Eighties Women’s Fashion: A Retro-Wave Comeback

The fashion trends from the 80s are making a comeback in the 21st century. Some of the key features that characterize the fashion of that decade are bold colors, oversized shoulder pads, legwarmers, high-waist jeans, chokers, and neon shades. It seems that the world is ready to embrace the retro-wave of the 80s women’s fashion. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the elements of this style and explore how it has evolved over time.

Eighties Women's Fashion: A Retro-Wave Comeback
Eighties Women’s Fashion: A Retro-Wave Comeback

Decoding Eighties Women’s Fashion

The Eighties is often considered the decade of flashy fashion statements and over-the-top ensembles. This is the era where women’s fashion experienced an extreme transformation in comparison to the previous decade. The eighties women’s fashion was bold, bright, and loud, with diverse influences from various subcultures and even the political climate. Here is everything you need to know about eighties women’s fashion, including iconic trends that differentiate it from the previous decade.

Power Dressing

The corporate culture of the eighties has had a significant influence on women’s fashion. The decade saw the rise of successful women who needed to assert their authority in the male-dominated workplace, and they did so through Power Dressing. Women’s power suits became the cornerstone of eighties fashion and were designed to reflect strength and confidence. These suits were typically tailored, featuring shoulder pads, wide lapels, and nipped waist.

Power dressing didn’t end with suits; the eighties saw women incorporate other masculine pieces into their wardrobes, such as oversized blazers, dress shirts, and fedoras. While these pieces were originally designed for men, they were adapted for women and gave them a new sense of empowerment.

Why is Eighties Fashion Making a Comeback?

Modern-day clothing designers are continuously looking for source material to inspire their unique designs, and eighties women’s fashion is one of the most recent trends that have been picked up on. You might have observed the 80s-style elements on the runway of famous designers like Versace, Marc Jacobs, and Gucci. But why has eighties fashion made this miraculous comeback, and how is it creating a buzz again?

The Era of Glamour and Glitz

During the 1980s, fashion staples such as blazers with bold shoulders, oversized clothing, and wide shoulder pads were at their zenith. The ladies wore their hair in feathered styles or teased up to outrageous heights and accessorized with multi-colored bangles.

The eighties were dominated by famous singular feminine icons such as Madonna, Grace Jones, and also Princess Diana. Their exclusive style defined glamour, wealth, rebelliousness, and avant-garde energy.

The everyday street-style attire favored bold colors, tight leggings, and chunky sneakers. Their unprecedented love for everything big and blingy transmitted their unapologetic willingness to live life at its fullest, something that our current generations yearn for.

The Cycle of Fashion and Nostalgia

The cycle of fashion and nostalgia is another phenomenon stirring up this eighties fashion comeback. It’s been 40 years since the start of the decade, and the period has embarked on a modern nostalgia resurgence. The 80s can now be assessed, and people have begun to look back at it through rose-colored glasses.

The millennials and Gen Z’s have been thirsting for authentic vintage flairs and an era they missed – a time that appeared easy, fun and unbothered. Also, shows like The Crown and Stranger Things are adding fuel to the nostalgia train. The clothes worn by the characters are acting a reminder of the eighties super dress, leaving people yearning for its return.

Furthermore, the cycle of fashion often revolves around 20 to 30-year intervals, and the 80s are due for a revival. It serves as an excellent opportunity for designers to come up with awe-inspiring collections by incorporating those classical styles with a contemporary twist.

How to Incorporate Eighties Fashion into Your Wardrobe?

If you are interested in creating a trendy eighties-inspired look, there are numerous ways to put together outfits and accessorize using eighties fashion trends and style elements. Follow these tips:

1. Experiment with Bold Colors and Prints

The eighties were known for bold and bright colors, such as neon, vibrant pink, and electric blue. Incorporate these colors into your outfits to add an eighties flair. You can also try statement prints, such as animal prints or bold stripes, to add interest to your look. When experimenting with colors and prints, keep in mind that less is more. You don’t want to clash or overwhelm your outfit.

2. Accessorize with Big and Bold Jewelry

The eighties were a time of excess, and this was especially true when it came to jewelry. Statement jewelry was all the rage, including big and bold earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Try adding a chunky necklace or oversized hoops to your outfit for an eighties-inspired accessory. Just be careful not to overdo it, as too much jewelry can overpower an outfit.

3. Incorporate Eighties-Inspired Silhouettes

The eighties were a time of experimentation with fashion, so there are many different silhouettes to choose from when creating an eighties-inspired look. Some popular silhouettes include shoulder pads, oversized blazers, and high-waisted jeans. When incorporating these silhouettes, it’s important to keep in mind your body type and what flatters you best. For example, if you have a pear-shaped body, high-waisted jeans can help elongate your legs and accentuate your waist.

  • Try adding shoulder pads to a blazer or dress for a strong, powerful look.
  • Oversized blazers can be paired with anything from jeans to a dress for a versatile and on-trend look.
  • High-waisted jeans can be flattering to many body types and can be dressed up or down.

Who Are Some Of The Key Fashion Icons of The Eighties?

The 1980s was an era of eclectic fashion that was influenced by many people that had a big impact on the fashion industry. Some of the key fashion icons that defined the look of the eighties are:


Madonna is one of the most iconic fashion influencers of the eighties. Her unique style was a mix of punk, pop, and glam that set her apart from the rest. She was famous for her signature look of bleached hair, lacy tops, layered jewelry, and oversized bows. Madonna made bold fashion choices and inspired many young women to adopt her style.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana was a fashion icon not just in the eighties, but throughout her reign as the Princess of Wales. Her style was timeless, elegant, and chic. She often wore statement pieces like oversized jackets, high-waisted skirts, and colorful headscarves. Her style inspired women all over the world, and she was known for her charity work in addition to her fashion sense.

