The 1980s was a decade of excess — including over the top style. While many of the fashion trends from the era are seen as too outdated to wear now, there are a handful of trends that have made their way back into fashion magazines, runways, and malls across the USA. Don’t think you can pull it off? Take some notes from the styles below. This round up of eight 1980s trends you can wear today is your manual for throwing it back, in style.
The ’80s were well known for colorful clothing, and nothing is more colorful than neon. Back in the day, the most popular hues were similar to highlighters—bright yellow, orange, green, and pink. Stylish people would wear matching track suits or tops and bottoms in coordinating neon colors.
Today a pop of neon is back on trend. You can start with something simple like a bracelet or shoe. Or, go full on in something like this ASOS CURVE Neon Lace Asymmetric Hem Midi Dress. It packs a punch in hot pink and even has more nods to ’80s style with the leopard print, shoulder pad, and midi length. Keep the rest of your look simple and current to keep from going too 1980s, or give in and really go for it.
You heard right: the fanny pack is back! There was a time between the 1980s and today when the fanny pack fell into disgrace. It was seen as an embarrassing accessory that tourists or non-stylish people wore. But in recent years, the fanny pack has made a stylish return. Some high end brands charge thousands of dollars for their sleek versions of this ’80s classic. If you want to give this trend a shot, try this Topshop Lion Head Purse Belt from Nordstrom. It’s easy to wear and chic with a touch of ’80s sass.
The scrunchie was the go-to hair accessory for women and girls in the 1980s. They gained such popularity that they were available in thousands of colors and materials. And while they were meant for hair, they became more of a body accessory. When they weren’t being worn in their hair, girls would wear several on their wrists, stacking them like colorful bracelets.
In current time it’s made a strong reappearance along with several other 1980s trends. Take your pick of fabulous colors and styles, including this Velvet Scrunchie Set in pastel colors from Urban Outfitters. Super soft and less damaging to hair, they’re impossible to resist!
In the 1980s there was a freedom to wear bold colors and mix and match prints. Oftentimes the patterns included kitchy appliqués and graphics. It was an anything goes time! And while the next few decades held a more minimalist tone, we’ve seen a new wave of bold prints and the mixing of patterns make its way back. In fact, high end fashion house Gucci’s Embroidered Merino and Lace Top is the perfect ’80s throwback, complete with a rainbow of colors, shiny lurex threads, and cute cat appliqué. Think of it as a a current day, high end Lisa Frank outfit.
One trend of the moment is the absence of any material on the shoulders. Bare shoulders have taken over fashion! But along with the cold shoulder trend is the comeback of the 1980s strong shoulder trend. Sharp edges, puff sleeves, and exaggerated designs give a dose of pow to any outfit. Most commonly seen on blazers and dresses in the ’80s, you can find a softer version on work dresses like this Striped Puff Sleeve Dress from Calvin Klein at Macy’s today. Structured sleeves are an easy way to make an entrance, and a great way to bring the 1980s style back into your wardrobe.
The 1980s saw women entering the workforce more than ever before. And it wasn’t just as a secretary or assistant position. Women were working in boardrooms and offices as they rose the ranks to powerful positions in the corporate world. Along with that came a need for powerful suits that fit a woman’s style. Bold colors and strong shoulders helped women show everyone who’s boss.
Today, the same powerful statement is made by embracing traditionally feminine trends like florals, pink, and curvaceous suiting. Try this Tahari ASL Floral Print Blazer and Satin Pants combination from Macy’s for a modern take on the power suit.
If you ever step foot into a dance club in the 1980s, you would witness a sea of big hair and shiny sequins. Sequins covered nearly every special event dress from bridesmaids down the aisle to celebrities down the red carpet. Today, sequin tank tops and fitted dresses can be found in many stores and online shops.
If you want to try the sequin trend along with the oversized sweater trend, try this Zara Sequinned Patchwork Sweatshirt. Worn with leggings and high top sneakers, you’ll look straight out of the ’80s! For a more modern look try black jeans and classic pumps.
Colorful Eye Makeup
Blue eyeshadow may be the first thing that comes to mind when remembering 1980s makeup. The eye makeup of the ’80s was colorful, saturated, and bold. And while the harsher full face trend has stayed in that decade, pops of color are still showing up this year. To try the colorful makeup trend, take a step with something like blue mascara, a coral lipstick, or a teal eyeliner. Line your eyes with this NYX Professional Makeup Slim Eye Pencil in Aqua Shimmer for a dose of ’80s style.
Fishnet tights, shirts, and bodystockings were all the rage in the ’80s. Pop stars wore fishnet tights under ripped jeans, and fishnet gloves on the red carpet. Now fishnet is back and as popular as ever.
If you want to lean into the 1980s trend, try a wide, thick fishnet in a neon color. To keep it timeless, try a smaller fishnet in classic black. Want to try a cute combination? Try these Fishnet Anklet Socks from Target. They’re a punch of color that can be worn picking out of an oxford shoe or a sandal.