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15 Most Iconic Fashion Trends of the 80s

Shoulder Pads

Statement shoulders were huge in the 80s, so most people resorted to shoulder pads if they did not have particularly broad shoulders. This trend was wildly popular because it made people feel powerful, and we have to admit, the look is quite intimidating!

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Hoop Earrings

Megastars like Madonna helped popularize the trend of oversized hoop earrings in the 80s, and pretty soon nearly every girl in America was wearing them. These earrings made quite the fashion statement, but we can imagine the earlobe pain that ensued!

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In the 80s, if you really wanted to make your hair pop, you simply put it up in a colorful scrunchie! A scrunchie was one of the primary “it” items of the 80s, and the trend lived on for over decade, before fading away in the early 2000s for (hopefully) forever. 

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Fanny Packs

Would you believe there was a time when wearing a fanny pack didn’t make you look like a tourist? It’s been a while, but in the 1980s, fanny packs were worn by even the most stylish of people because they were considered both functional and fashionable. 

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Airbrushed T-Shirts

You’ve surely purchased an overpriced airbrushed t-shirt from a beachside shop in Florida, but you probably didn’t know this trend started many years before. The 80s were filled with these keepsakes that likely only got worn once before being tossed to the back of the closet!

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Sweaters and Scarves

If you thought 2000s prep school boys started the trend of tying the sleeves of a sweater around your neck to form a sort of scarf, you were wrong (sort of). It was started by preppy guys in the 80s instead and became a symbol for rich jerks everywhere.

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Vans Shoes

What were the cool kid shoes of the 80s, you ask? Vans of course! As skateboarding became more mainstream, this style of sneaker found its way onto the feet of skaters and non-skaters alike because they were just effortlessly cool. 

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MC Hammer Pants

Ah, harem pants—probably the most controversial of all the pant styles. Musical artists in particular embraced this trend in the 80s, and they are probably most famously associated with hip hop star MC Hammer. 

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If you’ve ever dressed up for “80s Day” at work or school, you likely wore a colorful leotard as part of your outfit. Possibly to your surprise, leotards were mostly worn for dance-based exercises and not for everyday wear. Oh well!

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Leg Warmers

After leotards, leg warmers are probably next on your list of stereotypical 80s clothing.  These fashion accessories were primarily worn with leotards and colorful tights during workouts during this decade, but recently women have been wearing them with a variety of winter outfits to keep warm.

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If you were anybody in the 80s, you wore a hot pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarers wherever you went. 80s style is coming back around, so expect to see this classic sunglass style everywhere!

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Puffer Vests

Puffer vests became a hot trend after Marty McFly wore a red version in the classic 80s movie Back to the Future. Puffer vests have never truly gone out of style because they’re perfect for chilly days, so if you have one, layer up!

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Another popular 80s trend was the tracksuit. Run DMC, the Beastie Boys, and countless other groups paved the way for this trend in the 80s, and it quickly became mainstream. 

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Acid Wash Jeans

Acid wash jeans are one of the most controversial denim washes because no one can ever really decide if they’re fashionable or not. Yet, in the 80s, they were the epitome of style, with many of the biggest rock bands rocking this trend on a daily basis!

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Neon Everything

In the 1980s, you could just about expect neon-colored everything—from shoes to leggings to jackets. Even though this color typically isn’t very flattering on a lot of skin tones, it remained popular for almost the entire decade. 

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