Clothing fads worn in the '80s

Written by christi aldridge
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
Clothing fads worn in the '80s
Turned-up collars were a fashion staple of the '80s. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

The '80s were a decade that had a style all its own. Bright colours, mirrored sunglasses, jelly shoes and big fringe were just a few things that made this decade not for the faint of heart. The '80s were daring, neon and just plain big when it came to breaking any rules of fashion.

Other People Are Reading


Making a statement with jeans was part of living in the '80s. People were very brand conscious, and the jeans you wore said a lot about your cool factor. Guess, Girbaud, Jordache, Z. Cavaricci and Sassoon were a few brands that made heads turn in the '80s. Men favoured Bugle Boy and Levi's, while women put on Gitano or Chic jeans. Plain denim didn't always get the job done, though. Jeans were acid washed, stone washed, ripped, bleached and pinned. To create a narrow silhouette, jeans sometimes had zippers at the ankles, or could be pinned or cuffed to create a slim ankle. Other popular pant styles were parachute trousers and stirrup trousers. Parachute trousers, an unflattering look for both men and women, were made of a light, airy material. The trousers were fairly baggy and had zippered pockets on the front. Women wore stirrup trousers, tight cotton leggings with stirrups that went over the feet. They often paired these with oversized shirts.


Graphic T-shirts were all the rage. The Budweiser dog, Spuds McKenzie, adorned many a shirt in this decade, as did Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Esprit and Fido Dido. Sometimes sayings were popular such as "Frankie Says Relax" or "Choose Life," which were inspired by pop music. Beach brands like Ron Jon and Ocean Pacific made surf shirts stylish, and preppy kids gravitated towards brands like Polo and Lacoste. After you put on your Polo shirt, you had to flip the collar up to show people how cool you were. Net shirts were in for both men and women, and women's blouses included large shoulder pads. For women, an oversized shirt tied to one side with a scrunchie was very trendy.


Skirts for women were very short. The '80s were the miniskirt's heyday and it showed. Skirts could be narrow and tight, or in the shape of a bubble. They could be made of lace, have a checkered or paint splattered print, or be plaid schoolgirl-style skirts. The skirt look almost always included tights or pantyhose. Neon-coloured tights, fishnet stockings or lace hose were a few popular styles. To finish off a skirt outfit, women pulled on some legwarmers and lacy ankle socks along with brightly coloured pumps.


Members Only jackets were the staple of the '80s, with a Members Only logo on the pocket. Wearers were mostly men. There were many generic jackets created by other brands, but the Members Only jacket was the only cool one acceptable. Other popular jacket styles were the red leather Michael Jackson jacket, denim jackets with lots of buttons, pins, paint splatters and designs on them, anything with fringe, and cropped, bolero-style jackets.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.