1980s in fashion

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Amongst women large hair-dos and puffed-up styles typified the decade.[1] (Justine Bateman, 1987).
The short, tight spandex mini skirts were a popular fashion item for young women in the second half of the 1980s

The 1980s fashion had heavy emphasis on expensive dressing and fashion accessories. Apparels tend to be overly bright and vivid in appearance. Women expressed an image of wealth and success through shiny costume jewelry like large faux-gold earrings, pearl necklaces and clothing covered with sequins and diamante. Punk fashion began as a reaction against both the hippie movement of the past decades and the materialist values of the current decade.[2]

Hair in the 1980s was generally big, curly, bouffant and heavily styled.[3] This was in contrast to the long and straight style worn in the 1970s. Television shows such as Dynasty helped popularize the high volume bouffant and glamorous image associated with it.[4][5] Women from the 1980s wore a heavy and bright makeup. Everyday fashion makeup in the '80s comprised having light-colored lips, dark and thick eyelashes, pink and light blue blusher.[6][7]

The top fashion models of the 1980s were Brooke Shields, Christie Brinkley, Joan Severance, Kim Alexis, Carol Alt, Renée Simonsen, Kelly Emberg, Ines de la Fressange, Tatjana Patitz, Elle Macpherson and Paulina Porizkova.

Women's Fashion[edit]

Early 1980s (1980–1983)[edit]

Minimalism[edit]

  • The early 1980s were very different from the rest of the decade, with late 1970s carryovers. The early 1980s saw a minimalist approach to fashion, with accessories less of an importance, and practicality was considered just as much as aesthetics. Clothing colors were subdued, made in quiet, basic colors such as varying shades brown, tan, and orange.[8]
  • Clothing fashionable in the early 1980s consisted of both unisex and gender-based attire. Widespread fashions for women in the early 1980s included sweaters (including turtleneck, crew neck, and v-neck), fur-lined puffer jackets, tunics, faux-fur coats, velvet blazers,[8] crop tops, tube tops, knee-length skirts (although there was no prescribed length as designers opted for choice), loose, flowy, knee-length dresses (with high-cut and low-cut necklines, varying sleeve lengths, and made in a variety of fabrics including cotton, silk, satin, and polyester), high-waisted loose pants, embroidered jeans, leather pants, designer jeans,[9][10] tracksuits (especially ones made in velour),[11] and from 1983 onwards, slim straight jeans with zippers at the ankle.[8] Women's pants in general were worn with long inseams in the early 1980s, a style carried over from the 1970s.
  • Early 1980s accessories for women were mostly mid and late 1970s carryovers. This included thin belts, knee-high boots with thick kitten heels, sneakers, jelly shoes (a new trend at the time),[12] mules, square-toed shoes and boots, jelly bracelets (inspired by Madonna in 1983),[13] round-toe shoes and boots, shoes with thick heels, small, thin necklaces (in a variety of materials, such as gold and pearls), and small watches.[8]

Professional Fashion[edit]

  • In the 1970s, more women were joining the work force, and by the early 1980s women were no longer considered unusual. As a way to proclaim themselves as equals in the job market, women started to dress more seriously at work. Popular clothes for women in the job market include knee-length skirts, wide-legged slacks, a matching blazer, and a blouse of a different color. Kitten-heeled shoes were often worn.[8]

Mid 1980s (1984–1986)[edit]

Young woman, mid 1980s, wearing a denim mini skirt with two thin belts.
Madonna was a major fashion influence on young girls and women around the world.

Aerobics Craze[edit]

  • General women's streetwear worn in the mid 1980s included ripped sweatshirts,[14] long wool coats, long flared skirts, slim miniskirts, slightly tapered pants as well as stirrup ones, designer jeans,[9] spandex cycling shorts,[15] extremely long and bulky sweaters, jumpsuits, pastel colors, leather trenchcoats, fur coats, extremely large scarves, beanies, leather gloves, dresses worn with wide or thin belts,
  • Athletic accessories were a massive trend in the mid 1980s, boosted by the aerobics craze. This included leg warmers,[16] Women's shoes of the mid 1980s included strappy sandals, kitten-heeled sandals, pumps, and keds.[8]
  • With the arrival of the aerobics craze of the mid 1980s the classic leotard moved from the dance floor to the gym, accompanied by matching tights, legwarmers, and elastic headbands.
  • In the 1980s, rising pop star Madonna proved to be very influential to female fashions. She first emerged on the dance music scene with her "street urchin" look consisting of short skirts worn over leggings, necklaces, rubber bracelets, fishnet gloves, hairbows, long layered strings of beads, bleached, untidy hair with dark roots, headbands, and lace ribbons. In her "Like a Virgin" phase, millions of young girls around the world emulated her fashion example that included brassieres worn as outerwear, huge crucifix jewelry, lace gloves, tulle skirts, and boytoy belts.
  • Gloves, sometimes lace or fingerless, were popularized by Madonna, as well as fishnet stockings and layers of beaded necklaces. Short, tight Lycra or leather miniskirts and tubular dresses were also worn, as were cropped, bolero-style jackets. Black was the preferred color. Another club fashion for women was lingerie as outerwear. Prior to the mid-1980s it had been taboo to show a slip or a bra strap in public. A visible undergarment had been a sign of social ineptness. In the new fad's most extreme forms, young women would forgo conventional outer-garments for vintage-style bustiers with lacy slips and several large crucifixes. This was both an assertion of sexual freedom and a conscious rejection of prevailing androgynous fashions.

