Those 80s Clothes Were So NOT Happening!

Culture |

80s Fashion Was Colorful

When I think of 80s fashion, I think of one word: Hilarious. There were bright colors, shoulder pads, and neon lights. Well, not in the clothes, but the neon lights made the colors look oh, so much bolder, more neon, and more “classy.” Pink and green became a thing. And stripes and dots decided they actually went together.


The 80s brought in fashion for working out. Gone were the days of sweatpants and tee shirts for working out, and in came the times of wearing matching or mismatching (on purpose) workout gear. Headbands, of course had to deck out the finishing touches and leg warmers went over the lycra leotards. And this is just describing the men’s workout clothes! Kidding. But seriously, the men’s work out clothes were not much different from the women’s. And, to add to the atmosphere we had the famous celebrity workout DVDs. 

What About the Boys and Men?

Think Marty McFly with his jeans and his vest and white shirt. And then also think baggy pants and big sleeves, but bright colors. The suits almost always had pinstripes and had wider legs. Big lapels were worn oversized with broader shoulders. The women’s suits were the same, but they used the shoulder pads to make up for some of that space. And in the summer, the shorts were very short for the men. Embarrassingly short, when we look back at pictures. Pastels became very popular toward the middle to the end of the 80s for both the men and women. “Real men wear pink,” was coined in the 80s.

Anything Goes and Everything Went

The 80s became a time when people finally found their own style. If there was a great fashion trend that rose from the 80s, it was the idea that people could wear just about anything, almost anywhere, and they would be in style. Very few places required a tie any more. But if a tie was needed, it could be fun and colorful. A person’s style could be their own. Their clothes could be their expression of identity. And of course the hair and accessories followed.

Tennis shoes were ok to wear anywhere and the Nike brand became a fashion statement. High tops and converse never went away, but much like clothes, these also found some new color combos. High heels became wider and thicker and taller. Much taller.

Kids those Days

Most schools dropped their dress codes by the mid 70s, so by the 80s, the time was right for even more casual wear. But casual with style. Kids who were affluent, purchased designer clothes to complete their expensive “casual” wardrobe. They were copying icons seen on stage and on favorite TV shows. Before the 80s people would dress up to even fly on a plane. Sometime during the 80s, people began flying with warm ups or jeans, and feeling just fine with the casual wear. The 80s were the bridge between stylish casual and just plain casual.

Looking Back

Most people who lived through the 80s and had the hair, the clothes, and the shoes are super thankful they also did not have Facebook. But looking back, there are some photos. And when we look at those, we have to chuckle. Because the 80s were a fun decade. The 80s were fun, colorful and a little bit quirky in terms of fashion. But it was a good time too. That could be the reason we have 80s Days in our schools now, and people host 80s themed parties. The clothes and hair were so bad, they were great! The shoes and suits were so gaudy that they became fun to wear. And add in the hair! Wow! 

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Peggy DeSeure


Peggy is an author, freelance writer, teacher, and mom of two beautiful daughters who were born in the 80s. Hence, Peggy loves all things 80s! One of her joys is passing down stories of her favorite movies and fun pictures from the 80s to grandkids. And, there are many talks spent reliving those days with friends and reminiscing about that thrilling decade!