15 Iconic Fashion Trends That Shaped the 80s

The National Archives UK/Wikipedia

The 1980s was a time of bold experimentation and expressive fashion statements. Many exciting and unique fashion ideas emerged during this decade, breaking from conventional styles to embrace individuality. Let’s celebrate this era by highlighting 15 of the most interesting fashion trends that defined the 80s!

Oversized Blazers with Shoulder Pads


The 1980s weren’t afraid of strong female silhouettes, and the oversized blazer with shoulder pads showed that! These power blazers offered a commanding presence, showing off broad shoulders that turned heads. Paired with everything from skinny jeans to miniskirts and beyond, they were a staple in the working woman’s wardrobe.

Neon Everything


The 80s embraced neon colors with a vengeance. Clothing, accessories, hair dye, etc—there was no escaping the eye-catching brights. Pinks, blues, yellows, and greens were all fair game, and people wore several colors together in a single outfit for maximum impact.

Leg Warmers

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Dancers weren’t the only ones rocking leg warmers in the 80s. These knitted tubes, worn around the calves or shins, became a mainstream fashion statement. They added a fun pop of color or pattern to any attire, taking a simple appearance to the next level.

Acid Wash Denim


Denim got a psychedelic makeover in the 80s with the rise of acid wash. This unique treatment used a chemical wash to give denim a splotchy, almost tie-dye-like effect. Acid-wash jeans, jackets, and even shorts became all the rage—a fresh twist on a classic fabric.

Ripped Jeans


Ripped jeans transcended just clothing in the 80s—they became a symbol of individuality and rebellion. The more rips, the better, as people moved towards a lived-in grunge aesthetic. Ripped jeans were a way to express yourself and challenge fashion norms.

Jelly Shoes


Who needs leather when you can have jelly shoes? These playful footwear options were made of clear PVC plastic, came in all sorts of bright colors, and were sometimes infused with glitter. They were a comfortable and funky way to add some whimsy to any outfit, good for everything from a day at the beach to a trip to the mall.

Danny Packs

Plot Spoiler/Wikipedia

Convenience met style in the 80s with the rise of the fanny pack, also known as a belt bag. It was a hands-free solution for carrying essentials on the go—hitting the gym, running errands, or dancing the night away. Fanny packs have seen a resurgence in recent years, proving that sometimes fashion is cyclical.



Leggings, an excellent workout wear, was a mainstream fashion item in the 80s. They were worn with oversized sweaters or tunics, among other things, creating a comfortable and casual silhouette, and they were great for everyday wear.

Off-the-Shoulder Garments

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Did you travel back in time to the 80s and want to add sex appeal to your outfit? Look no further than the off-the-shoulder garment, a flirty style piece showing skin and accentuating the shoulders. It came in various forms, from sweaters to dresses.


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Headbands weren’t just for practicality in the 80s—they were a must-have hair accessory. They adorned all sorts of hairstyles—ponytails, crimped hair, etc.. Headbands were in various styles, from bold and colorful to simple and elegant, allowing you to personalize your look.


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Who needed boring hair ties when there were scrunchies? These colorful and comfortable fabric-covered elastics initially hit popularity in the 80s. They were gentle on hair and a stylish alternative to traditional ponytail holders.

Mesh Tops

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Mesh tops were a daring option in 80s fashion. Often layered over other tops, these revealing and see-through garments created a peek-a-boo effect. For pushing boundaries and experimenting with a more provocative look, mesh tops were a go-to.

Parachute Pants

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Comfort met style with parachute pants in the 80s. They were baggy, nylon pants that resembled parachutes (hence the name) and were a popular casual wear option. These bottoms offered a relaxed fit and carefree vibe, ideal for lounging around or hitting the dance floor.

Fingerless Gloves


Fingerless gloves, often made of lace or knit materials, brought sophistication and mystery to outfits in the 80s. These were great for showing a hint of individuality and were rocked with blazers, dresses, and even casual sweaters. Color wasn’t a limitation, as they came in various hues to match any ensemble.

Hair Crimping


This unique hair styling technique, done with a special iron that created a zig-zag pattern, added volume and texture to hair. Crimped hair was popularly worn big and bold, sometimes teased for maximum impact.


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