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Fashion: 80’s Style

When you think about the 80’s you probably think of bright colors, sweatbands, side ponytails and Madonna, and these very things reflect the popular movement in the 1980’s fashion culture.


Although many people think of bright colors and work out clothes, the 1980’s clothing had a big emphasis on expensive clothing. Mainly pertaining to women, the appearance of dressing with the intent of looking wealthy was very popular. Some ways in which women would try to dress fancier was by wearing costume jewelry like pearls, and gold earrings, while covered in sequin clothing. As well as those who wanted to portray themselves as wealthy, the 1980’s went through a time where shoulder pads became popular because it showed power, especially for women in the work place. During this time, a lot of women’s clothing came with Velcro on the inside of their clothing so they could attach a shoulder pad whenever they felt they needed to do so. An interesting fact about the uprising on fashion in the 80’s is that the “punk” phase was developed because people felt to rebel from the 1960’s hippie look.


In the United States, especially in California the rise of the “Valley girl” phase was developed in this era. A typical “Valley girl” would own miniskirts, leg warmers, headbands, long jumpers, high heel shoes, and sweaters. Typically miniskirts were worn over leggings and compared to other clothing, miniskirts continued to be in fashion through women in business. These clothing items were popular at the time mainly because of the movie’s, and cheerleader’s influence upon the culture. In 1983 the movie “Valley Girl” played a huge role in this development of clothing choices. Through the 1980’s cheerleaders played a huge role in clothing because girls looked to them for their sense of fashion and or worth.


In regard to men’s wear, Miami Vice played a particular role in the use of colorful styles because of the popularity within the show that attracted emerging adults. The types of clothing that men started to wear because of this show consist of colorful t-shirts underneath expensive suits. As well with clothing, the grunge type look was popular because of one of the characters Don Johnson.


Dancewear was very popular within this age as well. Leotards were popular in the 1970’s and carried over into the 80’s because it added color. The layered look was popular even within dancewear. Women would put their hair in a side ponytail with a leotard, sweater and leg warmers. These types of clothing trends were influenced by the danced themed T.V. shows and movies that were popular during the 1980’s.


Through 1980’s fashion we see that the development of this clothing culture to be driven from the influences of movies and T.V. Most of the clothing that was popular in the 80’s had a reason behind it, whether that is for women to look more powerful, or because that was what the movie stars were wearing. No matter what age it is, the influence of fashion within culture we can see derives from the media and that everything that is put on is for a purpose. 1980s-disco-chick


About emilygpotts

I work from coffee shops, pray a little, cook, and travel relentlessly. Currently residing in Redding, CA

2 responses to “Fashion: 80’s Style

  1. nataliebroman ⋅

    I really enjoyed this article! I like that you mentioned the punk look, because I feel like a lot of the times people forget everything else about 80’s fashion and only remember the leggings, leotards, loose one-shoulder sweatshirts, and side pony tails. I did my blog on fashion from the 1960’s and the fashion then was in rebellion to the 1950’s. I find it kind of funny that all the fashion from these different decades were in rebellion to the generation before them. I also find it funny that the hippies dressed in rebellion to the classy-standard and that the clothing of the 1980’s was all about expensive and brand name clothing, which completely goes against what the hippies were all about. I just am finding more and more that the common theme with fashion is that it is always making a statement against something. I feel like today’s fashion isn’t really in rebellion for anything, but I’ll be interested to see what I think in 10 years from now about my thought process behind what I wear.

  2. Fashion is something that is constantly changing in America. It’s funny to look back at this era and think about all of the crazy styles that people had going on, especially the shoulder pads. I remember looking back through my parents old pictures, and my mom was one of these women who wore huge shoulder pads wherever she would go, along with that, my dad would wear Miami vice suits, and aviator sunglasses. I think that the 80’s did have some styles that spilled into later eras, such as acid washed jeans, jean jackets/vests, puffy vests, and many other things. I’m with Natalie when I say, I hope when I am older and have kids, and they look back through my old photos, my style wasn’t too crazy to the point where they get a laugh at my expense. But it will be interesting to see where the fashion world will be in the next decade or so.

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