”Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” Coco Chanel. Well, when the icon of the fashion industry says that, there can be no argument. Every age, every class, and every era has its own fashion scene.
1980s were times of disco, bright colors, baggy pants, oversized shirts, permed hair, basically a bold and loud statement. From wearing padded- shouldered blazers to animal prints every fashion clothing and accessory was big and bold.
Do you remember the time of high-waist pants? Well, that was the 80s—everything big and broad! Workout clothes were not far from this fashion statement. Jane Fonda! Does the name ring a bell? Her workout fashion was a statement on its own. Ripped tights, polished over-sized blazers, bright colors et al. Her style was loved by celebrities, and fashion icons from Madonna to Brooke Shields all glamorized these trends.
80s Fashion for Women
1. Shoulder Pads:
Made a loud statement that “we are equal to men”. Women’s blazers and coats had padded shoulders giving a broad shoulder appearance. It said, “Bring it on, I’m ready.” Even dresses had padded shoulders, giving the appearance of a strong woman—inside out.
2. Polka dress:
From the morning bold statement at work to a cute girl look with a polka dot dress that was the woman of 80s—who knew what she wanted. The style statement ranged from brave to cute. It was accessorized with a wide belt, giving a tiny- waist appearance. Polka pattern was in fashion in shirts, blouses, and skirts too. More the dots, better the style.
3. Animal Print:
Who can forget the animal prints! (It is making a comeback). Celebrities were commonly seen wearing animal prints. From tiger, cheetah, zebra to even giraffe print, that was the fashion of the 80s. Clothes, shoes, belts, bags, and scarves almost every fashion piece was made with animal print. So, it was animal on the plate and animal on the body!
4. Hair Styles:
Just like clothes, 80s makeup also made a bold statement. Permed, curled hair and bouffant style were the fashion in the 80s and hairspray were one of the most common hair products used by women. Who can forget the mullet, the hairstyle which has gone forever? Well, this was a popular style in the 80s which was short in the front and sides and long in the back.
Makeup was intense too, with bright blush or rouge as it was called back then, strong colors for the eyes, and dark lipstick mostly in shades of reds and pinks were the trend. Colored mascara from blue to yellow were available for lash lengthening, eyes had to be accentuated. Eyeshadows were dark or bright, worn all the way to the eyebrows. Thin and over-plucked eyebrows were out, and full brows were made fashionable by icons like Brooke Shields.
Fashion in the 80s made a powerful statement with intense makeup, animal prints, and shoulder pads. Colors used were bold and bright; magenta, fuchsia, neon colors, yellow were the colors of the day. Red and black which are an all-time favorite were of course in fashion.
Celebrities like Madonna, Brooke Shields, Naomi Campbell, and Tina Turner adorned bright colors and were the fashion icons of the 80s. Thus, the brighter the color, the more fashionable the person. Even in everyday clothes, people chose to be called fashionable with bold and bright colors.
7. Over-sized T-shirts:
With everything big, t-shirts were oversized too. Denim skirts, jeans, shorts with tucked in over-sized t-shirt were in fashion and comfortable to wear. College students and working people all welcomed the over-sized t-shirts for their style and comfort. Once again, this fashion is coming back after almost 40 years.
8. Denim Jackets:
Who can forget the denim jackets! If you had one, you were considered trendy. Most youngsters owned at least one pair of a denim jacket. A denim jacket could turn a simple attire into a fashionable outfit. That was an 80s trend which is making a comeback too. Denim in any case is forever and presumptuously will never go out of fashion.
9. Workout Clothes:
If you’re from the 80s and have seen Jane Fonda’s aerobic videos, you know the leg-warmers, leotards, headbands, neon-bright leggings. Fashion in the gym was bold and bright too. Matching headband, wristband, and sneakers were trendy. Even while working out, no one wanted to look uncouth by not following the fashion trend.
When the fashion in 80s was going bold, accessories were an important part of that bold look. Big hooped earrings, bandanas, crystal watches, wide belts, ribbon all added some punk rock look to the fashion of 80s (Ati, 2018). Socks are a necessity and not an accessory, right!
However, women in the 80s made socks a fashion accessory by wearing colorful socks, one pair over another. Stockings were in fashion too, from netted to clear, stockings were worn with an aplomb on miniskirts. Today, if you see that, you’ll most probably faint—but not back then!