80s Fashion Trends for Women: Relive the Iconic Style

Get ready to bring back the bold and daring fashion sense of the 80s! This era of fashion was famous for its bold colors, over-the-top accessories, and voluminous hairstyles. Women’s fashion of the 80s was all about expression -the brighter, the better. Today, 80s fashion is making a huge comeback and we can’t get enough of it. In this article, we will take a closer look at iconic 80s fashion trends that you can start incorporating into your wardrobe today for a touch of retro charm.

80s Fashion Trends for Women: Relive the Iconic Style
80s Fashion Trends for Women: Relive the Iconic Style

The Beginnings of 80s Fashion for Women

The 1980s were a time of transition in the United States, with cultural and societal changes happening rapidly. Fashion was also greatly influenced by this time of transition, with bold, colorful styles taking center stage. In this article, we’ll delve into the fashion trends that made the 80s such an iconic era for women’s fashion.

The Emergence of Power Dressing

One of the most significant emerging fashion trends of the 80s was “power dressing.” This style was all about projecting confidence and authority in the workplace, with suits and blazers serving as the cornerstone of the look. Women began to adopt suits and blazers with shoulder pads, which were designed to make the wearer appear more muscular and powerful. Power dressing was heavily influenced by the corporate culture of the time, with many women adopting this style in order to succeed in male-dominated workplaces.

Power dressing also led to the popularization of the “working girl” look, which was typified by Diane Keaton in the 1987 film of the same name. This look consisted of oversized, buttoned shirts paired with skirts or slacks and finished off with chunky-heeled pumps. This look was a departure from the tight, form-fitting clothing of the 70s and early 80s, giving women a more comfortable, yet still professional, option for dressing for the office.

The Madonna Effect

Madonna emerged onto the music and fashion scene in 1982, and quickly became one of the most influential style icons of the decade. Her “Material Girl” look, which consisted of layered tops, skirts, and bangles, became a staple of 80s fashion. Madonna also popularized the “boy toy” look, which involved wearing lingerie as outerwear and pairing feminine pieces with masculine items, such as a leather jacket or combat boots.

Neon Colors

Neon colors were everywhere in the 80s, from fashion to music to art. These bright, fluorescent hues were often paired together for a bold, eye-catching look. Neon clothing often featured geometric shapes, such as triangles or chevrons, and was frequently worn with matching accessories, such as fanny packs or high-top sneakers. This look was particularly popular in the dance and club scenes, with neon accents standing out under black lights and strobe lights.

Clothing Trends from the 80s

If you’re looking to relive the iconic style of the 80s, you can’t miss out on the clothing trends that defined the decade. Here are some of the most popular fashion pieces from the 80s that you should incorporate into your wardrobe today:

The Rise of Leggings

Leggings were a major fashion staple in the 80s, and they continue to be popular today. They were typically worn with oversized tops, like baggy sweaters or long t-shirts. Leggings came in many different patterns and colors, from neon to animal print.

Shell Suits and Tracksuits

Shell suits were often worn as a matching set, with a jacket and pants made from nylon or synthetic materials. Tracksuits, on the other hand, were usually made from cotton or polyester and often had striking stripes or graphics down the sides. Both were worn as casual wear or for athletic purposes, and they remain trendy items to this day.

The Shoulder Pad Craze

Shoulder pads were a big part of women’s fashion in the 80s, which aimed to create a more masculine silhouette by adding volume to the shoulders. These pads were found in many items of clothing, including blazers, sweaters, and dresses.

Denim Jackets

While denim jackets are a staple in fashion all year round, they gained massive popularity in the 80s. They were often worn with the sleeves rolled up, paired with leggings and big hair.

Hairstyles and Accessories from the 80s

The 80s were all about bold fashion choices and hairstyles were no exception. Both women and men rocked daring looks that were a reflection of their larger-than-life personalities. In this section, we are going to take a closer look at the hairstyles and accessories that were popular during this iconic decade.

Oversized Accessories

The 80s were known for their over-the-top fashion sense and accessories were no exception. Big, chunky jewelry made a grand entrance during this era and was seen on everyone from celebrities to the girl next door. Oversized earrings, statement necklaces, and bold bracelets were all in style. Women were also spotted carrying big, slouchy bags that looked like they could fit half their wardrobe inside.

Another popular accessory during the 80s was the belt. Belts were worn with almost anything – dresses, skirts, pants – you name it. Bold and bright colors were favored over more muted tones. And, of course, the bigger the buckle, the better.

Teased Hair and Perms

If there’s one thing that screams “80s fashion trend,” it’s the teased hair look. Women (and some men) teased their hair to extreme heights, creating a voluminous, almost gravity-defying look. This style was achieved by vigorously backcombing the hair at the roots, and then applying hairspray to keep it in place.

Another popular hairstyle during the 80s were perms. Women with straight hair flocked to their hairstylists to get a perm, which would give them curly locks that were on-trend at the time.

Crimped Hair, Headbands, and Scrunchies

Crimped hair was also a big hit during the 80s. It was achieved by using a crimping iron on the hair to create a wavy, textured look. This style was often paired with colorful headbands that were worn across the forehead or pushed back towards the hairline. And let’s not forget about scrunchies! These fabric-covered hair ties were everywhere during the 80s and could be seen in a variety of colors and patterns.

