20 Amazing ‘80s Fashion Trends And Outfit Ideas For Women

Get some inspiration from our list and dress up in retro style to look classy and trendy.

Reviewed by Grace Thomas, Fashion Stylist Grace Thomas Grace ThomasFashion Stylist insta_icon
Written by , MSc Pratima Ati MSc linkedin_icon
Edited by , MA (English Literature) Madhumati Chowdhury MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 7 years
Fact-checked by , BA (English Hons) Pahul Nanra BA (English Hons) linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years

80s fashion trends are, without a doubt, making a remarkable comeback now and for all the right reasons. There is no denying that 80s fashion had that brave, bold, and loud vibe along with everything that fashion always needs to have for real. While they are doing that buzz in the current era, you will not want to miss out throwing that fun ‘80s vibe and make a statement wherever you go. Don’t worry because we are here to help. In this article, we are going to provide you with some really amazing inspiration that you must try. All you need to do is, scroll down and find the one that catches your eye. So, without further ado, go ahead and give this piece on 80s attire a read.

protip_icon Ace The Look
  • Color Scheme: Bold shades like cobalt, fuchsia, magenta, and gold instantly create an ‘80s vibe.
  • Contrast Outfit: Mix sequined dresses with casual pieces like sneakers and a loose overcoat for a daytime ‘80s look.
  • Makeup: Opt for pink, blue, or purple if you want to go for a vibrant look, and go for bronze or tan shades for a muted look. Pair it with bold-colored lips and bright blush.
  • Hairstyle: Achieve big, voluminous hair by styling it with extreme curls or waves, with lots of hairspray.

20 Best ‘80s Fashion Trends Inspired Outfits For Women

1. ‘80s Rock Fashion

80s rock fashion trend
Image: Shutterstock

If you want to transform and teleport yourself to the ‘80s, the easiest way to do so is by perming your hair. Wear some bold prints or colors and put on some knee socks or leg warmers over your pants. It may sound unreal, but wearing underpants over regular pants was a thing for men. But, we’ll act like that’s not true.

2. ‘80s Style LBD

Woman in little black dress
Image: Shutterstock

We all know that the little black dress has been around for a long time now. But do you know how to spin some ‘80s magic on it? By adding a blazer, jacket or coat with shoulder pads. It was a big part of the ‘80s fashion, and a complete rage too. So, it’s no wonder that it’s making a comeback right now. If you want to continue the theme, wear voluptuous colored pants. You can also wear your skinnies if you don’t want to be too “out there.” Or, if the weather doesn’t allow for jackets, you could simply add a blingy belt to your LBD!

3. Florals And Neon Colors

woman wearing a floral shirt with dark neon green pants
Image: Shutterstock

Today, you and I would think 10 times before we put on an 80s outfit like this. But, back in the day, nothing was considered ‘incorrect’ when it came to fashion. Sure, there were rules, but people embraced change and eccentricity much more easily than we do today. So, if you are going to an ‘80s fancy dress or a show, this is a great option too.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Bold and loud was the general theme for ‘80s fashion. You can experiment with as many bright color combinations as you want, and it will fit the theme.

4. ‘80s Workout Fashion

80s workout fashion trend
Image: Instagram @coolbunny107

Even their workout looks were never subtle, were they? Oversized flashy T-shirts and running shorts were quite common back then. If you want to be outlandish and are looking for inspiration, try this.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Don’t forget to add bright head and wrist sweatbands to the sporty mix.

5. Pleated Trousers

Pleated trousers from the 80s fashion trends
Image: Instagram

Trousers, not just jeans, were equally famous in the ‘80s. However, they were mostly high-waisted and tapered. Paired with a crop top, they look absolutely dapper.

6. Printed Blouse

Woman wearing a printed blouse
Image: Shutterstock

The 80s outfits for women had structured attire, printed blouses, and shoulder-padded blazers were all a go-to for women. If you look at it carefully, you’d realize that a lot of it had to do with their love for oversized clothing.

7. High Waisted Denims

High waisted denims from the 80s fashion trends
Image: Instagram

High-waisted anything seems like the fashion mantra of the ‘80s. And it’s all thanks to Tina Turner, who made it a thing. Fully tucking your shirt was also a very common practice.

protip_icon Quick Tip
If your jeans have frayed bottoms or are ripped in places, you have got yourself the perfect 1980s outfit item.

