80’s Fads & Fashion

80's Fashion - Madonna circa 1983

Here is a complete list of 80’s fad and fashion items we have compiled for your reference. From head to toe, you will find just about every fad and fashion of the 80s below.

Know of any other fads or fashion items? Please contact us!

  • Mesh Hair Ties – The piece of white or black mesh girls tied in their hair. We can thank Madonna for this style.
  • Temporary Hair Dye – Colorful hair in the 80’s were a must. This invention let you change your hair color from day to day.
  • Headbands –  From Pat Benetar to Mike Reno…This was a hot style!
  • Ponytails for Men – Popular with the yuppies.
  • Hair Crimping – Kind of looked like you had your hair braided for a week.
  • Hair Mousse / Styling Foam – Added lots of body to your hair!
  • Helmet-Haired Bangs – Loni Anderson…Need I say more?
  • Neat Look for the Guys – Preppy would be the best word to describe this.
  • Banana Clips – And still used today! Who says the 80’s are dead?
  • Mohawk Haircuts – Very attractive, ‘eh?
  • Barrettes w/ things Dangling from Them – Girls wove ribbons through, usually two different colors, and hung beads on the end of the ribbon. You could also buy theses barrettes ready-made and some even had FEATHERS hanging from them
  • Princess Di Haircuts – Poor Di! Miss her!
  • Crazy Hair ColorsPink, blue, purple, red, yellow and so on.
  • Tails – You remember … The short or long 5 pieces of hair running down your back.
  • RayBan’s – Made famous from the Tom Cruise movie ‘Risky Business’.
  • Flat Top Haircuts for Guys – Some cuts were a little off to the side like Bobby Brown. He also had a line cut on his head. Don’t know if this was a fad for the bros.
  • Rooster Bangs Look – Rooster Bangs Are bangs that are cut so they stand up and frizz out.
  • Big Hair – Lots of hairspray and teased up high! Gotta love it!
  • Skater Haircut – Shaved on one side and all the hair hanging on the other side.
  • BIG Hair Bows – Another essential Madonna accessory!
  • Colored Mascara/Eyeliner – Always extra thick! Blue, purple were the popular colors used.
  • Painter Type Hats – With or without the tails off the back.
  • Bandannas – (In just about every color of the rainbow!) Any color tied anywhere would make you fit in just about anywhere circa 1984. (i.e.. David Lee Roth)
  • Green Lipstick – Turned pink when you put it on.
  • Pierced Ears – Lots of BIG earrings for the girls. For the guys – Left ear your straight, right ear you were not so straight. :)
  • Blue Eye Shadow – Not only was mascara and eyeliner blue, but also above chick’s eyes! We’ve even seen yellow and purple used in some cases!
  • Shoelace Hairclips – Women’s hairclips in which they came multicolored, metallic, or solid print Popular in late 80’s, early 90’s.
  • Bright Neon/Fluorescent Shirts – Orange, yellow, fuchsia, green, etc. with the matching socks , earrings and hair scarves.
  • Pastel T-Shirts – Pink was very popular for the guys. Also came in just about any other color in the rainbow.
  • 80s Pop Star Costumes – Popular 80s costumes for kids and adults.
  • Champion Sweatshirts – Pretty much self explanatory. Another one still sold today.
  • Torn Workout Top – Those maniac chicks, gotta love ‘em! Some workout tops were also cut on the bottom to expose the stomach area. Most were worn off the shoulder.
  • Slogan T-shirts – With words like Go-Go, Relax, Boy Toy, etc. For 80s t-shirts visit 80stees.com!
  • Jean jackets – Levis were popular and still are in some areas of the country. Some people even painted their favorite rock band album covers on the back of their Levis denim jackets.
  • Army jackets – Camouflage was in almost as much as the Miami Vice style blazers.
  • Michael Jackson Thriller Jacket – Just like the one he wore in his video.
  • Sleeveless shirts – These were sleeveless but cut all the way down the side so they they were open.
  • Clothing with keyboards up and down the sleeves – Pretty snazzy ‘eh?
  • Members Only Jackets - Had to have every color remember?
  • OP (Ocean Pacific) T-shirts – For the surfer in you!
  • Izod Shirts – In every color of the rainbow. Some wore them with collars turned up.
  • Argyle Vests – So preppy!
  • Skinny Neck Ties – Those leather ones were soooooo cool!
  • Knit Neck Ties – Skinny of course!
  • Bolos – Leather cords with a piece of metal, plastic, etc. holding them together at the neck.
  • Power Ties – Bold and classical ties for those power lunches.
  • Long Shirts – Usually white with large florescent lettering (e.g. RELAX).
  • Cardigan Sweaters with shirts underneath – Most of the time the shirts underneath were not tucked in.
