'80s Wear for Men

Written by kris helen
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'80s Wear for Men
Pastel colours became fashionable in the '80s. (David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The 1980s were a decade of excess. Designer labels became status symbols and casual linen suits blurred the line between business and casual dressing. The popular new romantics movement in music brought in more colourful and outlandish trends even into men's clothing. This included wearing make-up and accessorising clothes with aviator-type sunglasses. Often colours were bright and patterns were busy, and workout clothes came out of the gym onto the street.

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The '80s power suit also affected men's fashion. Suit designers preferred single breasted jackets in navy or charcoal grey and featured noticeable buttons, such as gold. Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani became a particular favourite among fashion-conscious men. Television soap opera "Dynasty" championed the power suit trend. Men's dress shirts had French cuffs. TV series "Miami Vice" popularised the pastel-coloured linen suit with pleated trousers and casual jackets, paired often with T-shirts. Loafer shoes without socks completed the look.


Another popular '80s TV show "Magnum P.I." brought the casual Hawaiian shirt into fashion. Short-sleeved, loosefitting shirts with bright, colourful patterns, often depicting tropical island themes, worn with shorts or jeans, became a casual wear staple. Shirts worn with business suits also followed the trend on pastel colours with choices like pink or powder blue. Printed T-shirts with slogans of the age such as "Just Say No" or "Where's The Beef?" became prominent along with band T-shirts adorned with band photos or logos.


Jeans were often stone or acid washed and light blue coloured. Rock bands of the '80s made the ripped jean look also very popular. Pop star M.C. Hammer started a trend with parachute trousers. Made of light, loose and shiny material, they usually featured geometric patterns. For the first time workout wear became highly fashionable, and men wore sweat pants not only to the gym, but also as a casual clothing option. Corduroy trousers evolved into a smart casual option, often paired with a sweater, worn loosely tied around the shoulders.


Loafers with tassels are iconic '80s shoes. Leather shoes came in snakeskin patterns and even in alligator leather. Men wore cowboy boots with jeans or even business suits. The sneaker became into prominence in the '80s as well. Well-known brands such as adidas and Nike started releasing shoes in eye-catching designs and colours, and they became a must-have accessory. Punk music brought in Dr Marten boots (known generally as Doc Martens), a high ankle boot with thick light brown soles.

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