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'80s' Fashion Trends for Women

Neha Joshi
The '80s was an era the world can never forget! Every single element in the '80s' fashion trends for women was not only shocking but also something that 'stood out'. Some of the styles women chose back then, exist even today! If there was a decade that lived through the most diverse styles, it was the '80s.
Most women today would say that fashion in the '80s should remain in the '80s and never come back. You will eventually understand why. I can never image myself sporting the styles of the '80s myself.
Everything back then was about standing out of the crowd, and doing things differently. If there was one thing that was common right from the make up, to the clothes, to the accessories, it was neon colors. Everything was bright, more bright than what we can think of.
Brands such as Ocean Pacific, Reebok and Banana Republic made history and everyone purchased at least one item of clothing from these. LA Gear, Jordache, Guess, Adidas and Liz Claiborn were amongst other famous lines then. The diversity in these names shows us how different everyone could possibly dress.

'80s' Fashion Trends for Women: An Overview


Shirts of the '80s are one of the few items that we might consider wearing even today, although only the formal ones. '80s was the era of quality dressing, as even then, women were considered an equally important part of the corporate world.
Quality dressing included shirts with shoulder pads in the fabrics of cotton, wool and silk. Jewelry with these usually included pearls, the pants being high on the stomach with big bottoms. Business suits were worn by many women to show authority and control. Casual ones included those with hoods as well.

Mini Skirts

If we talk about the '80s' fashion trends for women, we have to talk about the mini skirts back then. Mini skirts were the most common form of clothing in both formal and casual wear. You could see them in big organizations, on the streets and even in some of the most famous music videos.
Women had more mini skirts in their wardrobe than any other form of clothing. While the businesswomen wore black, off white and gray, and the casual clothing included the colors of bright orange, pink and green. A black mini skirt was something every woman had in the '80s.


Denims were a disaster in the '80s and were usually acid washed. Yes, back then it was what everyone did, but today, we might shiver at the very thought, isn't it? Another very famous form of clothing were the stretch stirrup pants which according to any fashion stylist today, are a wardrobe disaster.
However, the Gloria Vanderbilt jeans, the most tight form of the same, were rightly successful. In casual wear, happy pants took away the ticket. Though these resemble more of nightwear, they were worn even on the streets by most young girls. Units Clothing was also a hit at the time.

Influence of Music

The '80s' fashion trends for women were highly influenced by the music bands and popstars of the time. Madonna was a style icon for every single girl and woman in that decade. The best example here would be that of Madonna's mole. A mole is considered today, as something a woman can do without.
However, since Madonna had one, every girl/woman back then had to have one, if not in actuality, then with the help of eyeliner. Lingerie was worn as outerwear and was considered normal.
The Punk Fashion was famous with customized blazers and vague hairstyles. Initially, the punk clothing was handmade which changed drastically when a lot of fashion labels started manufacturing the same in the '80s.


If you belonged to the '80s, jackets were of varied colors and fashion. You had to have a Members Only jacket and the brighter, the better. There is no particular reason why these jackets were so famous but somehow both men and women had one of these at all times.
The waist and both the wrists of these jackets were elasticized with a front that featured a zipper. The neck came with a lot of snaps and the left front side with a Members Only logo. There was nothing out of the ordinary in these jackets but they were an essential nonetheless.
Even shell suits were a regularity and luckily an extinction today. The normal denim jackets as well as the universal black leather jacket were also a hit among young girls. These gave a trendy as well as an unique look.

Sporty Look

A very famous one amongst all the '80s' fashion trends for women, was the sporty look. Exercise and gym clothes were considered fashionable even in college and at social parties. Over sized shirts, leotards and scrunch socks were worn by almost every single woman of that time.
These were mostly worn in bright neon colors and anything that wasn't bright, wasn't considered fashionable. When this look was just settling in, came the movie Flashdance that brought with it the trends of off shoulder sleeve shirts and leg warmers. Sporting exercise gear went to a completely new level then.

Make Up

The makeup back then needs an important mention in the '80s fashion trends for women as it made you look, at all times, as though you were attending a fancy dress competition. It was completely focused on the cheeks and the eyes and even this, had to be as bright and colorful as possible.
The eyes usually had a lot of layers of eye shadow and shocking blue was the favorite shade with an outline of black liner. The cheeks were enhanced as much as they ever could be with bright blush shades. The hair was always ultra teased and even that was multi colored.


Accessories played a very big role in the '80s' fashion clothing and it was these extra elements that decided your fashion quotient. Two of the most common accessories of that decade were the fingerless gloves and big earrings.
Fingerless gloves again, were worn by many women giving little or no consideration to the occasion. Most of you would remember Audrey Hepburn's look in Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961). The Wayfarers by Ray Ban she wore then suddenly became very famous in the '80s but now, they were two-toned. In the nightclubs, it was the robot sunglasses.
Yes, even nightclubs needed some different element. Jelly Shoes made out of PVC plastic also had a major following. Swatch watches were the chosen ones with some people wearing more than one at a time.
Thus, given a choice, we really wouldn't want the '80s to come back again, would we? Most think that the '80s' fashion trends for women are a long distant memory. However, on the contrary, there are some elements out of the ones mentioned above that have made a comeback.
The jelly shoes are suddenly coming back and so are the Wayfarers! People in the '80s dressed to make a statement but whether they made it or not, cannot be judged by us today.