Reviving the Retro: Recreate 80s Women Fashion Trends

If you love vintage fashion and have a thing for bold colors, neon hues and statement accessories, then you’ll love recreating the 80s women fashion trends. It was a decade of experimentation, glamor and confidence in fashion, which saw the emergence of many iconic styles that are still celebrated today. From oversized blazers and shoulder pads, to leggings and acid-washed denim, 80s fashion was all about self-expression and individuality. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most popular 80s fashion trends for women that you can revive and rock today!

Reviving the Retro: Recreate 80s Women Fashion Trends
Reviving the Retro: Recreate 80s Women Fashion Trends

The 80s Fashion: A Brief Introduction and History

The 1980s marked an era of flamboyant cultural expressions that are still seen in modern-day fashion trends. People during that time were known to experiment with fashion through a mix of bold colors, excessive makeup, and eccentric clothing. The trend reverberated throughout the 80s, with a focus on individualism and self-expression.

The Rise of 80s Fashion Trends

The rise of 80s fashion was influenced by several factors, including the punk rock and glam metal scenes. Throughout the decade, music icons, including Madonna, Prince, and Michael Jackson, were at the forefront of fashion trends, leading the way for followers worldwide. Fashion styles ranged from oversized blazers, shoulder pads, and baggy pants, to neon colors and animal prints.

Another significant influence on fashion was the growing popularity of television shows such as Miami Vice. The show’s lead actors, Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, became cultural icons, sporting pastel-colored suits, and white linen shirts. Similarly, the popular series, Dynasty, depicted over-the-top extravagance through outrageously large shoulder pads, abundant sequins, and heavily hairsprayed hairstyles.

The 80s was also a time when people started to be more conscious about fitness. This led to a rise in activewear fashion, particularly with the popularity of aerobics classes and the popularity of Jane Fonda workout videos. Brightly colored leggings, sweatbands, and headbands became a staple in many gym-goers’ wardrobes in the 80s.

The significant changes in fashion during the 80s were a reflection of the significant shift in society in general. People were moving away from the conservative fashion styles of the previous decade and embracing a new sense of individuality and freedom.

Getting to Know 80s Fashion Icons and Their Styles

The 80s gave birth to some iconic fashion trends, and much of it was influenced by the pop culture scene. Many people, even today, adore costumes associated with Michael Jackson, Madonna, and Princess Diana, among others. Let’s take a closer look at the fashion styles of these popular 80s icons, their ongoing influence, and how they have been incorporated in modern-day fashion.

Fashion Styles of Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s fashion style was unique and unmatched. His outfits ranged from military-inspired jackets and trousers to studded tops and leather-patch pants. The King of Pop was known for his glittering jackets, sparkling socks, and loafers with white socks. He was a trendsetter, and his influence on the fashion industry continues to this day. Many designers have emulated his style by using elements such as high-top sneakers, oversized jackets, and military-inspired fashion.

  • The iconic military jacket is still in fashion and can be worn over t-shirts or dresses.
  • Michael Jackson’s high-top sneakers have made a comeback in recent years.
  • Black loafers with white socks remain a timeless classic and are popular today.

Fashion Styles of Madonna

Madonna was known for her daring fashion choices. She introduced the world to the “boy toy” brand, ripped jeans, and stockings. Madonna also rocked the hair-wrapped bangles, the fingerless gloves, and the black layered necklaces. These iconic 80s trends are some of the most popular modern trends.

  • High-waisted jeans, denim jackets, and leather jackets are part of Madonna’s fashion legacy.
  • Crop tops, a Madonna favorite, are still in trend today and can be paired with high-waisted pants or skirts.
  • Fishnet stockings, once considered risqué, have made a comeback and can be paired with short hemlines or layered with ripped jeans.

Fashion Styles of Princess Diana

Princess Diana was a fashion icon and was known for her elegant and sophisticated fashion looks. Her outfits featured bold colors and patterns combined with elegant pearls, jewels, and oversized hats. Her love for the original “Lady D” handbag and fairy tale Cinderella ball gowns are hallmarks of 80s fashion. Her refined style and commitment to charity are a lasting legacy that inspires modern fashion.

