We all know that the 80s were not such a good decade for fashion, but they were certainly easy to remember, which is why today we bring you the ten most memorable 80s fashion pictures we came across online. Some of the decade’s trends were ugly, others were hard on the eyes, most were awfully kitschy, yet somehow they managed to stick around in the collective subconscious. A lot of them, such as peep-toe shoes, Jodhpur pants and large shoulder pads actually managed to make a comeback! How, it’s hard to tell. Yet here we are, 30 years later, still making the same old fashion mistakes…
1. Shoulder Pads
Our first in the series of 80s fashion pictures features shoulder pads. Shoulder pads are easily the most memorable of all 80s fashion trends, simply because they were unavoidable to look at, when walking down the street. While it is true that a well tailored jacket or coat needs a bit of support in the shoulder area, shoulder pads are definitely one item where too much is just… too much. When used well, they will help you achieve a smaller-looking waist. However, if your shoulders are naturally on the broad side, careful about wearing anything with shoulder pads.
2. Mini Skirts
This is not necessarily one of the bad 80s fashion trends out there – they made the girls look and feel self-confident and the guys rejoice at the show of skin. However, careful, girls. Not all of you can pull them off. You do need a pretty good figure to be able to carry a mini skirt well. Also, petites should be very careful about wearing this style, since a very short skirt will usually hit a thick part of their thigh and make small girls appear wider than they actually are. Want more hot 80s fashion pictures? Do scroll down for the next one.
3. Leg Warmers
Like most of the 80s, leg warmers are supposedly fun, practical and appropriate. Allegedly. This is one of the 80s trends that made a huge comeback during the noughties, while initially it was popularized by such dance movie classics as Flashdance and Dirty Dancing. Yes, leg warmers are appropriate at the gym, out at a club or to actually warm your legs in winter. They are not as well-suited in more formal environments, however…
4. Huge Earrings
It’s easy to explain why big earrings were such an iconic part of 80s fashion trend. Sure, there was Madonna and Cindi Lauper, but before them, there was the growing Hispanic community in the United States. The 80s saw them gaining in clout, with their traditional trends slipping into the mainstream. 80s hoops are still sort of ‘in’ these days, too, as are chandelier-like danglies and other ear accessories that make one go “Ouch!” when seeing just how big and heavy they are.
5. Fingerless Gloves
Michael Jackson and Madonna turned fingerless gloves into one of the most popular 80s trends, and they have stuck around ever since. They’re edgy, sort of rock and roll and work well with a punk-inspired outfit. They are, however, strictly for the young. Do not, we repeat, do not attempt to pull off this biker-chic fashion element with a more formal outfit… unless you’re going for that whole ‘Papa, don’t preach’ vibe…
6. Parachute Pants
By far one of the most ridiculous of all 80s fashion trends, these pants started out skin-tight, but it didn’t take long before they were wide enough to fit two people inside one leg! They are still around in today’s fashion, either in cargo, denim or camouflage prints. They’re worn very low on the hips and usually let a bit of underwear show through. Hands down, they make for the funniest (and probably most shameful) 80s fashion pictures out there.
7. Members Only Jackets
These jackets were a love-item, a must-have and a sign of social standing when it comes to 80s fashion trends. Everyone had to have them, some thirty years ago, and those who didn’t were outcasts, nerds, geeks, dorks… definitely not a part of the cool kids’ club. Imitations were around at the time, too, due to the incredible popular demand. While the style is still around, the brand per se has faded off the list of topical trends.
One of the 80s fashion trends that luckily did not survive the decade was that of units. Sold in UNITS boutiques in malls across the United States, the basic concept was that you could buy up to six different pieces in coordinating colors – knit shirts, shirts, belts and leggings and create a whole new wardrobe and a whole new you.
9. Stretch-Stirrup Pants
Possibly one of the most loathed of all 80s fashion trends, it’s hard to explain or even understand today why this style ever became popular in the first place. Stirrup pants have the awesome ‘advantage’ of not looking good on anyone, no matter how tall, slim or long-legged. They create a triangle-upside-down effect, that basically make anyone’s hips look too wide. Presumably, they were very comfortable, but surely they had nothing to do with fashion and style whatsoever.
10. Oversized Tops
This is one trend that made a comeback starting with the late 90s. Paired with a skinny or slim-fitted bottom, be it a mini-skirt or a pair of leggings, and accessorized with oversized necklaces or belts, these shirts look pretty good. They are best in their oversized print variety, although solids work as well. For a truly 80s look, go for a bright, bold neon color that will make your style pop and will bring everyone’s attention to you.