The 1980s was a decade of excess, and fashion trends were no exception. Power suits, shoulder pads, neon colors—the 80s had it all! And with the help of big hair celebrities like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper influencing style in the ’80s, there’s no denying that this era is one for the history books when it comes to fashion.

But what about those iconic pieces? From leg warmers to top designer brands—here are six must-know facts about 1980s fashion you won’t want to miss out on!

So grab your pearls and get ready to reminisce as we take a look back at some of our favorite styles from this unforgettable time period.

Table of Contents

1980s Power Suits

The 1980s saw a rise in the power suit, with strong shoulder pads and bold colors. Women embraced this look to show their strength and independence in the workplace. It was an iconic fashion statement that has been remembered for decades since its heyday.

Women in powersuits of the 1980s
Women in power suits of the 1980s

Shoulder Pads: Shoulder pads were a key component of the power suit, giving women an authoritative silhouette that commanded respect. They ranged from subtle to exaggerated depending on the wearer’s preference but always gave off a powerful vibe.

Colors: The colors used for these suits were often bright and eye-catching, such as reds, blues, greens, or yellows – all designed to make sure you stood out from the crowd!

Jewel tones like sapphire blue or emerald green were popular choices as they added sophistication while still making a statement.

Fabrics: Fabrics used included wool blends, tweed, and even velvet – materials that are still fashionable today! These fabrics helped create structure around the body while also being comfortable enough to wear all day long without feeling restricted or uncomfortable.

Accessories: Accessories such as pearls could be worn with these suits to add elegance and femininity; they could be draped over one shoulder or worn around the neck in multiple strands for maximum impact! Pearls have always been associated with luxury so it made sense for them to be part of this trend too.

The 1980s power suit was about more than just fashion; it represented female empowerment at a time when there weren’t many opportunities available for women in business roles outside of secretarial work or retail sales positions.

This look allowed women to take control of their image and project confidence wherever they went – something we can all learn from today.

The 1980s power suit was a statement of strength and confidence, with bold colors and exaggerated silhouettes. Next up, let’s take a look at the bright and vibrant neon colors that dominated the decade!

Key Takeaway: The 1980s power suit was a symbol of female empowerment, allowing women to take control of their image and project confidence. It featured strong shoulder pads, bold colors such as jewel tones, wool blends, or velvet fabrics, and accessories like pearls for added elegance.

Neon Colors

The 1980s were a time of bold fashion statements, and neon colors played an important role in this. From bright pinks to greens, oranges, and yellows, these vibrant hues were seen everywhere, from clothing to accessories.

Neon colors of the 1980s
Neon colors of the 1980s

Neon was often used as an accent color on power suits – think shoulder pads with a neon pink blazer! It was also popular for casual wear, such as t-shirts or skirts paired with leggings.

Neon fashion trends of the 1980s
Neon fashion trends of the 1980s

Neon colors weren’t just limited to clothing either; they could be found in jewelry too. Brightly colored earrings, necklaces, and bracelets made of plastic beads or gems added the perfect pop of color to any outfit.

Pearls were especially popular during this era – pearl necklaces adorned with brightly colored glass beads created a unique look that still stands out today!

These days you can find many modern takes on the 80s trend of wearing neon colors.

For example, instead of pairing your outfit with plastic jewelry, you might opt for pearls set in sterling silver or gold plated settings which give it a more sophisticated look while still keeping the fun vibes alive!

You can also find statement pieces like oversized earrings featuring bright gemstones that will make sure all eyes are on you when you walk into the room!

No matter how you choose to incorporate neon into your wardrobe, one thing is certain: it will always bring back memories of the decade when bigger was better and brighter was best.

Neon colors were an integral part of the 1980s fashion scene. Now let’s take a look at another iconic ’80s trend: shoulder pads!

Shoulder Pads

Shoulder pads of the 1980s
Shoulder pads of the 1980s

Shoulder pads were a popular accessory in the 1980s, adding structure and shape to any outfit. They came in various sizes and shapes, ranging from subtle to exaggerated. Women often wore oversized shoulder pads for an edgy look that made a statement.

Neon colors were also popular during this era, so many women opted for brightly colored shoulder pads with their outfits.

The combination of neon hues and bold shoulder pad silhouettes was eye-catching and stylish. Some even matched their shoes or accessories to complete the look!

Power suits became increasingly fashionable throughout the decade as well, making it easy to incorporate shoulder pads into your wardrobe without looking too over-the-top.

Blazers with strong shoulders could be paired with trousers or skirts for a sophisticated yet powerful ensemble that was perfect for work or special occasions.

Pearls were another must-have accessory during this time period – they added elegance and sophistication to any outfit while still being on trend with the 80s fashion scene.

