What Were Youth Fads & Trends of the 80's?

Written by kay trillos
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What Were Youth Fads & Trends of the 80's?
Neon was a popular colour palette in the 1980s. (rainbow image by mac 3 from Fotolia.com)

The 1980s was a decade when fashion fads and trends revolved around fun, funky and individualistic styles especially among teenagers and young adults. Bright colours and unique shapes remain modern iconic symbols of the '80s.

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By the mid-1980s the colour trend for teens was neon. From hot pink to electric green, neon could be found on oversized shirts, leggings, chunky jewellery and sunglasses. Although other colour trends surged and waned throughout the decade, neon is the most commonly, and sometimes fondly, remembered palette of the decade.

Dance Wear

Dance movies like "Fame," released in 1980, and "Flashdance," released in 1983, started a trend of dance-wear as day-wear. "Flashdance," especially, inspired a generation of teens and young adults to wear legwarmers, sweatshirts with the collars cut out and leotards.

Chunky Jewelry

Jewellery in the 80s was all about size and impact. While older women wore sculptural, elegant, metal pieces, teens more commonly wore chunky, plastic jewellery. Trends like multiple bracelets on one arm and mismatched, oversized earrings added individuality to the chunky jewellery trend. Neon and geometric designs were popular.


The classic silhouette of the 1980s teen was baggy and oversized on top paired with form-fitting bottoms. This look was achieved by pairing an extra large sweatshirt or T-shirt with leggings or stretchy stirrup trousers.

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