  • Bold prints like polka dots and floral are part of Princess Diana’s fashion legacy.
  • Pearl jewelry and oversized hats still have an impact in modern fashion today.
  • Cinderella ball gowns are still popular and can be seen at red-carpet events.

    The Art of Accessorizing in 80s Fashion Trends

    The 80s was a decade of bold fashion choices and accessorizing played a huge role in creating iconic looks. It was all about going big and achieving the ultimate statement. Here are some of the must-have accessories of the era:


    Chunky jewelry was a staple in 80s fashion. Oversized earrings, necklaces, and bracelets were worn with pride. Think large gold hoops, chains, and statement pieces with colorful stones. It was a time where “the more, the better” was the mantra.


    The 80s saw the birth of shoulder bags as a fashion statement. Purses were replaced by bigger and more elaborate bags like the fanny pack, messenger bag, and the shoulder bag. Bright colors and bold prints were used to make a statement and match with the rest of the outfit.


    The 80s was a time when shoes went from being purely functional to a fashion statement. High-tops, ankle boots, and trainers were commonly seen. Bright colors like neon green and pink were popular choices. The higher the heel, the better! Platform heels were iconic in the 80s and are still popular today.

    The Bold and Bright Colors of the 80s

    The 1980s was an era that was characterized by bright colors that were impossible to ignore. From neon shades to pastels, fashion was all about the bold and the beautiful. Some of the most iconic shades of the decade include:

    Neon Colors

    Neon colors were big in the 1980s and were considered the epitome of cool. From bright yellows to electric pinks, these colors were favored by everyone from pop icons to Hollywood stars. Incorporating neon into your wardrobe is easy – a bright top or a pair of statement shoes in neon pink or green can add a playful touch to your outfit.


    Pastel colors were another popular trend in the 80s, as people started to explore more muted and softer tones. From baby blues to soft pinks, these colors were a hit, and wore featured on everything from skirts to jumpsuits. Emulating this trend today is easy – try a pastel blazer paired with jeans or a soft-colored skirt with a white blouse.


    Color-blocking was a technique that was widely used in the 80s, where contrasting colors were paired together to create a unique and bold look that was hard to miss. Today, this trend still holds up, and puts the spotlight on the color combination rather than the outfit itself. Pair a bold-colored top with a pair of contrasting pants or a skirt and you will have successfully channeled the 80s trend.


    Fashion in the 80s was all about being bold and daring, and nothing achieved this better than oversized and dramatic accessories. Chunky bracelets, chain necklaces, and big earrings were the norm, and were considered an essential part of any outfit. To incorporate this trend today, try adding a chunky necklace or a pair of oversized earrings to your outfit. For an extra touch of drama, accessorize with a bold-colored bag.

    The Glamorous Counterpart: Evening Wear in the 80s

    During the 80s, women’s evening wear was all about glamour and sophistication. From the bold shoulders to the glitzy accessories, the era’s fashion made a lasting impact on the way women dress up for an evening event.

    Power Suits

    Power dressing for women was a huge trend in the 80s. A well-tailored suit was an essential in every woman’s wardrobe. These suits were inspired by men’s suits but were made more feminine with fitted silhouettes. They exuded confidence and showed that women could be just as powerful and assertive as men.

    Most power suits in the 80s were made in bold colors and patterns. They were usually paired with a blouse with a large bow or a silk scarf to add a touch of femininity. Accessories such as statement earrings and a bold belt completed the look.

    Glamorous Gowns

    If there’s one thing that the 80s was known for, it was the extravagant and eye-catching evening gowns. Women during this time opted for dresses that were full of glitz, glitter, and sparkle.

    The most popular silhouette was the ball gown, which was usually worn with a tulle petticoat underneath. These dresses were often made of luxurious fabrics such as satin, velvet, and silk. Dresses with a sweetheart neckline and a full skirt were also quite popular.

