld. Footwear from sports brands like Reebok, Nike and Adidas, as well as other types of shoes from Puma, LA Gear and Converse, are worth considering. If you’re looking for ’80s-style jeans, consider buying from Levi’s, Guess, Jordache and Wrangler. As far as accessories are concerned, Ray-Ban and Swatch Watches are great options.
How do I dress like a famous ’80s-style icon?
A. If you dream about getting the look of your favorite ’80s icon, all you need to do is add a few clothing pieces commonly associated with them during the era. Here’s what you need to wear to resemble some of the most iconic names in the era:
- Madonna: Leather jackets, lace gloves, biker shorts, velvet bows and scrunchies.
- LL Cool J: High-top sneakers without laces, leather jackets, large rings and neck chains, boomboxes on shoulders and a Kangol bucket hat.
- Princess Diana: Feminine, patterned silk blouses, padded shoulders, pearly earrings, high-waisted jeans and a winged hairstyle.
- Michael Jackson: Military-style jackets, curly hairstyle, cropped pants, bright-colored socks and sequins.
- Joan Collins: Power suits, puffy shoulder and bold patterns, big permed hair, peacock eyeshadow and blush.
- Jane Fonda: Headbands, leg warmers, tights and leotards belted at the waist.
What are the best ’80s clothing items to buy?
Top ’80s clothing item
What you need to know: These boyfriend jeans are worn slouchy and relaxed and provide a relaxed fit for most body types.
What you’ll love: The jeans are made of high-quality fiber materials that are soft and stretchy. They have ripped holes with a five-pocket style that is suitable for everyday wear. When worn with a stylish top, they provide an effortlessly chic look.
What you should consider: According to some buyers, the material of the jeans is not durable.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top ’80s clothing item for the money
What you need to know: This is a bright neon top that is suitable for ’80s-themed parties and every day.
What you’ll love: The off-shoulder top comes in three vibrant colors that are sure to make you stand out from the crowd. The set comes with one tank top and one fishnet shirt. The material is lightweight and provides a classic fit. When paired with neon accessories and leggings, it becomes a quintessential ’80s outfit.
What you should consider: Some wearers recommend buying a size up as the sizes of the top run small.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: A metallic dress with a festive touch, this is perfect to wear for various special occasions.
What you’ll love: The mini-length, bodycon dress has a one-shoulder silhouette with ruches on the side. It comes in a few elegant, metallic hues with polyester lining and is made with light shimmer metallic material that is soft to touch.
What you should consider: Some purchasers said that the thin material of the dress did not provide a flattering look for their body type.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Seline Shenoy writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.