We LOVED leather in the 1980’s. Oh, yeah. We loved it skin-tight, ruffled,
and pleated. We loved it zippered, studded, fringed, and candy-colored,
for jackets, pants, skirts, and dresses. Leather ROCKED!
As a Hair Band Rock Star outfit, leather biker jackets were a no-brainer.
We changed up the colors and fit in the eighties, but the basic biker
tough guy look, with wide lapels, snaps, and zippers, remained intact.
Here’s Poison’s 1986 hit Talk Dirty to me, with multiple examples of
80’s leather in action, including a duster coat, vest, fringed boots,
and skintight pants.
Judas Priest donned leather, studs, and barbed wire for an intimidating
Taylor Dayne wears a cropped black motorcycle jacket with leggings and
leather corset-over-flounced mini (as well as REALLY big hair, crimped
bangs, and spackled-on red lipstick) in her 1987 video “Tell It To My
Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, was also a fashion icon. Replicas of
his red jacket from 1983’s “Thriller” were wildly popular for dudes:
Not all leather looks were for rock and roll. This fabulous ladies’
jacket is urban-tough, but a bit more civilized than Taylor Dayne’s
attire. Love the origami-inspired shoulders, contrasting suede trim,
full sleeves, and sculpted waist:
Eighties’ leather looks went way beyond jackets. Women snapped up tight
pencil skirts, both knee length and mini. We also loved a sassy,
feminine peplum flounce. Asymmetrical dresses and tailored suits were
both edgy and refined. The flashier the colors, the better, of course.
Here’s an adorable and totally wearable vintage leather skirt. How cute
would this fun red skirt be with tights and tall boots this fall?
Here’s another classic eighties look: the sassy mini with a fitted waist
yoke and tiers of ruffles. Often seen with denim, this leather and lace
version is way hot. I’d love to pair this with a simple white V-neck and
some bright purple platform wedges:
Pants in the eighties were high-waisted and often pleated. Don’t judge!
It was a different time. And like all cool fashions, everything old is
new again, right? We’ve been seeing higher waistlines the past couple of
years, and maybe even pleats will stage a comeback. For now, these looks
are radically retro.
This whole ensemble rocks: animal print tube top and tight, high,
pleated leather pants. All the model lacks is her Winger backstage pass
and crimped hair:
These electric blue leather pants have some cool stitching detail and
zippered pockets and ankles, as well as that requisite high waist. These
pants would be sooo cool with a couple of layered, artfully shredded
tank tops and some slouchy acid yellow boots:
Get some final inspiration from this promotional video from leather
designer Roger Edwards. It has some great shots of 80’s leather fashions
(and makeup and
hairstyles, OH MY!) as well as a confusing and somewhat