  • Paisley Shirts – Paisley was in with the new wave crowd as well as other cliques.
  • Black collared shirts – Usually buttoned all the way to the top.
  • Shirts with zippers – Some of these had buttons as well. The zippers or buttons were put on the shirts in a way that it opened diagonally from the shoulder area. When opened the shirt would have this triangular shape flapping on your chest.
  • Laced Crop Tops – With bra underneath. If a white lace – white bra. If black lace – black bra
  • Hawaiian Shirts – Lots of flowers and loud colors… Aloha!
  • Rugby shirts – Colored sleeves with sweatshirt gray or white for the body of the shirt.
  • Black Rock Band T-Shirts – Same as below, just with the sleeves.
  • Sleeveless Rock Band T-Shirts – Headbangers unite! AC/DC, Metallica, Poison, Ratt, Ozzy. To name a few.
  • T-Shirt Clips – They looked like a ring with a bar through the middle and you threaded the bottom of your shirt through them.
  • Shaker Knit Sweaters – Shaker Knit refers to the type of stitch used to make these sweaters. If you saw Hunt for Red October, the dark sweater Jack wears is a shaker knit sweater.
  • Hang Out Oxfords with Big Belts to Cinch – With matching socks over stirrup pants.
  • Wearing collars up on polo shirts & blouses - 3 words… Preppy…preppy…preppy!
  • Polo – Shirts with collars (collars usually worn pulled up) Plenty of colors to choose from – pastels were a favorite preppy color.
  • Underwear as Outerwear – As worn by Madonna, Annie Lennox & Cyndi Lauper
  • Navy Blue Down-Filled Vest – Sleeveless – Winter, summer, spring and fall – this was in!
  • Blouse or Gown with Buttons – Also with feathers, rhinestones – usually tracing up and down one sleeve
  • Air Brushed Shirts – Saw lots of couples wearing these in High School with their mate’s name on them. Couple of hearts, etc.
  • Flojos – Rubber sandal type of things called “Flojos”. This was the brand that made them.
  • Peter Pan Boots – Short, suede boots that all girls wore with their pin stripe jeans tucked into
  • Gasoline Jeans – Grey on one side, denim blue on the other. An interesting combo!
  • Scrunch Socks – Different colors and layer them oppositely on each foot. For example; one foot would have a pink then a purple on top and the scrunched part would be on the bottom half then the other foot would be purple with pink on top with the pink on the bottom half.
  • Dangling belts – In pastel and neutral colors – People commonly wore 2 or 3 belts at a time.
  • Corduroy pants – Brown, white, blue. We’ve also seen red and green Levis corduroy pants back in our awesome decade!
  • Argyle socks – Knee high socks with colorful diamond pattern, all diamonds were connected with stripes-zigzag pattern. typically came in colors of red, yellow, navy and hunter green. Matched your argyle sweater (v neck). Socks usually had no pattern on toe or heel portion.
  • Striped Levi’s jeans – Had to be tight too! Different color denim were also used. Black, light blue, dark blue, etc.
  • Button-fly Levis jeans – And one of the most popular jeans still worn today!
  • Acid washed jeans – Nice and light. The more holes in your jeans, the better! (i.e. Kip Winger)
  • Reebok high-tops – With no or untied laces.
  • Parachute Pants – Made out of nylon with lots of zippers!
  • Adidas Shoes – Hmmmmm, can you say Run DMC?
  • Jordache – Chic – Sergio Valente’ – Calvin Klein – Gloria Vanderbuilt – Sasson – Guess Jeans – Oooooh La La! “Designer” jeans were all the rave in the ’80s. Most brands had certain designs on the back pockets like Jordache and Sergio Valente’. All worn very tight and straight legged.
  • Vans!!! – I remember seeing checkerboard and multi-color styles in High School.
  • Adidas or OP pants – With the drawstring – no zipper.
  • Penny Loafers - Had to have these.
  • Top Siders – Another one that I still see around today.
  • Capezios – Capezios are shoes – they’re like dance shoes and became popular shortly after Flashdance came out. They were usually white. For those who didn’t know like me! It reminded me of the next one.
  • Chinese Slippers – The little black shoes all (well most of) the girls wore them.
  • Converse Chuck Taylor
  • High -Tops - Wild colored high top sneakers worn not only by basketball players.
  • Mini Skirts – Short plaid, ruffled on the bottom, etc. skirts women wore.
  • “Pegged” Jeans – You folded the bottom of the jeans over first to make them narrow, then rolled them up, so they were “pegged.”
  • Sweatpants – Tucked into tube socks with the bottoms puffing out.
  • Legwarmers - Flashdance made these even more popular than they already were!
  • Jelly shoes – Brightly colored.