Whether you chose long strands of pearls or delicate pearl earrings, these timeless gems completed any power suit perfectly!

Exaggerated shoulder pads of the 1980s
Exaggerated shoulder pads of the 1980s

For those who wanted something more daring than just plain shoulder pads, there were plenty of options available such as sequins, rhinestones, lace trimming or other embellishments that could be added onto them for extra flair.

These details would make any outfit stand out from the crowd while still staying true to the classic 80s style aesthetic we all know and love today.

Leg warmers were also popular items of clothing during this era that are still making their way back into fashion.

Leg Warmers

Leg warmers were a popular fashion trend in the 1980s. They originated from dancers who wore them to keep their legs warm during rehearsals and performances, but they quickly became an iconic look for women of all ages.

Leg warmers for the 1980s
Leg warmers for the 1980s

Leg warmers could be worn with shorts or skirts for a fun, casual look or paired with dressy outfits for an edgy twist on formalwear.

The beauty of leg warmers was that they could easily be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. For example, if you wanted to go out dancing with friends, you could pair your favorite legwarmers with some high-waisted shorts and a crop top for a stylish yet comfortable outfit.

On the other hand, if you had an important meeting at work, try wearing your legwarmers over black trousers and pairing it with a blazer – this would give off an air of professionalism while still being fashionable!

Leg warmers also provided great versatility when it came to accessorizing; by adding different colors and patterns such as stripes or polka dots to your outfit through accessories like scarves or jewelry pieces made from pearls (a classic 80s staple), you can create unique looks every time without having to buy new clothes each time.

The best part about legwarmers is that even though they’re no longer considered “in style” today, there are still plenty of ways to incorporate them into modern fashion trends.

Whether it’s pairing them with ankle boots and skinny jeans for a more grunge-inspired look or layering multiple pairs together over leggings and sneakers for something more playful – there are endless possibilities when it comes to styling these versatile garments.

Leg warmers were a popular fashion accessory in the 1980s and could be seen on both men and women. As the decade progressed, bigger hair became more fashionable, with larger curls and volume becoming increasingly popular.

Key Takeaway: Leg warmers were a popular fashion trend in the 1980s that provided great versatility when it came to accessorizing and styling. They could be dressed up or down for different occasions, from casual wear with shorts or skirts to formal wear with trousers and blazers.

Big Hair

Big hair was a defining feature of the 1980s fashion scene. From perms to crimped styles, women everywhere embraced voluminous curls and teased styles that added drama to any look. Whether it was for an evening out or just a day at school, big hair was here to stay!

Styles of permed hair in the 1980s
Styles of permed hair in the 1980s

Perms were one of the most popular ways to achieve big hair in the 80s. Women would go into salons and get their locks curled up with chemicals, resulting in long-lasting waves that could be styled in many different ways.

The perm process took several hours but gave women beautiful curls they could maintain with minimal effort. Some even chose to add color highlights for extra flair!

Crimping also became popular during this time period as well. This style involved using heated tools on straightened hair which created zigzag patterns throughout the length of your tresses.

Crimped hair of the 1980s
Crimped hair of the 1980s

Crimped hairstyles often looked best when combined with other styling techniques such as curling or teasing, for maximum volume and texture.

Celebrities like Madonna helped make this trend even more famous by sporting crimped looks on stage and red carpets alike!

Teasing was another way people achieved bigger hairstyles back then – especially those who didn’t want permanent changes like perms or crimps made to their locks.

Teasing involved taking sections of dry hair and brushing them against each other until they stood up on end, creating a fluffy effect all over your head that lasted all day long without needing any product or special tools! It may have been time-consuming but it definitely paid off when you wanted some serious height added to your ‘do!

Overall, big hair was an integral part of the 80s fashion scene. From permed waves to crimped strands and teased updos, there were plenty of options available for anyone looking for dramatic results without having to commit to a permanent change every time they stepped out of the house.

These styles allowed people to express themselves in a unique way while still keeping up with the trends of the decade!

Big hair was a defining fashion trend of the 1980s and made an impact on both celebrities and everyday people alike. As we move into the next heading, let’s take a look at some of the top fashion brands that defined this era.

Key Takeaway: The 1980s was a time for big, bold hairstyles. Women embraced perms, crimps, and teasing to achieve the desired look. These techniques gave them long-lasting waves or added volume and texture without having to make permanent changes. Teasing, in particular, was a popular way of achieving dramatic styles that lasted all day long with minimal effort!

