Clothing Fads of the Early 1980s

Written by kristen marquette
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Clothing Fads of the Early 1980s
Invented in the 1960s, the mini skirt became popular again in the 1980s. (my short skirt image by Frenk_Danielle Kaufmann from

Every decade turns out iconic clothing trends and fads -- poodle skirts from the 1950s, peasant skirts from the 1960s and tie-dye from the 1970s. The 1980s were no different, with shoulder pads, stirrup trousers and spandex. Many of the 1980s most memorable clothing fads came from the early years of the decade.


The popularity of jumpsuits in the 1970s spilt over into the early 1980s. However, the style of the jumpsuits transformed from one decade to the next. Wide legged jumpsuits that resembled flowing dresses changed into jumpsuits with ultra tapered ankles. Jumpsuits of the early 80s portrayed irony, fun and silliness with their industrial fashion feel and primary and neon colours. They offered an easy way to be fashionable -- simply step into the jumpsuit, zip it up and you're out the door. People accessorised their jumpsuits in the early 1980s with wide belts -- another fashion trend of the decade.

Members Only Jackets

If you were cool in the early 1980s, you owned a Members Only jacket. The Members Only clothing brand introduced the jackets in 1981 and they quickly became the epitome of fashionable outwear for both men and women. Eighties fashion embraced colour, and you could buy Members Only jackets in a wide array of colours, from bright red to beige to teal. The jackets were constructed out of cotton-polyester blend with a nylon lining and included an elastic waist, elastic wrists, snaps at the neck and a zipper in the front. So every one could tell you were wearing a Members Only jacket, a small black and white Members Only logo was displayed on the front left breast.

Leg Warmers

Before 1982, only dancers wore leg warmers -- to keep their muscles warm and avoid injury while dancing. They came in practical colours such as black, white and other neutral colours. Then in 1982, girls and women who weren't dancers began wearing them as a fashion statement. You could pair them with mini skirts, stretch trousers or over jeans. They came in every colour under the rainbow and in an array of patterns. Many women wore their legwarmers scrunched around just their ankles so they served no function other than making a fashion statement. You could even stylishly wear legwarmers to a nightclub. In 1984, the popularity of the legwarmer began to fade, and by 1985, no one wore legwarmers anymore -- except for dancers, that is.

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