Power Dressing[edit]

President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, are seen with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
  • The television shows Dallas and, in particular, Dynasty had an impact in the area of the increasingly oversized shoulder pads. Shoulder pads, popularized by Joan Collins and Linda Evans from the soap opera Dynasty were popular from the mid 1980s to the early 1990s. Dallas, however, promoted displays of wealth involving jewelry and sparkling clothing.[17] Meanwhile women's fashion and business shoes revisited the pointed toes and spiked heels that were popular in the 1950s and early 1960s. Some stores stocked canvas or satin covered fashion shoes in white and dyed them to the customer's preferred color, preferably bright colors.

Late 1980s (1987–1989)[edit]

Consumer-Friendly Fashions[edit]

  • From 1987 onwards, the short skirt was the only supported length by fashion designers. Although skirts of any length were acceptable to wear in the years before, all attention was given to the short skirt, especially among teenage girls and young women. Shoulder pads became increasingly smaller. [8] These trends continued into the early 1990s.
  • Women's apparel in the late 1980s included jackets (both cropped and long), coats (both cloth and fake fur), reversible inside-out coats (leather on one side, fake fur on the other), rugby sweatshirts,[8] sweater dresses, tafetta and pouf dresses, baby doll dresses, jumpsuits, miniskirts, stretch pants, tapered pants, happy pants (homemade pants made in bold designs with bright colors), and opaque tights.[8] Desirable colors included neon hues, plum, gold, and bright wines.
  • Accessories included bright-colored shoes with thin heels, berets, lacy gloves, beaded necklaces, and plastic bracelets.[8]

Men's Fashion[edit]

Early 1980s (1980–1983)[edit]

Athletic Clothing[edit]

  • In the early 1980s, fashion had carried onward from the late 1970s. Athletic clothes were more popular than jeans during this period and was more subdued in color. Popular colors were black, white, indigo, forest green, burgundy, and different shades of browns, tans, and oranges. Velour, velvet, and polyester were popular fabrics used on clothes, especially tops, such as button-ups and v-neck shirts. Looser pants remained popular during this time, being fairly wide but straight, and tighter shirts were especially favored. The general public at this time had desired to wear low maintenance clothing with more basic colors, as the global recession going on at the time had kept extravagant clothes out of reach.[8]
  • Popular clothing in the early 1980s worn by men include tracksuits,[18] v-neck sweaters, polyester and velour polo-neck shirts, sports jerseys, straight-leg jeans, polyester button-ups, cowboy boots,[19] beanies, and hoodies. Around this time it became acceptable for men to wear sports coats and slacks to places that previously required a suit.[8] In the UK, children's pants remained flared, but only slightly.[11]

Preppy Look[edit]

  • In response to the punk fashion of the mid-late 1970s,[10] there was a throwback to the late 1950s Ivy League style. This revival came to be definitively summarized in an enormously popular paperback released in 1980: The Official Preppy Handbook. Popular preppy clothing for men included Oxford shirts, turtlenecks, polo shirts with popped collars,[10] khaki slacks, argyle socks, dress pants, suspenders (or alternatively, skinny ties in leather or bold patterns), pine-striped linen suits, corduroy, and plaid sweaters that were often worn tied around the shoulders.[20]

Mid 1980s (1984–1986)[edit]

Miami Vice/Magnum P.I. Look and Michael Jackson's Influence[edit]

