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The Decade’s Most Memorable Fashion Moments from the ’80s
Over the years, Teeanime have discovered that trends always come back. Designers are definitely borrowing from the past, from the early aughts’ comeback to the ’70s’ enduring influence. Grace Jones, Madonna, and Bianca Jagger shaped current fashion in the 1980s. Biker shorts, bold-shoulder jackets, and taffeta eveningwear are still popular from the 1980s. The early 2010s’ ’80s influences revived strong color stories and playful dressing in a post-Phoebe Philo era of neutral palettes and basic shapes.
The boldness of the era has always inspired Brynn Jones, proprietor of Aralda Vintage in Los Angeles, where actors like Alexa Demie and Taylor Russell shop for archival designer discoveries. In an interview, she says she appreciates “the rigid silhouettes, abstract and whimsical shapes,” and “the unapologetic splendor and all of the statement items meant to command the room.” Jones adores the period’s accessories, like many of us. “Hats! Earrings! Brooches! Belts! Gloves! “says. “I like Christian Lacroix, Yves Saint Laurent, and Karl Lagerfeld accessories from that time. Kenzo, Issey Miyake, and Alain Mikli eyewear.”
Jones loves Thierry Mugler’s collections. “He governed the 80s. His 1984 autumn show is fashion fantasy. Pat Cleveland dropped from the ceiling in a shimmering garment like an angel. She played the Virgin Mary in that musical while pregnant.” She loves the Issey Miyake autumn 1981 collection, especially the blue plastic bodice (which she actually has in her personal collection). “Anything Grace Jones ever wore” and “the outfits that Azzedine Alaïa fashioned for her character May Day in the 1985 Bond movie A View to Kill” are her favorite 1980s fashion pop culture moments.
Jones recommends Claude Montana’s work for individuals interested in ’80s fashion history beyond the mainstream. “His designs represent the sleek, powerful, and aspirational ’80s lady, and I think he’s underestimated.” “Uncelebrated” is ’80s Kenzo. We also recommend reliving some of the decade’s biggest style moments and browsing our well-curated selection of important pieces to recreate the ’80s look.
1980: Leather Dresses
Amanda Lear, a French singer and model, is dressed in an asymmetric leather outfit with fishnet tights. A lovely finishing touch are the futuristic sunglasses with a faint motorsports-inspired edge. Those wishing to recreate the look could look at Rick Owens.
1980: Cowboy Boots
Stylish Studio 54 attendees confirmed that free-flowing dresses and skirts paired with matching cowboy boots are timeless wardrobe combinations. Ganni’s ultra-trendy cowboy boots with a nostalgic vibe are a great place to start.
1980: Punk Embellishments
Punk rock thrived in London, and the go-to accessories were fishnets, chains, and studs. The outfits are classic ’80s, worn with leather separates and casual silhouettes. Simply add industrial-style jewelry from companies like Justine Clenquet, Martine Ali, or Chopova Lowena to bring the look up to date.
1980: Leather Blazers
Beverly Johnson and Italian apparel designer Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo were photographed in stylish ensembles outside of Studio 54. Johnson is dressed in a double-breasted leather blazer and glittering gold trousers.
1980: Lace Dresses
Forever style muse Bianca Jagger arrives at A-list hot spot Studio 54 wearing a frilly lace dress. Trimmed with lace around the edges, the ’80s dress has the versatility to be dressed up and down with ease. Look to vintage-informed brands such as Ciao Lucia, Mirror Palais, or Charo Ruiz Ibiza to mirror the effortlessly chic look. Or splurge on a macramé runway piece by Valentino.
1981: Disco Tops
Heather Locklear poses in a draped disco top and high-waisted blue jeans for a fashion image shoot. Paco Rabanne’s signature sequin and chain mail pieces have attracted the eye of the younger generation, which makes sense given the growth of the party-girl style.
