1980s in fashion

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Amongst women large hair-dos and puffed-up styles typified the decade.[1] (Justine Bateman, 1987).
The short, tight spandex mini skirts were a popular fashion item for young women in the second half of the 1980s

The 1980s fashion had heavy emphasis on expensive dressing and fashion accessories. Apparels tend to be overly bright and vivid in appearance. Women expressed an image of wealth and success through shiny costume jewelry like large faux-gold earrings, pearl necklaces and clothing covered with sequins and diamante. Punk fashion began as a reaction against both the hippie movement of the past decades and the materialist values of the current decade.[2]

Hair in the 1980s was generally big, curly, bouffant and heavily styled.[3] This was in contrast to the long and straight style worn in the 1970s. Television shows such as Dynasty helped popularize the high volume bouffant and glamorous image associated with it.[4][5] Women from the 1980s wore a heavy and bright makeup. Everyday fashion makeup in the 80s comprised having light-colored lips, dark and think eyelashes, pink and light blue blusher.[6][7]

Early 1980s[edit]

Many styles from the late 1970s remain fashionable in the early 1980s. In the 1970s, the silhouette of fashion tended to be characterized by close fitting clothes on top with wider, looser clothes on the bottom. This trend completely reversed itself in the early 1980s as both men and women began to wear looser shirts and tight, close-fitting trousers.[citation needed].

Men also grew moustaches due to the influence of television shows like Magnum, P.I.. Medium-length hair was common for men, while the longer haircuts of the 1970s went out of fashion. However, very long hair for men became fashionable in the late 1980s due to the influence of Heavy Metal music.[citation needed]

Brand names became increasingly important in this decade, making Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein household names, among others.[citation needed]

After the release of her single "Like a Virgin" in late 1984, Madonna became a fashion icon for many young women around the world who copied her "street urchin" look with short skirts worn over leggings, brassieres worn as outer clothing, untidy hair, crucifix jewellery, and fishnet gloves.[citation needed]

The 1983 movie Flashdance made ripped sweatshirts popular. The television shows Dallas and, in particular, Dynasty also had a similar impact, especially in the area of the increasingly oversized shoulder pads. Dallas, however, promoted displays of wealth involving glitzy jewelry and sparkling clothing.[8]

In the United Kingdom and Ireland, the New Romantic music and fashion movement exerted a strong influence over the clothing worn by both men and women in the early years of the decade.[citation needed]

Other influences on fashion came from films starring Brat Pack members like Judd Nelson and Rob Lowe. By the late 1980s, the influence of an emerging, materialistic, Yuppie-influenced subculture was chronicled by writers like Bret Easton Ellis. Hip hop culture and Rap music also began influencing wider fashion trends, such as track suits (worn when not exercising), Kangol hats, including oversized gold jewelry on men and women.[citation needed]

New Romantic look[edit]

Young Englishman wearing a pirate shirt

New Romantic was a New Wave and fashion movement that occurred primarily in British and Irish nightclubs. New Wave, New Romantic, and gothic (Goth) fashion at this time was heavily influenced by punk fashion: the streaky eyeliner, the spiked hair, the outrageous clothing, some of which derived from bondage wear (goth) and some of which (New Romantic) was a nod to long-gone eras. New Romantics emerged in the UK music scene in the early 1980s as a direct backlash council estates, the New Romantics celebrated glamour and partied regularly at local nightclubs. The make-up was streaky and bold. The notoriously outlandish designer/club host Leigh Bowery, known for his exuberant designs, became a muse for artists such as Boy George and Duran Duran and had grown a huge status in the early 1980s underground club scene. The early designer of the punk look was Vivienne Westwood. Her early career was closely linked to the Sex Pistols. She also designed clothing specifically for bands, such as Adam and the Ants, and later developed the "pirate look." The pirate look featured full-sleeved, frilled "buccaneer" shirts often made of expensive fabrics. Hussar-style jackets with gold-braiding were worn with the shirts as well as high-waisted, baggy trousers which tapered at the ankle.[9] Colin Swift, Stevie Stewart and David Holah were also influential NewRo designers.One element of this trend that went mainstream and remained popular for most of the decade were short shirt collars worn unfolded against the neck (popped collars) with the top one or two buttons unfastened. Some people believed that, with the exception of business suits, to wear one's collar folded appeared awkward or stuffy.[citation needed]