Icons of 80s Fashion for Women

The 80s was a time of great change, both culturally and fashion-wise. Women’s fashion moved away from the elegant and sophisticated looks of the previous decade, towards a bold, strong aesthetic.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana was a fashion icon of the 80s, known for her sophisticated yet daring style. She was often seen wearing designer clothes, including dresses by Versace and Catherine Walker. One of her most iconic looks was a black taffeta gown by Emanuel, which she wore to her first official engagement with Prince Charles.


Madonna was the queen of the 80s, known for her bold, provocative style. She popularized many fashion trends, including fishnet stockings, fingerless gloves, and layered jewelry. One of her most iconic looks was the “Lucky Star” outfit, which featured a black tank top, black leggings, and layered jewelry.

Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper was known for her quirky, colorful style. She was often seen wearing bright colors, animal prints, and layers of mismatched clothing. One of her most iconic looks was a layered skirt made from tulle and netting, which she paired with a cropped jacket and tons of accessories.


Cher was a fashion icon of the 80s, known for her daring, avant-garde style. She was often seen wearing over-the-top outfits, including bodycon dresses, head-to-toe sequins, and dramatic headpieces. One of her most iconic looks was the “If I Could Turn Back Time” outfit, which featured a black leather bodysuit and a sheer skirt.

How to Style 80s Fashion Today

If you’re a fan of the bold and bright style of the 80s, you may be wondering how to incorporate this iconic fashion trend into your wardrobe today. The good news is that you can take inspiration from the era without looking like you’re in a costume or sticking out like a sore thumb.

1. Accessories are Key

One of the easiest ways to add a touch of 80s fashion to your outfit is through accessories. Think chunky, colorful jewelry, statement belts, and vibrant scarves. Don’t be afraid to mix and match different accessories to create a unique look.

2. Stick to Bold Prints and Colors

The 80s were all about bright, bold colors and eye-catching prints. To channel this trend, opt for clothing items with graphic prints, neon hues, or metallic accents. Just remember to balance out a bold piece with more subdued items to keep the look sophisticated.

3. Experiment with Silhouettes

The 80s saw the rise of power dressing and structured silhouettes. However, you don’t have to stick to those exact shapes to channel the era. Instead, try on pieces with exaggerated shoulders, voluminous sleeves, or high-waist pants to add a touch of retro flair to your outfit.

4. Mix Old and New Styles

Don’t be afraid to mix vintage pieces with modern styles to create a unique look. For instance, pair a vintage blazer with your favorite pair of jeans and a statement belt. Or, add a denim jacket to a neon-colored dress for an unexpected twist.

5. Keep It Simple

While the 80s were all about excess and maximalism, you can still channel the trend without going overboard. To avoid looking costume-y, stick to one or two 80s-inspired elements per outfit. For example, pair high-waist pants with a classic blouse rather than a graphic tee and statement jewelry.

80s Fashion Trends Revived on the Runway

The 80s were an iconic era in fashion, from bold and bright colors to oversized silhouettes. Today, luxury designers are bringing back these styles for the modern woman. Let’s take a look at how Balenciaga, Versace, and Chanel have revived these iconic 80s trends.


Balenciaga has been at the forefront of the 80s revival trend with their recent collection featuring styles from the decade. Oversized blazers, wide-legged pants, and neon colors were on full display on the runway. However, don’t expect a carbon copy of the 80s looks; the brand has put a modern spin on the trend with updated cuts and fabrics.


As always, Versace went all out with their 80s-inspired collection. Bold prints, metallic fabrics, and power shoulders were just a few of the styles featured. The brand also added their signature touch through intricate detailing and embellishments. It’s clear that Versace is not afraid to embrace the boldness of the 80s.


Known for their classic and timeless designs, Chanel surprised many with their embrace of the 80s trend. The brand incorporated bright neon colors, chunky jewelry, and even biker shorts into their collection. While Chanel may not be the first to come to mind when thinking of 80s fashion, their take on the trend is both chic and playful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions Answers
Are 80s fashion trends still popular? Yes, 80s fashion trends are making a comeback, and many women are opting for iconic styles like shoulder pads, neon colors, and oversized accessories.
What are some must-have 80s fashion items? Some must-have 80s fashion items include high-waisted jeans, big earrings, leg warmers, and power suits with shoulder pads.
Can 80s fashion be incorporated into modern-day outfits? Absolutely! Modern-day outfits can be infused with 80s fashion by adding statement pieces like bold colored blazers, chunky bracelets, and oversized sunglasses.
What hairstyles were popular in the 80s? Popular 80s hairstyles for women included big hair with lots of hairspray, crimped hair, side ponytails, and feathered hair.
What makeup looks were popular in the 80s? Popular 80s makeup looks included bright neon eyeshadows, bold and dramatic eyeliner, and vibrant lipstick shades like hot pink and coral.
What was the inspiration behind 80s fashion trends? 80s fashion trends were inspired by various factors like music, movies, TV shows, and popular culture icons like Madonna and Princess Diana.

Relive the Iconic Style with 80s Fashion Trends for Women

Thanks for taking the time to read about the resurgence of 80s fashion trends for women. Whether you’re looking to add a retro touch to your wardrobe or simply want to revisit the iconic style, the 80s has something to offer for everyone. From power suits to neon colors and oversized accessories, there are endless ways to embrace the bold and adventurous fashion of the 80s.

Feel free to visit us again for more fashion updates and tips!

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