  • In the mid 1980s, popular trends included wool sportcoats, Levi 501s, Hawaiian shirts, shellsuits, hand-knit sweaters, sports shirts and hoodies, flannel shirts, reversible flannel vests and jackets with the insides quilted, nylon jackets, gold rings, spandex cycling shorts,[15] cowboy boots,[19] and khaki pants with jagged seams.[8]
  • The mid 1980s brought an explosion of colorful styles in men's clothing, prompted by television series such as Miami Vice and Magnum, P.I.. This resulted in trends such as t-shirts underneath expensive suit jackets with broad, padded shoulders, hawaiian shirts (complemented with sport coats, often with top-stitched lapels for a "custom-tailored" look), and in counterpoint to the bright shirt, jackets were often gray, tan, rust or white. Easy-care micro-suede and corduroy jackets became popular choices, especially those with a Western style.
  • Michael Jackson was also a big influence of teenage boys' and young mens' fashions, such as matching red/black leather pants and jackets, white gloves, sunglasses and oversized, slouch shouldered faded leather jackets with puffy sleeves.

Power Dressing[edit]

1940s inspired pinstripe suit with large shoulder pads and double breasted fastening. These "power suits" were fashionable in Britain from the early 1980s until the late 1990s.
  • Men's business attire saw a return of pinstripes for the first time since the 1970s. The new pinstripes were much wider than in 1930s and 1940s suits but were similar to the 1970s styles. Three-piece suits began their decline in the early 1980s and lapels on suits became very narrow, akin to that of the early 1960s. While vests in the 1970s had commonly been worn high with six or five buttons, those made in the early 1980s often had only four buttons and were made to be worn low.[21] These suits were made in the 1980s by designers like Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, and Anne Klein.[22]

Late 1980s (1987–1989)[edit]

Doc Martens[edit]

  • Doc Martens were dark shoes or boots with air-cushioned soles that were worn by both sexes in the 1980s. They were an essential fashion accessory for the skinhead and punk subcultures in the United Kingdom. Sometimes Doc Martens were paired with miniskirts or full, Laura Ashley- style dresses.[23] They were an important feature of the post-punk 1980s Gothic look which featured long, back-combed hair, pale skin, dark eyeshadow, eyeliner, and lipstick, black nail varnish, spiked bracelets and dog-collars, black clothing, often made of gabardine, leather or velvet trimmed in lace or fishnet material. Corsets were often worn by girls. British bands which inspired the gothic trend include The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and The Cult. This trend would resurge in the 1990s.

Jewelry[edit]

  • Earrings became a mainstream fashion for male teenagers. Jelly or thin metal bracelets (also known as bangles) were very popular in the 1980s, and would be worn in mass quantities on one's wrist. Designer jewellery, such as diamonds and pearls were popular among many women, not only for beauty, but as symbols of wealth and power.

Watches[edit]

  • At the beginning of the decade, digital watches with metal bands were the dominant fashion. They remained popular but lost some of their status in later years. Newer digital watches with built-in calculators and primitive data organizers were strictly for gadget geeks. Adult professionals returned to dial watches by mid-decade. Leather straps returned as an option. By late in the decade some watch faces had returned to Roman numerals. In contrast, one ultramodern status symbol was the Movado museum watch. It featured a sleek design with a single large dot at twelve o'clock. The Tank watch by Cartier was a fashion icon that was revived and frequently seen on Cartier advertisements in print. Rolex watches were prominently seen on the television show Miami Vice. Teen culture preferred vibrant plastic Swatch watches. These first appeared in Europe and reached North America by the middle of the decade. Young people would often wear two or three of these watches on the same arm.

Eyewear[edit]

  • In the first half of the 1980s, glasses with large, plastic frames were in fashion for both men and women. Small metal framed eyeglasses made a return to fashion in 1984 and 1985, and in the late 1980s, glasses with tortoise-shell coloring became popular. These were smaller and rounder than the type that was popular earlier in the decade. Throughout the 1980s, Ray-Ban Wayfarer were extremely popular, as worn by Tom Cruise in the 1983 movie Risky Business.
  • Miami Vice, in particular Sonny Crockett played by Don Johnson, boosted Ray-Ban's popularity by wearing a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarer (Model L2052, Mock Tortoise),[24] which increased sales of Ray Bans to 720,000 units in 1984.[25]

Parachute pants[edit]

Main article: Parachute pants

Parachute pants are a style of trousers characterised by the use of ripstop nylon or extremely baggy cuts. In the original tight-fitting, extraneously zippered style of the late 1970s and early 1980s, "parachute" referred to the pants' synthetic nylon material. In the later 1980s, "parachute" may have referred to the extreme bagginess of the pant. These are also referred to as "Hammer" pants, due to rapper MC Hammer's signature style. Hammer pants differ from the parachute pants of the 1970s and early 1980s. They are typically worn as menswear and are often brightly colored. Parachute pants became a fad in US culture in the 1980s as part of an increased cultural appropriation of breakdancing.[26]