Valley girl[edit]

Headbands became fashionable in the early 1980s. The trend started in California and spread across the United States. Other associated trends were leg warmers and miniskirts, especially "ra-ra" skirts, modeled after the short, flared skirts worn by American cheerleaders. Leg warmers, which had been long staple gear for professional dancers during rehearsals, became a teen trend at about the same time; their popularity, and that of sweatshirts with their collars cut off, exploded following the 1983 release of Flashdance. Miniskirts returned for the first time since the early 1970s. These styles became associated with the Valley Girl trend that was popular at the time, based on the movie Valley Girl (1983) and popular song by Frank Zappa and Moon Unit Zappa. The mid-1980s continued the craze for designer jeans and saw leather become popular. Girls and women also fueled the lace trend. As the decade closed the various other fads soon spent themselves, but miniskirts remained in style and became an option for women's business suits throughout the 1980s and early 1990s with dolly shoes. Frequently, these mini skirts were worn with leggings. These styles are shown in today's fashion with stores such as American Apparel, whose main look is solid colors and simple patterns and the same shapes and silhouettes of the 1980s. In Britain and Ireland, leg warmers were often worn with tight jeans, long jumpers or sweaters, and high heeled court shoes.[citation needed]

Power dressing[edit]

President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, are seen with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
1940s inspired pinstripe suit with large shoulder pads and double breasted fastening. These "power suits" were fashionable in Britain from the early 1980s until the late 1990s.

Shoulder pads, popularized by Joan Collins and Linda Evans from the soap opera Dynasty, remained popular throughout the 1980s and even the first three years of the 1990s. The reason behind the sudden popularity of shoulder pads for women in the 1980s may be that women in the workplace were no longer unusual, and wanted to "power dress" to show that they were the equals of men at the office. Many women's outfits had Velcro on the inside of the shoulder where various sized shoulder pads could be attached.[citation needed]

The television show Dynasty, watched by over 250 million viewers around the world in the 1980s, influenced fashion in mainstream America and perhaps most of the Western world. The show influenced women to wear glitzy jewelry as a way of flaunting wealth. Synthetic fabrics went out of style in the 1980s. Wool, cotton, and silk returned to popularity for their perceived quality.[citation needed]

Men's business attire saw a return of pinstripes for the first time since the 1970s. The new pinstripes were much wider than in 1930s and 1940s suits but were similar to the 1970s styles. Three-piece suits gradually went out of fashion in the early 1980s and lapels on suits became very narrow (similar to 1950s styles). While vests in the 1970s had commonly been worn high with six or five buttons, those made in the early 1980s often had only four buttons and were made to be worn low. Neckties also became narrower in the 1980s and skinny versions, some made of leather, briefly were stylish among men interested in New Wave music. Button-down collars made a return, for both business and casual wear.[citation needed]

Meanwhile women's fashion and business shoes revisited the pointed toes and spiked heels that were popular in the 1950s and early 1960s. Some stores stocked canvas or satin covered fashion shoes in white and dyed them to the customer's preferred color. While the most popular shoes amongst young women were bright colored high heels, a trend started to emerge which saw 'Jellies'—colorful, transparent plastic heels—become popular. The top fashion models of the 1980s were Brooke Shields, Christie Brinkley, Joan Severance, Kim Alexis, Carol Alt, Renée Simonsen, Kelly Emberg, Ines de la Fressange, Tatjana Patitz, Elle Macpherson and Paulina Porizkova.[citation needed]

Leotards and dancewear[edit]

Leotards had been a fashion trend since the early 1970s, when they were first used to add color and texture under the "layered look" popular in the middle of that decade. By the end of the decade, leotards made from shiny spandex had become the standard feminine fashion of the "disco era", partly for their form-fitting quality and the fact that they allowed flexibility and ease of movement. With the arrival of the aerobics craze of the early 1980s the classic leotard moved from the dance floor to the gym, accompanied by matching tights, legwarmers, and elastic headbands. Leotards of the early 1980s boasted bright stripes, polka dots, and even elastic belts. The popularity of aerobics and of dance-themed television shows and movies, such as Fame and Staying Alive created a dancewear fashion craze, and leotards, legwarmers, and headbands were soon being worn as street wear. The 1983 film Flashdance popularized ripped sweatshirts that exposed one bare shoulder. Celebrity dancewear inspirations of the era included Olivia Newton-John's "Physical" video and Jane Fonda's line of aerobic videos.