Top Fashion Brands of the 1980s

From shoulder pads to leg warmers, the 80s saw some iconic looks that are still popular today. Many top fashion brands emerged during this time, offering stylish clothing for men and women alike. Here’s a look at some of the most popular fashion labels from the 80s:

Calvin Klein

Brooke Shields ad for Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein was one of the first designers to make designer jeans fashionable in the early 80s. His signature style featured clean lines and minimalistic designs that were both timeless and modern.

He also introduced his famous underwear line, which became an instant hit with celebrities like Brooke Shields promoting it on TV commercials.

Giorgio Armani

Giorgio Armani is known for creating classic menswear pieces such as suits, blazers, shirts, trousers, and more.

His collections often feature luxurious fabrics such as silk or cashmere in neutral colors like navy blue or black with subtle details like pinstripes or embroidery accents for added sophistication.


Versace is another Italian label that rose to fame in the late 70s thanks to its glamorous evening wear designs featuring bright colors, flashy prints, and intricate beading work.

The brand quickly gained popularity among celebrities who loved wearing their extravagant outfits on red carpets all over the world!


Chanel is one of those timeless brands whose influence can still be seen today, even though they were founded way back in 1909 by Coco Chanel herself.

They specialize in elegant womenswear, including tweed jackets paired with pearls along with quilted handbags adorned with double C logos, which have become symbols of luxury all over the world.

The 1980s was a time of experimentation and bold fashion statements, with many iconic brands emerging during this era. From high-end designer labels to streetwear, the decade saw an array of fashionable trends that continue to inspire modern style today.

Let’s now look at some of the celebrities who influenced fashion in the 80s.

Key Takeaway: The 1980s was a decade of bold fashion trends and iconic labels that are still popular today. Key labels from the era include Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Versace, and Chanel, who all specialize in luxurious clothing and accessories.

Celebrities who influenced fashion in the 1980s

The 1980s were a decade of bold fashion statements and creative trends. From the glamour of Dynasty to the punk rock style of Madonna, celebrities had a major influence on what people wore in this era.

Madonna and fashion trends
Madonna and fashion trends

Leg warmers became popular after they were featured in movies like Flashdance and Fame. Stars such as Jennifer Beals, Brooke Shields, and Molly Ringwald all donned them during their rise to fame.

The accessory was also seen on dancers from music videos like “Material Girl” by Madonna and “Let’s Dance” by David Bowie.

Leg warmers could be worn with shorts or skirts for an edgy look that was both fashionable and practical for keeping legs warm during cold weather months.

Big hair was everywhere in the 80s! Actresses like Heather Locklear, Farrah Fawcett-Majors, Joan Collins, Cybill Shepherd all sported big curls that framed their faces perfectly.

Musicians such as Boy George (Culture Club), Prince, Rick Springfield (General Hospital) also embraced this trend which made it even more popular among fans who wanted to emulate their favorite stars.

Big hair wasn’t just limited to women either; men like John Stamos (Full House) rocked some serious volume too!

No list of 80s fashion would be complete without mentioning Madonna’s iconic style, which included lace gloves; crop tops paired with tutus or high-waisted jeans/skirts topped off with lots of jewelry, including crucifixes around her neck or wrists – she truly embodied the rebellious spirit of the decade.

Madonna’s photoshoot for People’s Magazine in 1985

Her influence extended beyond clothing though; she inspired many young women to express themselves through dance moves such as vogueing, which is still popular today.

Michael Jackson’s Thriller album catapulted him into superstardom, but his signature look – white glove-adorned hands coupled with sequined jackets – solidified his status as a fashion icon throughout the world!

His ability to take risks when it came to styling himself helped pave the way for other artists who weren’t afraid to push boundaries when it came to expressing themselves through clothing choices.

Princess Diana brought grace and elegance wherever she went, but her wardrobe choices also made headlines due to her impeccable taste in designer pieces mixed with affordable items from stores like Topshop and Zara.

This combination of high-end fashion and accessible style resonated well amongst people globally, regardless if they followed royal news or not.

Key Takeaway: The 1980s was a decade of bold fashion statements and creative trends. From the glamour of Dynasty to Madonna’s punk rock style, celebrities had a major influence on what people wore.

Conclusion and final thoughts 💭

It was also a time when celebrities had an immense influence on what people wore. Whether you’re looking for inspiration or just want to reminisce about the past, 1980s fashion is sure to bring back memories.

From shoulder pads and leg warmers to iconic brands like Calvin Klein and Guess, there’s no denying that this era left its mark on modern-day fashion trends.

So if you’re looking for something unique yet timeless, why not take some style cues from the 1980s? After all, it’s never too late to embrace your inner diva!

About the Author


I am a pearl and oyster enthusiast who loves to share her knowledge and experiences about fashion with the world. I am neither a certified gemologist nor a reseller of pearls.

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