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80s Fashion Trends and Cool Outfit

80s Fashion Trends and Cool Outfit

Updated:  Jul 13, 2024
Created:  Jan 20, 2024
Time to read:  5 min

The 80s is widely viewed as a dark time for style, but for some people it is one of the favourite fashion eras. Any decade that could inspire such excess on all fronts is immediately interesting for people and the reason why we are going to explore the 80s fashion outfits for men and women in this article and convey the spirit of that era.

80s fashion divercity

As with all decades, there were many style subgenres but we are going to present the most iconic 80s wear containing 1980s vibes. From spandex to power suits to mullets, the 80s gave us an incredible amount of variation so let us delve into some of the key styles that were definitively 80s. The cultural climate of this decade was different from the 1960s and 70s, the 1980s were known for consumerism and materialism with yuppie attitudes and access to quickly developing technology making the decade feel faster and flashier than those that came before. This in turn made a lot of styles of 80s outfits.

How to dress like in the 80s?

80s Fashion Trends and Cool Outfit — Photo №1

Let us see the 10 most iconic 80s outfit ideas that still have a reflection on to present day:

Destroyed denim

Think faded, rips, tears, acid wash, the works. The cut is also iconic with a relaxed fit, a tapered leg, and pin-rolled bottoms.

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Slogan and logo T-shirts

Having a print on your outfit has started in this era. Imprinting the message on your t-shirt all over the chest representing your interests or views made it an undeniable creative style that still has a reflection to the present day.

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Leather jackets

While rock and punk really took off in the 60s and 70s its popularity and subsequent impact on fashion trends continued well into the next decade. Leather jackets were the statement piece of choice for all bad buys in the early 80s inspired further by Michael Jackson with his red leather jacket.

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High top sneakers

The bigger the better when it comes to 1980s fashion and that extends to footwear too. High-top sneakers - from Nike to Converse - have stood the test of time.

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Polo shirts

When the suits were getting steamed, preppy fashion reigned supreme. Polo shirts’ popularity began in the 1980s with a particular emphasis on pastel colours. Today’s tees are more often seen in subtle shades.

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This had a major moment in the 1980s thanks to the popularity of Jane Fonda-style aerobics and accompanying leg warmers. Your best bet for using these eye-catching neon shades is with a statement piece and keep the rest of the outfit low-key.

Oversized printed shirts

Make like Magnum PI and add some oversized, printed, silk shirts to your wardrobe. To really embrace the 80s style, the wilder the pattern and the lower the top button, the better.

Power Suits

The 1980s saw the beginning of corporate deregulation and the rise of Wall Street’s wolves. And with that came 80s costume attire.

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Double denim

Forget Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, the double denim trend was peaking at least a decade earlier in the 80s. You can rock the Canadian Tuxedo in its purest form with one shade of denim top to bottom, or give it a contemporary update with a darker pant. Want to really channel the era? Opt for acid wash!

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Activewear well and truly entered the public arena in the 80s with the rise of sporty tracksuits. The all-Adidas get-up has remained iconic with plenty of people still repping the stripes.

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80s fashion men and women - Yuppie style explained

Yuppie stands for young urban professional or young upwardly mobile professional wiith a clean-cut preppy style being associated with this term. Picture power suits often paired with running trainers for ease of mobility for women to then be swapped out for kitten heels pastel coloured everything and yacht club attire. The yuppies wanted to exude money and success and this was evident in their clothing. The cultural climate with the outfits from 80s that’s enabled a fast life and fast money gave rise to displays of wealth amongst the young that differed greatly from decades prior.

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Gone were the days of the youths being all about free love and sticking it to the man. Jobs in banks and offices were becoming much more readily available and the style reflected these roles. Shoulder-padded suit jackets, high-wisted pleated trousers, and Rolexes were all the rage during work hours to then be swapped out on weekends spent socializing and networking.

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In their downtime, the yuppie types could be seen in pastel polo shirts, light wash trousers, knitwear that was often draped over their shoulders, sweater vests, and anything Georgio Armani or Ralph Lauren. The goal was to look preppy and well-groomed giving off an aura of accomplishment and wealth. As the decade continued, yuppie was increasingly used as a pejorative term but until the mid-80s, the yuppies were in large supply. The best representatives of that style are “American Psycho”, “Secret of My Success”, and “Working Girl”.

80s Style Women

Leggins and Leg Warmers

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Leg warmers became popular, due in part, to movies like Flashdance & Fame, especially as they could be paired with more than just exercise clothes.

The overall rise of the fitness trend in the mid-80s spurred the popularity of sheer-coloured tights, leading numerous top fashion brands to introduce their own vibrant stockings. Their allure continued into the '90s, becoming a fashion statement not only for casual wear but also for office and dinner events.


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Headbands became popular as part of the 1980s aerobics craze. After many celebrities were spotted out & about wearing headbands, it wasn’t long before they evolved into an every-day, any-occasion fashion accessory, especially among women.

Shoulder pads

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During the 1980s, shoulder pads became a worldwide phenomenon, So much so, that were sewn directly into clothing, alleviating the need to purchase them separately. Power dressing was in, and exaggerated shoulder pads were a defining feature in blazers, jackets, and dresses, emphasizing a strong and bold silhouette.

Off-the-Shoulder Tops and Dresses

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The '80s saw the rise of off-the-shoulder styles, with blouses and dresses designed to expose the shoulders and collarbones, adding a touch of femininity and glamour.

Denim Everything

Denim was a fashion essential in the '80s. Whether it was acid-washed jeans, denim jackets adorned with patches and pins, or even denim skirts and dresses, it was a fabric that dominated the decade's fashion scene.



IT entrepreneur and co-founder of VJump. His passion is travel photography, within which, he has already visited 75 countries. Photos taken during his travels are actively posted on his social networks. For example, his Instagram account has more than 1 million followers.
In addition, his documentary short film Terra del Fuego was awarded more than 30 international awards and certificates at film festivals worldwide.

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