Miami Vice look[edit]

The 1980s brought an explosion of colorful styles in men's clothing. The look of several popular TV stars helped to set fashion trends among young and middle-aged men.[citation needed]

Miami Vice was one such series, whose leading men donned casual t-shirts underneath expensive suit jackets—often in bright or pastel colors. The t-shirt-with-designer-jacket look was often accompanied by jackets with broad, padded shoulders, and a few days' growth of facial hair, dubbed "designer stubble", a look popularized by the series' leading man Don Johnson.[citation needed]

Similarly, another popular look for men beginning in the early 1980s was the Hawaiian shirt, as worn by Tom Selleck, star of television's enormously popular detective series Magnum, P.I.[citation needed]

Thanks to Magnum, P.I., Hawaiian shirts sales soared (as did the numbers of men, of all walks of life, sporting mustaches), complemented with sport coats, often with top-stitched lapels for a "custom-tailored" look). In counterpoint to the bright shirt, jackets were often gray, tan, rust or white, donned casually and in sunny locales doubled even as business attire, in which case they could be seen worn with a tie.Easy-care micro-suede and corduroy jackets became popular choices, especially those with a Western style. Cowboy boots, in the early 1980s, became popular even among non-cowboys. Some boots were remarkably expensive, such as those made by Lucchese, which could cost $500 a pair. Also in vogue—and also expensive—were Gucci loafers, as worn by Tom Selleck in a famous cologne advertisement.[citation needed]

Another off-the-charts look for young men that emerged in the early 1980s was the "Members Only" jacket, its brand name conspicuously displayed on the front left breast pocket. It was a golf style windbreaker, with a slim mandarin-style collar.[citation needed]

Preppy look[edit]

Contemporaneously, there was a resurgence of another look, a throwback to the earlier 1950s collegiate look or Ivy League look. Its wearers and advocates rallied against the more trendy styles cited above. This revival style held great snob appeal, and came to be definitively summarized in an enormously popular paperback: The Official Preppy Handbook. This "preppy" cultural backlash spread like wildfire, inspiring a deep-seated social sensibility that extended to and included all manner of consumables and socialization. Preppies eschewed micro-suede jackets, instead favoring a classic single or double-breasted blazer in navy blue or midnight blue seasonal weight wool or linen. The truly privileged favored an English bespoke shouldered pattern, double vented. All styles boosted gold-tone or actual gold buttons; ideally, for total snob appeal, the buttons were engraved with the owner’s initials or an alma mater’s insignia. Beneath the blue jacket, Preppies donned a variety of shirts; prized were candy-stripes and solid colors; flashy Hawaiian patterns or designs were to be avoided, at all costs, to protect one’s perceived upper-class status.[citation needed]

Significantly, then, it can be said that the 1980s men’s fashion scene was transfigured by a social class consciousness, whereto, expressing this tacit and exclusionary “code” for a man’s dress were parameters that determined his social status, as codified aptly in the Lisa Birnbach’s et al., The Official Preppy Handbook. Purportedly, such “in the know” standards came to be indicative of one’s background, education and upper class. Some sociologists would avoid or attempt discounting that pivotal, authoritative and tacit but insidious and fully dichotomous aspect of that American period in men’s fashion, which quickly came to far exceed in importance mere fashion statement.[citation needed]

However, that all said, by the mid-1980s European and US designers' popularity and re-focus on classical men's styles had captured yet another segment of the men's fashion market, which in a manner of speaking attracted a following from both the preppy and non-preppy haberdashery mindsets.[citation needed]

Michael Jackson[edit]

Michael Jackson had many iconic looks. The Thriller look was inspired by Jackson's record breaking album Thriller. Teenagers would attempt to replicate the look of Jackson, which included matching red/black leather pants and jackets, one glove, sunglasses, and jheri curl. Michael Jackson's Thriller jacket and similar clothing seen in films like The Lost Boys were often studded and left undone to create a messier look. Oversized, slouch shouldered faded leather jackets with puffy sleeves from Europe caught on. Gloves, sometimes fingerless, would also accompany the jacket. Late in the decade plain brown aviator jackets made a comeback, styled after World War II fighter pilot jackets. Already popular aviators were joined by other forms of sunglasses. It was not unusual for sunglasses or shades as they were known, to be worn at night. Jackson frequently wore a fedora in during concerts and other public appearances.[citation needed]