Subcultures of the 1980s[edit]

English singer Siouxsie Sioux in 1986 wearing black clothing, back-combed hair, and heavy black eyeliner. She was an inspiration for the gothic fashion trend that started in the early 1980s

Heavy Metal style[edit]

Main article: Heavy Metal fashion
  • In the first half of the 1980s, long hair, leather rocker jackets (biker jackets) or cut-off denim jackets, tight worn-out jeans, and white, high trainers (sneakers) and badges with logos of favourite metal bands were popular among metalheads, and musicians of heavy metal and speed metal bands. In the second half of the 1980s, this clothing style was popular among musicians and fans of more extreme and niche (often underground) metal bands - thrash metal, crossover thrash, early black metal, and early death metal bands. It was popular particularly in European nations, but it was also popular in the USA, Canada, and Brazil.
  • By the late 1980s, acid-washed jeans and denim jackets had become popular with both sexes. Acid washing is the process of chemically bleaching the denim, breaking down the fiber of material and forcing the dye to fade, thus leaving undertones of the original dye evidenced by pale white streaks or spots on the material. This became associated with the heavy metal trend (called "hair metal" in later decades for the large frizzy coiffures worn by both male and female enthusiasts).
  • Severely bleached and ripped jeans, either manufactured purposely or done by hand, become a popular fashion trend, being a main component of glam metal music acts such as Poison.

Punk style[edit]

Wendy Wu, lead singer of the British new-wave band, The Photos in 1980.
Main article: Punk fashion
  • Throughout the 1980s, the punk style was popular among people aged 18-22. Characterized by multi-colored mohawks, ripped skinny jeans, worn band tee-shirts, and jean or leather jackets, it was practiced by people who listened to punk music such as The Sex Pistols and later, (despite the band's self-pro-claimed rock'n'roll image) Guns N' Roses. Usually the jean jackets (which became an identity of the group) were adorned by safety pins, buttons, patches, and several other pieces of music or cultural memorabilia. Often people of the punk style would take random bits of fabric and attach them with safety pins. This soon became a popular way of attaching clothing, and now in young women it is known as "pin shirts". The shirts are essentially rectangular pieces of fabric that are pinned on one side with safety pins. In the 1980s, a dressed down look (e.g. Buzzed hair, T-shirts, Jeans and button up shirts) was also very popular with people involved in punk rock. More specifically the hardcore punk scene. Circle Jerk's frontman Keith Morris describes it as "Some of those punk rock kids they interviewed were a little over the top, but the thing historically is - the L.A./Hollywood punk scene was basically based on English fashion. But we had nothing to do with that. Black flag and the Circle Jerks were so far from that. We looked like the kid who worked at the gas station or submarine shop." [27] Punk dress was not simply a fashion statement. It epitomized a way of thinking and seeing oneself as an individual cultural producer and consumer. In this way, punk style led many people to ask further questions about their culture and their politics.[28]

Rockabilly[edit]

Main article: Neo-Rockabilly

Rap and hip-hop[edit]

Main article: Hip-hop fashion
  • Athletic shoes had been worn as casual wear before, but for the first time they became a high-priced fashion item. Converse shoes were popular in the first half of the 1980s. Air Jordan basketball shoes (named for basketball player Michael Jordan) made their debut in 1984. The NBA banned these shoes from games when they debuted, which increased their cachet. Soon other manufacturers introduced premium athletic shoes. Adidas sneakers took the decade by storm, popular amongst teenagers and young men; the Adidas sneaker was popularized by the Run-D.M.C. song My Adidas. Nike had a similar share of the market with Air Max and similar shoes. High-tops, especially of white or black leather, became popular. In the early 1980s, long white athletic socks, often calf-high or knee-high, were worn with sneakers. As the decade progressed, socks trended shorter, eventually topping out just above the height of the shoe.
  • Ensembles featuring the colors of Africa (green, yellow and red) became wildly popular among African Americans, as did kente cloth. In the urban hip-hop communities, sneakers were usually worn unlaced and with a large amount of gold jewelry as well as headwraps.

Preppy[edit]

  • Conservative teenagers, especially in the United States wore a style that came to be known as "preppy." Preppy fashions are associated with classic and conservative style of dressing and clothing brands such as Izod Lacoste, Brooks Brothers, and Polo Ralph Lauren . An example of preppy attire would be a button-down Oxford cloth shirt, cuffed khakis, and loafers or Boat shoes. Also popular were argyle sweaters and vests. It was also considered "preppy" to wear a sweater tied loosely around the shoulders.In the 1980s, preppy fashions featured a lot of pastels and polo shirts with designer logos.The trend continues till this day. But with a more exclusive crowd, also a new brands have been added called J.Crew, Vineyard Vines and Keds were also worn by the preppy group.}

Hairstyles[edit]

Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins in 1986.

