Big, bright, colorful, and asymmetric. The 1980s was a decade of indulgence. Hippies from the ’70s were growing up, graduating college, and shedding their bell-bottoms and leather fringe, for a newly coined term Yuppie. The Brat Pack showed an entire generation how to dress.
Women and even some went for big hair and even bigger bangs that were sprayed up to daredevil heights. Hair was teased into geometrically defying shapes and set with ozone-depleting amounts of Aquanet hairspray. Paul Mitchell and Vidal Sassoon quickly became a rich girl’s best friend, but the general population stuck to the super cheap Aquanet. 1980s hair is no simple undertaking.
Big Hair, Don’t Care
Many spent hours getting permanent waves, then curling and blow-drying bangs to hang inches above the forehead into what has now been termed “Mall Hair”. Men had their own version and the hair was trimmed neatly in the front and around the ears then left longer and permed in the back.
This style also was given the name “Mullet” – business in the front; party in the back! As the decade wore on the styles became a little more extreme. Hair was shaved into geometric bobs with one side longer, the top ratted elevated inches above the head into spiky points. Bleaching hair to inhuman colors of blond and then highlighting it with strips of fuchsia, and eggplant colors also became a trend. The fact that anyone escaped with a full head of hair is simply astounding.
1980s Hair Trends
- Banana Hair Clips
- Big Bangs
- Hair Crimpers
- Side Ponytails
Radical Fashion Trends
Clothing and accessories became brighter, and splashes of color carefully coordinated from the earrings to shoes became a necessity. Earrings came in all shapes the bigger and brighter the better. It was better to get lighter plastic so that the lobes would be able to support the size.
1980s Jean Trends
Most of the high-waisted blue jeans from the 1980s are now considered “mom jeans” and are back in style! Here are some of the other coveted jean styles and brands from the 80s:
- Corduroy Pants
- Flowered Jeans
- Pepe Jeans
- Pleated Jeans
- Ripped Knee Jeans
- Z. Cavaricci Jeans
- Zena Jeans
1980s Shoe Trends
All of the popular shoe trends of the 80s are back in style and available again! Click on the links for photos and to purchase.
- Boat Shoes
- Doc Martens with clunky soles
- Jelly Sandals (now known as jellies)
- Michael Jordan High-Top Sneakers
- Nike Classic Tennis Shoes With Swoosh
- Vans Classic Slip-Ons
- White Canvas Sneakers
- White Leather Huaraches (basketweave shoes)
Shoulder pads were added to every piece of clothing worn above the waist for men and women alike. It was as though the weight of the world could be supported on the shoulder pads of this self-centered generation. Don Johnson soon lead an entire generation of men to trade beloved Led Zepplin t-shirts for a new icon Ralph Lauren. Pastels of every color of the rainbow became the norm. Legions of people stormed the streets without socks in colorful boat shoes and trousers cut to the ankles.
More 1980s Fashion Trends
- Benetton Cologne
- Coca-Cola Collared Rugby Shirts
- Leg Warmers
- Lacey Shirts
- Member’s Only Jackets
- Neon Colors
- Parachute Pants
- Shoulder Pads
- Swatch Watches
With the help of Boy George, make-up took on a world of its own for men and women. A pale base coat was spackled thickly over the entire face, carefully avoiding the neck to create a mask-like appearance.
Best Boy George Songs of the 1980s
- Do You Really Want To Hurt Me
- It’s A Miracle
- Karma Chameleon
- Love Is Love
- Miss Me Blind
- The Crying Game
Bad To The Bone Makeup
This created a clean slate to apply liquid eyeliner transforming the eyes into an Egyptian type diamond shape. Eye shadows of every shade were used, but light baby blue was a staple color of eyeshadow in the 1980s. Streaks of bright blush were carefully applied in streaks from the corner of the lip to the ear, carefully avoiding the hollow of the cheek. Shiny lipstick was then applied to finalize the look.
Gag Me With A Spoon
In general, the 1980s was a fun decade where everything was new, clean, bright, and excessive. There was no line that could be crossed.