Madonna was a major fashion influence on young girls and women around the world

In the 1980s, rising pop star Madonna proved to be very influential to female fashions. She first emerged on the dance music scene with her "street urchin" look consisting of short skirts worn over leggings, necklaces, rubber bracelets, fishnet gloves, hairbows, long layered strings of beads, bleached, untidy hair with dark roots, head bands, and lace ribbons. In her Like a Virgin phase, millions of young girls around the world emulated her fashion example that included brassieres worn as outerwear, huge crucifix jewelry, lace gloves, tulle skirts, and boytoy belts.[citation needed]

Gloves, sometimes lace and/or fingerless, were popularized by Madonna, as well as fishnet stockings and layers of beaded necklaces. Short, tight Lycra or leather miniskirts and tubular dresses were also worn, as were cropped, bolero-style jackets. Black was the preferred colour. Another club fashion for women was lingerie as outerwear. Prior to the mid-1980s it had been taboo to show a slip or a bra strap in public. A visible undergarment had been a sign of social ineptness. In the new fad's most extreme forms, young women would forego conventional outer-garments for vintage-style bustiers with lacy slips and several large crucifixes. This was both an assertion of sexual freedom and a conscious rejection of prevailing androgynous fashions.[citation needed]

Mid-late 1980s[edit]

Casual wear[edit]

In the 1980s and continuing through the mid-1990s, casual wear became a fashion trend. Leggings were a big part of this trend. They were usually worn with oversized sweaters and sweatshirts in the cooler months and with oversized tee shirts in the warmers months. It was also popular to wear slouch socks and sneakers especially Keds with leggings. Plaid skirts with leggings were also worn with sneakers especially Keds and slouch socks or with flats or Boat shoes as part of the preppy look. Also bike shorts were popular under baby doll dresses and short dresses with sneakers and no socks or sneakers with slouch socks. Many girls in every Grade K through 12 for gym class would wear black leggings with white slouch socks, athletic sneakers or sneakers also Keds and oversized tee shirts. Many women also wore this style as exercise wear. Many college girls wore the leggings and slouch socks with sneakers or Keds a lot and the dresses with shorts to classes and around campus. It was also not uncommon to see mothers dressed along with their daughters in the slouch socks worn over leggings or sweatpants, an oversized shirt or sweater, and sports shoes with Keds seen a lot.[citation needed]

Soccer shorts were popular with children and teenagers in the mid-1980s to mid-1990s.[citation needed]

From the late 1980s to the late 1990s, shortalls, a version of overalls in which the legs of the garment resemble those of shorts, were popular.[citation needed]

Champion sweatshirts became popular for guys and girls to wear in the late 1980s through 1997. In colder weather the sweatshirts were worn over a colourful turtle-neck.[citation needed]

Leotards, bodysuits, and body shirts also became popular in the late 1980s to late 1990s. They were worn as tops with jeans and skirts.[citation needed]

Opaque tights were very popular in the late 1980s to mid-1990s and could be worn as part of casual wear or formal wear. A common outfit was a skirt, baby doll dress, or short dress with black opaque tights, white slouch socks, and white sneakers with Keds being worn a lot. Others colors of opaque tights, such as all shades of blue from sky blue to navy and purple, were popular with all females from children and teenagers to adults. Opaque were also popular worn under dress shorts.[citation needed] And sexy Shirts

United Kingdom and Europe[edit]

Girl in the late 1980s, in Italy.

London night clubs started to change their format from Friday and Saturday nights as being the only important music nights. The club 'Gossips' in Soho began to do David Bowie nights on Tuesdays and then more one night specials for niche tastes. That set the scene for special one night club evenings throughout London. Narrow tastes could be catered for. Dresses in slinky satins and foulard silks or polyesters were often batwing or with set in sleeves. Both styles had shoulder pads and frequently swathes of fabric were gathered and ruched onto hip bands, with falling silk, crepe de chine or chiffon asymmetric draped swirling skirts. Lace was popular for evening, especially cream lace bound with cream satin collars. Lace collars made an appearance after being worn by Diana, Princess of Wales. Mohair sweaters were over-sized, but covered with lavish beading and satin appliqué they could be worn for evening too. Highly styled intarsia knit jumpers became fashionable. Glamorous occasion wear was a reaction and an alternative to the dressing down that was emerging from the wearing of sport and fitness wear as casual wear, due to the fitness craze inspired by Flashdance and Olivia Newton-John's popular single "Physical".[citation needed]