The sideburns of the 1960s and 1970s saw a massive decline in fashion in the late 1970s. Big and eccentric hair styles were popularized by film and music stars, in particular among teenagers. It was these hairstyles that the 1980s became iconic for. Although straight hair was the norm at the beginning of the decade, as many late 1970s styles were still relevant, by around 1983 the perm had come into fashion.

This was in large part due to many movies released at the time, as well as possibly being a rebellious movement against the 1970s. There was generally an excessive amount of mousse used in styling an individual's hair which resulted in a desired shiny look and greater volume, some mousse even contained glitter. Hairsprays such as AquaNet were also used in excess such as hard rock band Poison. The Mullet existed in several different styles, all characterized by hair short on the sides and long in the back.

Mullets were popular in suburban and rural areas among working class men. This contrasted with a conservative look favored by business professionals, with neatly groomed short hair for men and sleekly straight hair for women.[citation needed]

Trends in men's facial hair included designer stubble.

Image gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Browne, Ray B.; Browne, Pat (15 June 2001). The Guide to United States Popular Culture. Popular Press. pp. 357–. ISBN 978-0-87972-821-2. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  2. ^ Lauraine Leblanc. Pretty in Punk: Girls' Gender Resistance in a Boys' Subculture. Rutgers University Press, 1999. P. 52
  3. ^ "Return of the perm: Big hair leads the Eighties' comeback". London: Daily Mail. 2 March 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Brubaker, Ken (9 October 2003). Monster Trucks. MotorBooks International. p. 64. ISBN 978-0-7603-1544-6. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Welters, Linda; Cunningham, Patricia A. (20 May 2005). Twentieth-Century American Fashion. Berg. pp. 223, 337. ISBN 978-1-84520-073-2. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Bateman, Antony; Benyahia, Sarah Casey Casey; Mortimer, Claire (23 May 2012). AS Media Studies: The Essential Introduction for WJEC. Routledge. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-415-61334-7. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Steinberg, Shirley R.; Kehler, Michael; Cornish, Lindsay (17 June 2010). Boy Culture: An Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 95. ISBN 978-0-313-35080-1. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Fashion in the 1980s". Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  9. ^ a b "Designer Jeans". Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  10. ^ a b c "VH1 - I Love The 80s - 1980". Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  11. ^ a b "Anyone for a Noel Edmonds' T-shirt or Lisa Faulkner's LBD? Changing faces and fashions from 100 years of Kays catalogue". Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  12. ^ Alexander, Ron (1980-06-01). "'Jelly Shoes' In Brash Colors". The New York Times.  (complete text)
  13. ^ "Sex Bracelets". Retrieved 9 June 2014. 
  14. ^ "Sweatshirts". Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "Spandex". Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  16. ^ "Leg Warmers". Retrieved 07 July 2014. 
  17. ^ "Fashion in the 1980s, Social and cultural features of the 1980s, Australia's social and cultural history in the post-war period, History Year 9, NSW | Online Education Home Schooling Skwirk Australia". Skwirk.com.au. 1999-03-26. Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  18. ^ Craik, Jennifer (2005). Uniforms Exposed (Dress, Body, Culture). Oxford, UK: Berg Publishers. p. 171. ISBN 1-85973-804-4. 
  19. ^ a b "Cowboy Boots". Retrieved 9 July 2014. 
  20. ^ "80s' Fashion for Men". Retrieved 20 May 2014. 
  21. ^ Fashion and style. "The rehabilitation of the power suit". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  22. ^ "The History of the Power Suit ~ Levo League". Levo.com. 2014-03-06. Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  23. ^ Fashion-Era.com
  24. ^ "South Beach and 'Miami Vice,' past and present". USA Today (www.usatoday.com). 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  25. ^ Leinster, Colin (1987-09-28). "A Tale of Mice and Lens". Fortune Magazine (money.cnn.com). Archived from the original on 31 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  26. ^ Mansour, David. "Parachute pants". From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century. p. 353. Retrieved 13 January 2011. 
  27. ^ Prindle, Mark. "Keith Morris - 2003". Interview. Mark Prindle. Retrieved 2013-10-20. 
  28. ^ Mattson, Kevin (Spring 2001). "Did Punk Matter? ; Analyzing the Practices of a Youth Subculture During the 1980s". American Studies. 1 42: 77. Retrieved 23 February 2014. 

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]