1981: High-Cut One-Pieces
Chancela Almonsour, Sara Wills, and Shae Huckaby look stunning with bamboo hoop earrings and high-cut one-pieces onstage. This summer, Isa Boulder’s iconic square-neck swimsuit will give you the leggy style popularized in the 1980s while providing a super-sexy alternative to the standard bikini.
1982: Checked Blazers
Brooke Shields demonstrates clever layering in a turtleneck and checked blazer. The model-turned-actress completes the style with a plaid button shirt underneath, tucked into denim, creating a professional ’80s look appropriate for the office and beyond.
1982: Country Club Aesthetic
At the Royal Ascot, Jerry Hall and Marie Helvin wore black and white costumes. The classic country club look was popularized in the 1980s by the likes of Karyn Parson’s character Hilary Banks on the popular television show at the time The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
1983: Skinny Wrap Belts
In the early 1980s, Princess Diana wears a patterned top with puff sleeves and a fitted pencil skirt to a polo match. A slim wrap belt by the era’s style hero ties the look together.
1983: Pattern Clashing
Cyndi Lauper was the queen of bright ’80s glam. Her signature aesthetic is peculiar to the era, with colorful designs, bright red hair, and always-edgy accessories. For a similar look, invest in Chopova Lowena’s favored skirts among fashion insiders.
1983: Bright Hues
As seen on the runways of top-tier designers like Halston, bright colors were a significant component of ’80s fashion. For spring/summer ’84, the brand sent a model down the runway wearing a draped gown with wraps. Today, customers can look to Christopher John Rogers for stunning silk dresses in vibrant colors.
1983: High-Waisted Denim
Pat Cleveland dressed down in a Mickey Mouse T-shirt and high-waisted trousers, with a deep red lip, smooth hairstyle, and cable-knit pullover. The classic outfit combination is simple to recreate with items you already own. Those seeking a more opulent style can’t go wrong with Khaite’s famous denim.
1984: Bustier Tops Worn à la Madonna
Madonna donned her classic white “Boy Toy” ensemble for her “Like a Virgin” performance at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards. One of the era’s most recognizable styles, it’s simple to recreate with a tulle skirt and bustier top. For a more understated look, wear the corset with jeans and, of course, hefty gold jewelry.
1985: D-Shape Frame Sunglasses
Grace Jones, a Jamaican triple threat and ’80s style icon, wears a belted blazer with a turtleneck and scarf draped over her head. The gold accessories and blacked-out sunglasses with a D-shape frame completed the look nicely.
1986: Chunky Pearls
In a Dynasty promotional photo, Linda Evans, Diahann Carroll, and Joan Collins wear shoulder-pad gowns and fur jackets. With richness as the show’s core word, lovers of their style can pull off the look with fitted turtleneck dresses and strings of pearls or gold-link chain belts.
1986: Chain-Link Belts
On the Chanel runway in Paris, Inès de la Fressange wore an embellished little black dress. Chain-link belts have seen a revival in recent seasons, demonstrating that the surprise wardrobe piece is here to stay decades later.
Opulence and the ’80s go hand in hand, as evidenced by Naomi Campbell going down the YSL runway in a tufted gold cocktail gown. The designer put the attention on the dress by giving Campbell a smooth hairdo and a dramatic red lip while she was adorned with equally spectacular jewelry.
1987: Pouf Details
Fitted frocks with exaggerated proportions are probably one of the first things that come to mind when you think of ’80s fashion for women. Sure enough, here’s a model in a short black dress with pink pouf embellishment at Yves Saint Laurent’s Paris Fashion Week catwalk presentation in 1987.
1988: Oversized Leather Motorcycle Jackets
Cindy Crawford attends an event in New York City wearing an oversized leather motorbike jacket. The supermodel, who is also wearing a short black dress, beachy waves, and a strong red lip, strikes a balance between punk rock and ’80s elegant.
1988: Garter Details
At the Jean Paul Gaultier spring 1989 fashion show, a model wears a silk bustier and crinoline. One peek at the market indicates that the undergarment trend is still going strong. Choose a corset with coned cups or a lace-up garter-style skirt from Australian label Dion Lee to complete the ensemble.