Track suits[edit]

In the 1980s, tracksuits became popular as leisure clothing and Jogpants would become a general trend in the decades to come.[10]

Fleece tracksuits were at first mostly worn by athletes, in the 1980s tracksuits became increasingly fashionable as leisurewear, though jackets and trousers tended to be worn separately rather than as a suit. Nylon Shell suits became particularly popular in the United Kingdom by the early 1990s.[citation needed]

The shell suit became a commonly-worn item, especially in the United Kingdom. In Britain and Ireland as well as most of Europe, Italy in particular, black was the preferred colour for teenage girls and young women. In Continental Europe, expensive, designer jeans were the preferred choice of casual attire for both boys and girls.[citation needed]

Doc Martens[edit]

Dr. Martens boots.

Doc Martens were dark shoes or boots with air-cushioned soles that were worn by both sexes in the 1980s. They were an essential fashion accessory for the skinhead and punk subcultures in the United Kingdom. Sometimes Doc Martens were paired with miniskirts or full, Laura Ashley- style dresses.[9] They were an important feature of the post-punk 1980s gothic look which featured long, back-combed hair, pale skin, dark eyeshadow, eyeliner, and lipstick, black nail varnish, spiked bracelets and dog-collars, black clothing, often made of gabardine, leather or velvet trimmed in lace or fishnet material. Corsets were often worn by girls. British bands which inspired the gothic trend include The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Cult. This trend would resurge in the 1990s and 2000s (decade).[citation needed]


Earrings became a mainstream fashion for male teenagers. Jelly or thin metal bracelets (also known as bangles) were very popular in the 1980s, and would be worn in mass quantities on one's wrist. Designer jewellery, such as diamonds and pearls were popular among many women, not only for beauty, but as symbols of wealth and power.[citation needed]


At the beginning of the decade, digital watches with metal bands were the dominant fashion. They remained popular but lost some of their status in later years. Newer digital watches with built-in calculators and primitive data organizers were strictly for gadget geeks. Adult professionals returned to dial watches by mid-decade. Leather straps returned as an option. By late in the decade some watch faces had returned to Roman numerals. In contrast, one ultramodern status symbol was the Movado museum watch. It featured a sleek design with a single large dot at twelve o'clock. The Tank watch by Cartier was a fashion icon that was revived and frequently seen on Cartier advertisements in print. Rolex watches were prominently seen on the television show Miami Vice. Teen culture preferred vibrant plastic Swatch watches. These first appeared in Europe and reached North America by the middle of the decade. Young people would often wear two or three of these watches on the same arm.[citation needed]


In the early to mid-1980s, glasses with large, plastic frames were in fashion for both men and women. Small metal framed eyeglasses made a return to fashion in 1984 and 1985, and in the late 1980s, glasses with tortoise-shell coloring became popular. These were smaller and rounder than the type that was popular earlier in the decade. Throughout the 1980s, Ray-Ban Wayfarer were extremely popular, as worn by Tom Cruise in the 1983 movie Risky Business. Sales of Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses jumped 40%, following the release of the 1986 film Top Gun,[citation needed] in which they were worn prominently by Maverick and Iceman, played by Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer respectively.[citation needed]

Miami Vice, in particular Sonny Crockett played by Don Johnson, boosted Ray-Ban's popularity by wearing a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarer (Model L2052, Mock Tortoise),[11] which increased sales of Ray Ban's to 720,000 units in 1984.[12]

Designer underwear[edit]

Underwear became a more important fashion accessory for both men and women. Women's looks tended to be in a wide array of pastel colors, with lacy trimmings. Camisoles with built in bras became popular for women, especially visible in the neckline of jackets worn for work. Men became more fashion conscious as well. Underwear was also colorful for men, and boxer shorts were "tapered", or styled after the side-vent running shorts, with a trimmer cut.[citation needed]