    When it came to colors, the 80s was all about bold and bright hues. Bright pinks, blues, and greens were popular choices, as were metallic fabrics such as gold and silver. To complete the look, women usually wore long gloves and statement jewelry.

    Bold Accessories

    When it came to accessorizing, bigger was always better during the 80s. Women during this time didn’t shy away from making a statement with their jewelry.

    Chunky necklaces, oversized earrings, and large cocktail rings were popular accessories during the 80s. Belts were also a common accessory and were worn over dresses, blouses, and even jackets. Belts with gold accents were particularly popular. Shoes with high heels and a glitzy design completed the look.

    The Rise of Athleisure and Sportswear in the 80s

    The 80s was not just about flashy accessories and bold colors. It was the dawn of the athleisure and sportswear era. The trend started with the explosion of fitness culture in the early 80s. More women were into fitness and became more comfortable with working out in public gyms. Suddenly, activewear became a fashion statement, and the lines between functional clothing and trendy wear blurred.

    The Must-Have Pieces of Athleisure and Sportswear in the 80s

    The most iconic athleisure and sportswear pieces from the 80s were tracksuits and leggings. Tracksuits were originally designed for athletes to wear before and after their events. But thanks to TV shows like “The Cosby Show” and “Miami Vice,” tracksuits became a mainstream fashion trend. Another popular sportswear item was leggings, which were worn as pants. This may sound strange today, but back then, it was a common sight in gyms and on the streets.

    • The tracksuit
      • Complete with a zip-up jacket and matching pants, the tracksuit was originally made for athletics before becoming a fashion trend. Wear yours with an undershirt or a crop top, add a pair of statement sneakers and some oversized sunglasses and go out to a sports bar with your friends.
    • The leggings
      • Go for an 80s look with a colorful second skin. Wear them underneath oversized sweatshirts or T-shirts and finish off with a pair of white or colorful sneakers.

    How to Modernize Athleisure and Sportswear Look

    While the 80s athleisure and sportswear look was all about colors and bold patterns, you can modernize this trend to appear both stylish and effortless. Opt for simpler and more streamlined pieces that are versatile and can easily complement your everyday wardrobe.

    1. The jumpsuit
      • A modern interpretation of the classic tracksuit, jumpsuits come in different styles to fit every body shape. For a classic 80s look, choose a bright-colored jumpsuit or one with color-block panels and pair it with simple white sneakers or retro-style sneakers.
    2. The bike shorts
      • Bike shorts were a big hit in the 80s, and they are not going anywhere. They are perfect for workouts but have been modernized and paired with statement blazers and shirts to create a vibe suitable for street style. Add cycling shorts to your wardrobe as a simple, versatile piece you can wear any way you please.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Questions Answers
    What are some popular 80s women fashion trends? Popular 80s women fashion trends include neon colors, spandex leggings, shoulder pads, high-waisted jeans, graphic tees, oversized blazers, scrunchies, leather jackets, and denim jackets.
    What accessories were popular in the 80s? Popular accessories in the 80s included hoop earrings, layered necklaces, jelly bracelets, and headbands.
    Is it possible to recreate 80s women fashion trends? Yes, it is possible to recreate 80s women fashion trends by incorporating vintage and modern pieces, using bright and bold colors, and experimenting with different textures and fabrics.
    What hairstyles were popular in the 80s? Popular hairstyles in the 80s included big hair, side ponytails, crimped and teased hair, and perms.
    What shoes were popular in the 80s? Popular shoes in the 80s included high-top sneakers, pumps, ankle boots, and jelly shoes.
    Where can I find vintage 80s clothing? You can find vintage 80s clothing at thrift stores, consignment shops, and online vintage stores like Etsy and Depop.

    Thanks for reading, and bring the retro vibe back!

    Reviving the 80s women fashion trends is a game of boldness, creativity, and experimentation. It’s about taking inspiration from the past and making it work for the present. By incorporating neon colors, shoulder pads, leggings, or oversized blazers, you can create a unique and fashionable look that will make you stand out. Remember to embrace the 80s vibe and make it your own. Thank you for reading, and feel free to visit our website again later for more fashion tips and inspiration!

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