8. ‘80s Fashion Accessories

80s fashion accessories that are trending
Image: Instagram

Women have been on top of their accessory game for the longest time now. The famous big hoops were also an ‘80s thing and just as big a hit back then as they are now. Fanny packs, bandanas, statement jewelry, crystal watches, and socks were all opportunities for women to add bolder elements to their outfits.

9. Blazer With Shoulder Pads

Blazer with shoulder pads from the 80s fashion trends
Image: Instagram @moonsandjunesvintage

A floral blazer, one with shoulder pads, or both combined in one – that’s what you need to look for when you are scouting for an ‘80s formal look.

10. Striped Pants And Ankle Boots

Woman wearing striped pants with ankle boots
Image: Shutterstock

Stretched and cropped trousers, tights, and big printed pants were all bottoms that women in the ‘80s preferred. Boots were another obsession, so I guess it all started there.

11. Members Only Jacket And Bandana

Members only jacket and bandana from the 80s fashion trends
Image: Instagram

‘Members Only’ jackets (that looked like bomber jackets) were considered luxury items back then. Throw one of these over your high-waisted denim shorts or skirt, and secure your hair with a bandana. Wear oversized shades to finish the look.

protip_icon Quick Tip
For those thinking a ‘Members Only’ jacket might be too thick, you can also try pairing windbreakers with bandanas. These lightweight jackets were often made of nylon and came in a variety of colors and designs.

12. Polka Dots Dress And Waist Belt

Polka dots dress and waist belt from the 80s fashion trends
Image: Shutterstock

Polka dot dresses scream retro. If that’s not enough, add a wide belt that cinches at the higher waist and throw in a piece of chunky jewelry too.

13. Denim Jacket

Denim jacket from the 80s fashion trends
Image: Shutterstock

Here’s proof that denim jackets have been a wardrobe staple since forever. The denim jacket might have seen a few iterations to keep up with the trends, but it has and always will be a timeless classic.

14. Vintage Long Skirt

Vintage long skirt from the 80s fashion trends
Image: Instagram

Women from the ‘80s had no qualms about being vibrant and didn’t really worry about being minimalistic as much as we do. Party outfits meant a denim skirt with a colorful structured top or a vintage skirt with equally flashy footwear.

15. Sequined Jumpsuit For Parties

Sequined jumpsuit for parties from the 80s fashion trends
Image: Instagram @nytter_com

Bodysuits, jumpsuits, and overalls were all party wear staples in the ‘80s. If you look carefully, the likes of Beyonce, Rihanna, and Gigi Hadid sport similar dresses, and often have a very ‘80s touch to their outfits. So, if you are headed to an ‘80s theme party, you know your options.

16. Knee High Socks

Knee-high socks from the 80s fashion trends
Image: Instagram

Don’t shy away from wearing knee-high socks if you are trying to bring in a retro element or an 80s themed outfit. We talk about bold dressing today, but I guess they were badass and knew how to do it way better than any of us could ever do now.

17. Leopard Print Fashion

Leopard print from 80s fashion trend
Image: Shutterstock

Most people find it tricky to style animal prints, but they are timeless. Designers played around a lot with these prints on handbags, shoes, dresses, and scarves. Leopard print, zebra print, and snake print were a huge part of 80s clothes.

18. Overalls

Overalls from the 80s fashion trends
Image: Instagram @hailycomet

Overalls are one of the easiest ways to transform a costume into an 80s retro outfit because they were a hit back then and continue to be. You can wear them with an off-shoulder top or a bold high-neck T-shirt if you want to be loud about it.

19. High Waisted Skirts And Ruffle Top

High-waisted skirts and ruffle top from the 80s fashion trends
Image: Instagram @lavenderjosephine

Ruffled crop tops were the ‘80s version of off-shoulders. Pairing with a high-waisted skirt was another discerning choice that time around.

20. Oversized T-Shirts And Denim

Oversized t-shirts and denim from the 80s fashion trends
Image: Instagram @vgoghvintage

Most of us practically live in these, don’t we? But they are not new inventions, and definitely not a millennial thing. Wearing oversized T-shirts and tucking them in denims was a huge part of punk rock culture back in the day.

protip_icon Quick Tip
Not just T-shirts, but pairing oversized sweatshirts with cycling shorts, leggings, mom or acid wash jeans, and overalls will also work perfectly. You can also throw in a leather jacket to complete the look.

