What Did People Wear in the Eighties?

What did girls and guys wear in the 80s? Eighties fashion for women taught us terms like jelly bracelets, jelly shoes, neon clothing, leg warmers, shoulder pads, and Guess jeans. They also brought back polka dots, Preppie clothes and wedgies – which used to be shoes and not an underwear malfunction. Oversized sweatshirts that could fit a truck inside over tight leggings were the norm.

1980s clothing styles for men included acid washed jeans, jean jackets, parachute pants, high top shoes and T-shirts. Unless, of course you were in the preppie crowd. Then you wore Izod shirts, probably with the collar up, dress pants and penny loafer shoes. And, let’s not forget the baggy blazer with the sleeves rolled up. So Blane from Pretty in Pink.

Eighties Fashion

This might be the most 80s picture ever! Love it.

Accessories were big and gaudy. Necklaces were layered on and had large pendants and medallions. Earrings were long and dangly. Purses were huge or small – no reason not to take it to extremes in both directions.

Hair for men and women was long, tall and wide. In short, blow dry it out, use a lot of hair spray (aqua net) to hold it and you were good to go. Now we call it big hair, Mall hair or just shrug and say, “the 80s.” Check out our Hairstyles in the 1980s.

Whether you liked the styles or not, they showed individuality that had not been seen in generations before. Girls were clamoring to look like Madonna. Boys wanted to be like Michael. And they were allowed to – hey, it was the 80s.

The loud, big, gaudy and bright clothes in the eighties mellowed when the 90s approached. Colors were more subtle and hair miraculously flattened. But a love of the 80s fashion endures both as a totally awesome piece of nostalgia and as the next big thing. Fashion seems to renew itself on what has come before, and it seems that the 80s are due for their comeback. Tweenies can be seen in leggings and miniskirts, wedge-heeled shoes are on every shelf, the skinny jean is back, and we find that everything old (or 80s) is new again.

Be sure to check out this great list of 80s fashions submitted by one of our readers.

Author: Pia Sooney

Just a little obsessed with all things 80s, Pia still has her Swatch, her cassette tape collection, and her Converse Chucks. When not making friendship pins or listening to Depeche Mode, she runs a web design business.

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