Cyndi Lauper

Cyndi Lauper was a pop sensation in the early eighties, and her style was just as unique as her music. Her colorful, eclectic style was a mix of punk, new wave, and vintage fashion. She was famous for her wild dyed hair, layered clothing, and bold makeup. Her style was an inspiration to many young women, who sought to emulate her daring fashion sense.

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was a pop icon in the eighties, and his fashion choices were equally iconic. He popularized the ‘Thriller’ jacket, which became a cultural phenomenon, and inspired a generation of young men to wear red leather jackets. He was known for his trademark white glove, fedora hats, and sparkly socks. His fashion sense was a blend of military-inspired style and pop culture, and it had a huge impact on the fashion trends of the eighties.

What’s The Difference Between Eighties Fashion for Women and Men?

Women’s fashion in the 1980s was characterized by bold colors, flashy materials, and extravagant accessories. On the other hand, men’s fashion in the same decade emphasized a more straightforward and masculine look, with neutral colors, sharp lines, and conservative cuts that emphasized structure.

The Styles of Eighties Women’s Fashion

Eighties’ women’s fashion saw various styles ranging from preppy to punk rock. Popular clothing items for women included shoulder pads, crop tops, oversized shirts, high waist jeans, and leggings. Some of the popular fashion icons of the time were Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, and Princess Diana. These women often opted for a lot of accessories, including hoop earrings, layered necklaces, and bangles.

  • Preppy Style –
    This style was heavily inspired by the American Ivy League colleges. It involved brightly colored polo shirts, boat shoes, khaki pants, and plaid skirts.
  • Rock Style –
    Rock style became popular in the late ’80s and included leather jackets, ripped jeans, and fishnet stockings. Black was the go-to color for this style, and accessories included combat boots, studded belts, and bandanas.

The Styles of Eighties Men’s Fashion

Men’s fashion of the eighties was characterized by a more straightforward and masculine look. Suits were the norm, and their cuts emphasized structure and sharp lines. Men’s clothing included neutral colors such as beige, black, gray, and navy.

The power suit was a favorite of men’s fashion in the 1980s, and it was usually comprised of a double-breasted blazer with shoulder pads and high waisted pants with pleats. This style was popularized by movies such as Wall Street, and the trend continued well into the nineties.

Where and How to Shop for Eighties-Inspired Women’s Fashion?

If you’re looking to add some retro-inspired fashion pieces to your wardrobe, there are multiple outlets and e-commerce websites where you can shop for eighties-inspired women’s fashion. Here are some tips on where to shop and what to look for:

Department Stores and Thrift Stores

If you’re looking to shop in-store, department stores like Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale’s typically have a variety of retro-inspired fashion pieces, including crop tops, wide-leg jeans, and oversized blazers. You can also check out thrift stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army for authentic vintage items at a lower cost.

Online Retailers

Online retailers like ASOS, Forever 21, and Amazon also carry retro-inspired fashion pieces, making it easy to shop from the comfort of your own home. Additionally, websites like Etsy and Depop have independent sellers who specialize in vintage clothing and accessories, giving you the opportunity to find unique and rare pieces.

What to Look for While Shopping

  • Shoulder Pads – One of the most iconic eighties fashion trends, shoulder pads can add structure and definition to your outfit.
  • Bright Colors – Think neon greens, pinks, and blues to make a statement.
  • High-Waisted Bottoms – Embrace the eighties silhouette by opting for high-waisted jeans, skirts, or shorts.
  • Graphic Tees – Bold graphic tees with statements like “Frankie Says Relax” or “Choose Life” were an eighties staple.
  • Accessories – Don’t forget to add some accessories to complete your look, like oversized hoop earrings or a scrunchie.
  • Denim Jackets – A denim jacket with distressed details and acid wash can add some edge to your outfit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions Answers
What are some key elements of eighties women’s fashion? Bold colors, power shoulders, wide belts, and statement jewelry were all popular in eighties women’s fashion.
Where can I find authentic vintage eighties clothing? Vintage and thrift stores, online marketplaces like Etsy and eBay, and specialized vintage boutiques are all great places to find authentic vintage eighties clothing.
How can I incorporate eighties fashion into my modern wardrobe? You can incorporate eighties fashion into your modern wardrobe by choosing pieces with eighties-inspired elements, such as bold colors, oversized silhouettes, and statement accessories.
What are some popular eighties-inspired fashion trends right now? Some popular eighties-inspired fashion trends right now include neon colors, oversized blazers, power shoulders, and acid wash denim.
Can eighties fashion work for all body types? Yes, eighties fashion can work for all body types. The key is to choose pieces that flatter your body and make you feel confident and comfortable.
What is the best way to style eighties-inspired fashion? The best way to style eighties-inspired fashion is to mix and match with modern pieces to create a unique and personal look. Don’t be afraid to experiment with bold colors and eclectic accessories.

Thanks for Visiting!

Thank you for taking the time to read about the retro-wave comeback of eighties women’s fashion. We hope you feel inspired to incorporate some of these bold and vibrant styles into your own wardrobe. Check back soon for more fashion tips and trends!

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