Infographic: ’80s-Themed Party Ideas

Now that you know everything about the most amazing ‘1980s fashion trends, how about you host an ‘80s-themed party where you can flaunt your style?

The ‘80s was an era of bright and flashy trends, synth-heavy music, iconic movies, and wild parties. People back then were experimental and bold, and they believed in living life to the fullest. So, channel your inner retro soul, pray to the party gods, and gear up to host the ultimate ‘80s-themed party!

Click on the infographic below to get some inspiration.

80's themed party ideas (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Retro fashion is often seen to be back as the latest ongoing trend. With the above-mentioned ‘80s fashion trends, you would not only stand apart in the crowd, but also get an idea of how to mix and match things from your existing wardrobe to style things differently. Whether it’s the ever trending little black dress, pleated trousers, a pop of neon colors, or high-waisted denims, pair them with the retro sunglasses, waist belt, or bandana to complete the look. Whether it’s an ‘80s theme party or just a regular day, pick an outfit that suits your comfort and style preference to steal the limelight anytime.

Frequently Asked Questions

‘80s Best Fashion Brands?

‘80s fashion brands ranged from Izod sweaters and Nike jerseys to Calvin Klein, Gloria Vanderbilt, The Limited, Forenza, and Espirit, which were all big names back in the ‘80s.

Are Polka Dots ‘80s Fashion Trends?

Polka dots are not particularly from the ‘80s. In fact, they first popped up in the early 19th century in Europe and were picked up by some popular actresses at that time. When American actresses, supermodels, and later Walt Disney used them for his creations, they finally caught up like wildfire. The ‘80s is when they became popular amongst ordinary people while the celebrities took to them much before that. This is one timeless pattern that will stay on until the end of time.

What fads were popular in the ’80s?

Fashion fads such as shoulder pads, parachute pants, fishnet stockings, high waisted jeans were popular in the 80s.

Which women’s shoes were popular in the 80s?

Women’s shoes like canvas flats, wedges, loafers, jelly shoes, converse sneakers, slouchy boots, and bow flats were popular in the 80s.

Were high tops popular in the 80s?

Yes, high tops were a popular part of 80s women’s fashion. They wore high tops sneakers with stirrup pants or miniskirts to level up the style.

Were flip-flops popular in the ’80s?

Yes, flip-flops were popular in the 80s. Bright-colored rubber flip-flops (and later, plastic flip-flops) were popular among beach-goers.

Was big hair popular in the ’80s?

Yes, big hair was a major trend in the 80s. Women opted for blowouts and used large amounts of hairspray to create volume and height in their hair. Popular hairstyles included the bouffant, the perm, and the mullet.

What is power dressing?

Power dressing was a trend that emerged in the 80s, influenced by the rise of women in the workforce. This trend was characterized by sharp tailoring, padded shoulders, and bold colors. Women wore statement suits with high heels and bold jewelry.

Was preppy style popular in the ’80s?

Yes, preppy style was popular in the 80s. This trend was characterized by classic Ivy League School clothing such as polo shirts, button-up blouses, and cardigans. The look was completed with accessories such as pearl necklaces, headbands, and loafers.

Were tracksuits popular in the ’80s?

Tracksuits were a popular trend in the 80s. These matching sets were often made of nylon and were characterized by their bright colors and bold designs. They were often worn with sneakers or Reebok high-tops and a scrunchie in the hair.

Key Takeaways

  • Many of the retro styles are coming back as popular trends with modern-day interpretations.
  • 80s fashion included high-waisted trousers, printed blouses, bright head and wrist sweatbands, ankle boots, Members Only jackets, and polka dotted dresses.
  • Women then preferred bold oversized clothing and paired outfits with big hoops, fanny packs, bandanas, chunky jewelry, and socks. Hence, accessorizing with a belt, bandana, and Ray-Ban sunglasses can be used to bring in the 80s theme to any outfit.
  • Animal prints like leopard and snake prints were also popular for a more daring vibe.

Check out this video to learn about the iconic fashion trends of the 1980s! From shoulder pads to neon colors, get ready to explore the decade’s style.

Grace Thomas

Grace ThomasFashion Stylist

Grace Thomas is the founder and lead stylist of Builtgracefully, a personal wardrobe styling company based in Portland, Oregon. She has over 10 years of experience in the fashion industry in buying, merchandising, and styling. Her services include event styling, closet edits, and personal shopping for men and women.read full bio

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