How to Understand 80s Fashion

posing woman in white sleeveless top

How to Understand 80s Fashion

The 80s was a period of bold fashion statements, where colorful styles and loud accessories made up the iconic looks of the time. If you’re looking to learn how to understand 80s fashion, this guide is here to help. Read on to find out what made 80s fashion so special, and how to incorporate the look into modern style.

Step 1: Understand the Basics of 80s Fashion

The decade of the 1980s was a unique period of fashion history. Fashion trends of the 80s included bright colors, bold prints and fabrics, and exaggerated styles. As the decade progressed, fashion became increasingly daring, with people experimenting with more extreme styles and accessories.

One of the most recognizable elements of 80s fashion was the bold use of color. Clothing was often brightly colored, with the use of neon shades becoming popular in the later years of the decade. Patterns and prints, such as floral designs, geometric shapes, and animal prints, were also popular.

Fabrics of the time included spandex, which was used for legwear, swimwear, and bodysuits. Denim was also a popular fabric for daywear, and velvet, leather, and lace were used for evening and formal wear.

Step 2: Learn About the Popular 80s Trends

Power dressing was a key trend in the 80s, with the styles of the time being inspired by the large shoulder pads, tailored suits, and sharp lines of the era. The “pegged” trouser trend was also a popular look, along with bright and colorful joggers. For accessories, oversized gold hoops, hoop earrings, and statement earrings were all popular.

Shoulder pads were a defining feature of 80s fashion, and were commonly found in dresses, blouses, and suits. This was a sign of the times, as women were entering the workforce in larger numbers and were seen as more ambitious and successful.

The legwear of the time was popular, with the use of leg warmers becoming commonplace. Leggings and stirrup pants were also popular choices for those looking for a bold fashion statement.

Step 3: Understand the Influence of Music and Movies

Music and movies had a big influence on the fashion of the 80s. Key figures of the time, such as Madonna and Michael Jackson, were seen as iconic figures in fashion, with their looks inspiring mass trends.

Movies such as Grease, Flashdance, and Sixteen Candles were key sources of inspiration for fashion trends of the time. The movie stars of the decade were also trendsetters, with John Travolta and Molly Ringwald leading the way with the latest styles.

Step 4: Incorporate 80s Fashion into Your Look

For those looking to incorporate 80s fashion into their look, it can be difficult to find pieces that match the original styles. To recreate an 80s look, try to find garments with bright colors, exaggerated shapes, and bold prints.

Ensure that the garments fit properly, as the clothing of the time was often tailored to fit the body’s shape. Oversized pieces can also be used to recreate the iconic looks of the decade.

When looking for accessories, look for hoops, statement earrings, and other bold and colorful pieces. This will help to add a touch of 80s glamour to any outfit.

Step 5: Put it All Together

Once you have put together your 80s-inspired look, it’s important to remember to keep it modern. The fashion of the 80s was loud and colorful, but it should not be taken too literally.

By mixing modern pieces with classic 80s elements, you can create a look that is both timeless and stylish. For example, try pairing a vintage denim jacket with a modern dress, or a pair of modern high-waisted jeans with a colorful crop top.


The fashion of the 80s was a period of bold and daring looks. By understanding the basics of 80s fashion and the key trends of the time, it is possible to incorporate elements of the era into modern style.

By pairing modern pieces with classic 80s elements, it is possible to create an iconic look that is both timeless and stylish. Have fun experimenting with the trends of the era and creating your own unique style.

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