Both sexes were wearing stylish undies such as those modeled by celebrities and on television. Women began to favor polyester satin fabrics for lingerie, and the Jocks company, long known for its men's line, began manufacturing lace-trimmed, French-cut styles of g-bangers aimed at more conservative men. The teddy, or all-in-one camisole and tap pants, was often worn on television, by stars such as Cybill Shepherd in Moonlighting, and was very popular as a more modest garment that nearly eliminated the need for a slip. Bright jewel tones to match the silk charmeuse and satin blouses shown on Dallas and Dynasty were the rage. With baseball star Jim Palmer the new Jockey pitchman, focus on skimpy bikinis and bold prints worn by the athlete in print ads became popular. Fashion underwear was influenced by Michael J. Fox's lilac Calvin Klein briefs in Back to the Future, and Oakland Raiders star Howie Long in colorful Hanes bikini and colored brief ads. Colored, patterned, and figured men's bikinis or low-rise briefs, for the trim pant silhouettes, were available and widely popular with men of all ages.[citation needed]


Happy Pants[edit]

Happy pants were worn mostly by teenagers, especially teenage girls, in the 1980s. Fun kids fabrics were used to make the happy pants. This meant those who wore them had their own unique pair of happy pants. In Australia, happy pants were a basic, elasticized pair of shorts, made from children's range of bright and bold designs in cotton fabric. The shorts were not too tight, not too baggy, and finished in length just above the knee. In 1986, Dolly Magazine released an 1980s happy pants pattern for the basic elastic shorts. As most teenage girls had done Home Economics, they made their own shorts for happy pants.[citation needed]

Parachute pants[edit]

Parachute pants are a style of trousers characterised by the use of ripstop nylon and/or extremely baggy cuts. In the original tight-fitting, extraneously zippered style of the late 1970s/early 1980s, "parachute" referred to the pants' synthetic nylon material. In the later 1980s, "parachute" may have referred to the extreme bagginess of the pant. These are also referred to as "Hammer" pants, due to rapper MC Hammer's signature style. Hammer pants differ from the parachute pants of the 1970s and early 1980s. They are typically worn as menswear and are often brightly colored. Parachute pants became a fad in US culture in the 1980s as part of an increased cultural appropriation of breakdancing.[13]

Subcultures of the 1980s[edit]

English singer Siouxsie Sioux in 1986 wearing black clothing, back-combed hair, and heavy black eyeliner. She was an inspiration for the gothic fashion trend that started in the early 1980s

Heavy Metal style[edit]

In the first half of the 1980s, long hair, leather rocker jackets (biker jackets) or cut-off denim jackets, tight worn-out jeans, and white, high trainers (sneakers) and badges with logos of favourite metal bands were popular among metalheads, and musicians of heavy metal and speed metal bands. In the second half of the 1980s, this clothing style was popular among musicians and fans of more extreme and niche (often underground) metal bands - thrash metal, crossover thrash, early black metal, and early death metal bands. It was popular particularly in European nations, but it was also popular in the USA, Canada, and Brazil.[citation needed]

By the late 1980s, acid-washed jeans and denim jackets had become popular with both sexes. Acid washing is the process of chemically bleaching the denim, breaking down the fiber of material and forcing the dye to fade, thus leaving undertones of the original dye evidenced by pale white streaks or spots on the material. This became associated with the heavy metal trend (called "hair metal" in later decades for the large frizzy coiffures worn by both male and female enthusiasts).[citation needed]

Severely bleached and ripped jeans, either manufactured purposely or done by hand, become a popular fashion trend, being a main component of glam metal music acts such as Poison.

Punk style[edit]

Wendy Wu, lead singer of the British new-wave band, The Photos in 1980 wearing black Spandex trousers. Throughout the decade, straight-legged trousers and jeans would be worn by both sexes

Throughout the 1980s, although especially apparent in the first half, the punk style was popular. Characterized by multi-colored mohawks, ripped skinny jeans, worn band tee-shirts, and jean or leather jackets, it was practiced by people who listened to punk music such as The Sex Pistols and later, (despite the band's self-pro-claimed rock'n'roll image) Guns N' Roses. Usually the jean jackets (which became an identity of the group) were adorned by safety pins, buttons, patches, and several other pieces of music or cultural memorabilia. Often people of the punk style would take random bits of fabric and attach them with safety pins. This soon became a popular way of attaching clothing, and now in young women it is known as "pin shirts". The shirts are essentially rectangular pieces of fabric that are pinned on one side with safety pins. In the 1980s, a dressed down look (e.g. Buzzed hair, T-shirts, Jeans and button up shirts) was also very popular with people involved in Punk Rock. More specifically the Hardcore Punk scene. Circle Jerk's frontman Keith Morris describes it as "Some of those punk rock kids they interviewed were a little over the top, but the thing historically is - the L.A./Hollywood punk scene was basically based on English fashion. But we had nothing to do with that. Black flag and the Circle Jerks were so far from that. We looked like the kid who worked at the gas station or submarine shop." [14]


