After the flower power and wide flare 1970s, it’s time for the second-last episode of the retro fashion series: back to the 1980s!
The red line of the 1980s was: “More is More”, but please No More DISCO. Big hair, more make-up, more color, more color with more make-up and even bigger hair. Anything was possible! It didn’t start out like that though. We started the 1980s quite neutral with colors like brown and tan. Probably because everyone had to catch their breath from the previous dazzling and headspinning Disco years.
There was a little revival of the 1940s in the beginning of the 1980s. You saw slightly high waistlines featuring blousons and padded shoulders. Velvet material was also extremely popular. Lace got a more robust look and feel, because it was often combined with for example leather. And then there was MTV. Remember the good old days when MTV was actually only about music? This channel had its influence in more than one way. When it comes to fashion, the youth suddenly saw their role models in the most trendy outfits. As you can understand, when “video killed the radiostar”, dressing like the popstar was born. Especially during the mid-1980s when stars like Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson had a huge influence on teenagers. White gloves, sunglasses, leather jacket and BAM…get ready for a (moon)walk in the streets.
More than ever, accessories were important to finish your look. Remember hoops? No not hula hoops. I mean those large, round earrings that were a musthave to “dress” your ears. Same goes for bangles and other large and eyecatching jewelry. When I talk about eyecatching, over-the-top hairstyles need to be included. Especially in the second half of the era. Colouring your hair in every color of the rainbow and “go wild” was pretty common back then. Hairstyles of women AND men were bigger than any other decade. Rock and punk music of the late 1980s also had its influence on hairstyles: the new age style was born. For those spikes on top of your head, you needed a lot of hair glue… When it comes to beauty, the motto was: the heavier the make-up, the better the look. So women wore heavy eyeliner, heavier blush and to finish the look: intense lipstick. That popular “pure” nude look of nowadays was not even seen at the horizon of the late 1980s.
Back to clothing. Let’s play a little game. What was one of the most popular items of 1980s women’s fashion?
Time is up
And the answer is: leggings. Preferably leggings in bright colors with legwarmers and ofcourse with big hair and heavy make-up. “Less is more” didn’t exist in those days. However those popular leggings would go totally out-of-fashion in the 90s. Remember the day when you threw all your leggings away? And nowadays the legging is a basic item again. Proof that everything comes back sooner or later.
Also, the mini-skirt made a new and refreshed comeback. It started with teenagers, but after a short while women of all ages followed. Same goes for sweaters, which had a peak moment in 1980s fashion history as a sophisticated answer to the athletic fashion trend that came along during the late 1980s. Men, women, children and teenagers, everyone loved those comfy and warm sweaters. Men liked them even more with turtlenecks. As a real born-in-the-1980s person, I also love them because that oriental spice part of me doesn’t like cold winters.
For men there were definitely some interesting style changes compared to eras like the 1940s and 1950s. Wearing sportswear as daywear became normal. This meant: bye bye gentlemen’s suits for daywear and welcome sweatpants and sweatshirts! We women really thank the 1980s, because we also love sweartshirts, sweatpants-days and after-work-sweatpants-evenings, don’t we? Another interesting development was the athletic shoe as an official fashion statement. Nike Air Jordan shoes anyone? When it comes to hair trends, men were totally adopting the long and wild haircuts of popular rockstars, but the hair on their upperlip magically dissapeared in the late 1980s. So, farewell thick mustaches! The we-prefer-men-without-a-mustache movement (of which I am also a member), totally supported this development…
One way or another this was a very reinventing and creative era. Let’s hear it for the 1980s!
We love (red) jackets and we can not lie: Michael Jackson’s Beat It jacket | 1982
via Schroeder Schoembs – flickr.com
Big hair and heavy make-up | 1986
via Craig Howell – flickr.com
Be cool with these typical 1980s sunglasses | 1988
via Maclean’s – flickr.com
Go wild with your hair | 1989
via Rollingstone – flickr.com
Be aware (and please stay away) of the Mullet hairstyle
I repeat, be aware (and please stay away) of the Mullet
Popular hairstyle for men in the late 80s
If you didn’t have a legging, you didn’t really live in the 1980s
Let’s go out in 80s style… | 1984
The sophisticated look for men
Instant 80s (warm) vibes: Leg warmers
Big, bigger, biggest earrings
You all have one favorite pair of jeans
Last but not least: Air Jordans. They came, saw and conquered.