Which clothes from the 1980s are back in fashion?

The decade of the 80s holds such a unique place in the world of fashion, trends and styles. So, in a time with no fashion influencers and no social media, the 80s clothing style was inspired by music and TV shows, creating more style idols than in any previous fashion decade.

‘Big’, ‘bright’ and ‘loud’ describe the 80s clothing decade, with eye-wearing colors and patterns, powerful suits, shoulder pads, dramatic earrings and jeans.

On the other hand, the fashion styles of the 1980s were also about showing being happy, flaunting money – wearing designer brands, formal clothes and logos to show one’s wealth and status.

However, the influence of the 1980s shaped not only the culture and fashion looks of that decade, but also the styles we wear today, in 2022.

So if you want to still dress like you did back then, here are some pieces to return to your closet.

1. 80’S SUITS

Powerful suits were fashionable in the 1980s, as a trend created by celebrities and movie stars playing influential career women thirsty for power and self-esteem.

Therefore, well-cut suits with broad shoulders and padding inspired the ‘girl power’ and cross-dressing movement of the 1980s – and an inspiration for artists like Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Lorde.


Shoulder pads were such an influential trend in 1980s clothing style that they even started to be adopted by designers.

Therefore, shoulder pads were combined with dresses with puffed sleeves to create unique geometric shapes and cuts.


The fashion styles of the 1980s were influenced by stars and celebrities of the time, promoting fitness and aerobic exercise on TV.

However, appearances by Olivia Newton-John and Jane Fonda (Flashdance in particular) turned leggings into every woman’s fashion statement.


Worn by music and movie stars like Bon Jovi, Madonna, Cher, Tom Cruise (Top Gun), and Morten Harket, leather jackets were a must-have piece in the 1980s.

However, the most popular leather jacket styles had wide, padded shoulders and were worn with the sleeves rolled up, and Michael Jackson’s Thriller look is the perfect example.


Statement T-shirts, also called slogan T-shirts, are another defining moment of 80s clothing style, beautifully exemplified by Katharine Hamnett’s pieces.

Therefore, the trend of slogans printed on T-shirts was quickly adopted by Pepsi, Nike, Adidas and Guess after they realized the advertising power of their own logos printed on shirts.


The 1980s is also the decade of miniskirts, skater skirts, and low-waisted skirts. Miniskirts were first seen in 1960s fashion, often paired with boots. But miniskirt trends peaked in the 1980s, worn with leggings.

However, the popular materials were jeans and elastane or augmented with layers of netting and lace, Madonna style.


Inspired by the fashion of the 1940s-50s, polka-dot dresses, skirts, and tops resurfaced in the 1980s in full force.

The style was brought back by French fashion house Emanuel Ungaro in his 1985 collection, quickly adopted by royalty, pop stars, and movie celebrities.

However, Princess Diana loved sporting polka-dot skirts; the pop duo Strawberry Switchblade wore them on large PVC belts in their characteristic dresses with tie necklines.


Even in the 1980s, the use of natural animal skin was used. However, that didn’t stop celebrities from wearing exaggerated animal prints on every imaginable outfit and style.

So, from leggings to handbags, skirts and sunglasses, bold prints of leopard, zebra, tiger, giraffe and python were in fashion.


Most fashionable sunglasses in the 1980s had giant frames and colored or mirrored lenses.

Some of the most popular sunglass frames of the 1980s were Wayfarers and oversized Aviators by Rayban.


Thierry Mugler’s 1983 spring show is the best example of clothes where one side is not the same as the other.

The asymmetrical style was best exemplified by Molly Ringwald, a famous Hollywood actor of the 1980s.

Some key features of asymmetrical style and design include a one-shoulder bodice, sloping hems or necklines, often seen in Japanese fashion streetwear pieces today.


After the drug influence and “flower power” freedom of 1970s fashion, the 1980s began as a self-conscious decade.

Jane Fonda took advantage of women’s obsession with dancing and exercise with fitness videos featuring an extensive collection of brightly colored clothes.

With the help of music divas like Cher, the promotion and sale of sportswear in bright colors became a thing of the 80s.

What we now call fitness clothing began as tights and bodysuits, a functional form of fashion.

12. 80’S JEANS

The double denim style fashion of the 80’s is the best example of how celebrity power shaped and still shapes today’s fashion trends.

The Levi’s 501 jeans campaign involved the top celebrities of the time, such as Nick Kamen, who had a top 5 hit in 1986, written and produced by Madonna and Stephen Bray.

The trend of pairing double denim jackets with high-waisted jeans continued through the late 1980s and is back now in 2022.