In the early 1980s, the Teddy Boy look was popular in the UK among fans of groups like the Stray Cats, Crazy Cavan, Levi and the Rockats, or Shakin Stevens. Common items of clothing included drape jackets (generally in darker shades than those of the 1970s), drainpipe trousers, brothel creepers, bolo ties, white T-shirts, baseball jackets, hawaiian shirts, and black leather jackets like the Schott Perfecto. Common hairstyles included the quiff, pompadour, flat top, and ducktail.[citation needed]

Rap and hip-hop[edit]

Athletic shoes had been worn as casual wear before, but for the first time they became a high-priced fashion item. Converse shoes were popular in the first half of the 1980s. Air Jordan basketball shoes (named for basketball player Michael Jordan) made their debut in 1984. The NBA banned these shoes from games when they first debuted, which increased their cachet. Soon other manufacturers introduced premium athletic shoes. Adidas sneakers took the decade by storm, popular amongst teenagers and young men; the Adidas sneaker was popularized by the Run-D.M.C. song My Adidas. Nike had a similar share of the market with Air Max and similar shoes. High-tops, especially of white or black leather, became popular. In the early 1980s, long white athletic socks, often calf-high or knee-high, were worn with sneakers. As the decade progressed, socks trended shorter, eventually topping out just above the height of the shoe.[citation needed]

Ensembles featuring the colors of Africa (green, yellow and red) became wildly popular among African Americans, as did kente cloth. In the urban hip-hop communities, sneakers were usually worn unlaced and with a large amount of gold jewelry as well as headwraps.[citation needed]


Conservative teenagers, especially in the United States wore a style that came to be known as "preppy." Preppy fashions are associated with classic and conservative style of dressing and clothing brands such as Izod Lacoste, Brooks Brothers, and Polo Ralph Lauren . An example of preppy attire would be a button-down Oxford cloth shirt, cuffed khakis, and loafers or Boat shoes. Also popular were argyle sweaters and vests. It was also considered "preppy" to wear a sweater tied loosely around the shoulders.In the 1980s, preppy fashions featured a lot of pastels and polo shirts with designer logos.The trend continues till this day. But with a more exculsive crowd, also a new brand has been added called Vineyard Vine Keds were also worn by the preppy group.[citation needed]


Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins in 1986.

Sideburns of the 1960s and 1970s saw a massive decline in fashion in 1980, while big and eccentric hair styles were popularized by film and music stars, in particular amongst teenagers. There was generally an excessive amount of mousse used in styling an individual's hair which resulted in a desired shiny look and greater volume, some mousse even contained glitter. Hairsprays such as AquaNet were also used in excess such as hard rock band Poison. The Mullet existed in several different styles, all characterized by hair short on the sides and long in the back. Mullets were popular in suburban and rural areas among working class men. This contrasted with a conservative look favored by business professionals, with neatly groomed short hair for men and sleekly straight hair for women.[citation needed] Trends in men's facial hair included designer stubble.

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Browne, Ray B.; Browne, Pat (15 June 2001). The Guide to United States Popular Culture. Popular Press. pp. 357–. ISBN 978-0-87972-821-2. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Lauraine Leblanc. Pretty in Punk: Girls' Gender Resistance in a Boys' Subculture. Rutgers University Press, 1999. P. 52
  3. ^ "Return of the perm: Big hair leads the Eighties' comeback". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Brubaker, Ken (9 October 2003). Monster Trucks. MotorBooks International. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-7603-1544-6. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Welters, Linda; Cunningham, Patricia A. (20 May 2005). Twentieth-Century American Fashion. Berg. p. 223, 337. ISBN 978-1-84520-073-2. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Bateman, Antony; Benyahia, Sarah Casey Casey; Mortimer, Claire (23 May 2012). AS Media Studies: The Essential Introduction for WJEC. Routledge. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-415-61334-7. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Steinberg, Shirley R.; Kehler, Michael; Cornish, Lindsay (17 June 2010). Boy Culture: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-313-35080-1. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
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