  • Poofy Pants – With the tapered bottom. Some had lots of pockets and zippers and/or buckles. Hammer time!
  • Ripped Jeans – Usually in slits and tight – the more slits the better!
  • Keds - Again, popular in the mid to late 90’s. White with the little blue Keds emblem on the back.
  • Plastic shoes - They were usually pastel colors, they were really cheap, and they hurt like hell!
  • Hurraches – Leather woven sandals.
  • Short skirts with bike shorts underneath – Who says you can’t ride a bike with a short skirt? Although chicks also wore this to clubs. Another Madonna ensemble. Short skirts could also be worn with biker shorts or leggings underneath.
  • Floods – Pants that ended before your ankles did.
  • Zuba shorts and pants - Pants with multi-colored zebra-like stripes. they come in colors of athletic teams.
  • Spandex – Lots of it too! A stretchy fabric that molds to your skin. Pants or shorts were usually made of this fabric. Lots of heavy metal bands enjoyed wearing spandex (usually black or zebra striped but could be bright colored too).
  • Stonewashed Gap Jeans – Faded before you bought ‘em. These were so bodacious!
  • Surfer Pants – Usually light in color and fabric with a little string in the front to tie.
  • Madonna Gloves – From the Like a Virgin era (lacey gloves without fingers, either black or white usually). Also Crosses were big and whatever Madonna wore, the chicks wore too.
  • Cut Socks as Gloves – Cutting off the ends of sweat socks (usually the kind with the different color rings at the top of the sock) and wearing them as wristbands. A lot of the punks did this. It’s funny-you see the guy in the movie Salt Lake City Punks wearing these.
  • Polka Dots! - Shirts, suspenders, socks, etc. Different colors.
  • Jelly /Gummy Bracelets – Those were the thin plastic bracelets that girls would wear tons of at a time – and rings.
  • The Preppy Look – Short hair (for the guys), penny loafers, argyle socks, Polo shirts with the collar sticking up. This description could go on and on! You get the idea.
  • Big Obnoxious plastic comb – With solid or swirling colors, usually kept it in your back pocket.
  • Pet Rock – Not a fashion item, but an 80’s fad! An ordinary rock with plastic eyes on it. This goofy fad made someone millions of dollars and a place in history!
  • Mexican dresses – Maybe this was subject to geography – Texas.
  • Jimmy-z and Z-Cavaricci clothing – They were extremely multi-colored “knitted” sweaters that looked more like a tangled knot that just happened to be in the shape of a sweater. No rhyme or reason, and they were often lumpy looking. Similar to the sweaters Bill Cosby wore on his show.
  • Slap Bracelets – Slap bracelets were about an inch wide with metal on the inside and colored cloth on the outside. They were in bright colors and were straight and when you hit them on your wrist they bent around your wrist like a bracelet.
  • Jams - Jams were multi colored shorts — guys mostly wore them. They were like the Hawaiian shirts only for the bottom. Most guys wore them without socks, and sandals of some kind. The preppy look for those hot summer days!
  • Multiple Outfits – These were interchangeable multi-colored cotton clothes that were often cinched with a a sash. Also – anything really busy, clashing and eye popping!
  • Skateboarding – Very popular even today!
  • Snowboarding - Another very popular sport (we guess you can call it a fad). One of our visitors wrote in saying, “HOT guys do snowboarding, Weird guys do skateboarding. ;)
  • Friendship Pins/Bracelets - Pins were often worn on sneaker laces and denim jackets.
  • Coke clothes, jeans, accessories - Have a Coke and a smile! Or was it, Coke is it? In any case, these clothes were in!
  • Twisty Bead necklaces - Thin beaded necklaces, lots of different colors, you would twist them together and clasp them in the back with a clip. You could also make them long by doubling one in the back and connecting it on the side with a clip. Any self respecting 80’s chic had twisty beads in EVERY color. They were great to wear with your izod shirt and polo shirts. Collars up, of course!
  • Bennetton – Benetton first hit around 1988 – a new clothing line, all about colors, animal prints, and jeans. Alot of denim matching ensembles. It was a had to have line, like Guess, Esprit and L.A. Gear.
  • Camp Beverly Hills – It was cheap women’s perfume. Loves Baby Soft was also popular.
  • Banana Republic – Banana Republic, before they became the upscale Gap they are today, launched in 1987 or so with a safari theme. It was all khaki’s and t-shirts with jungle animals on them, and, of course, bananas. Most of the stores were decorated in rattan wood, with fake trees and a jeep in the middle of the store.
  • Jordache Purses – Those little $3 crescent-shaped Jordache pouches with the skinny string shoulder strap. They were made out of a really lightweight vinyl/tyvek kind of material — it had the Jordache horse-head logo stamped on it. They came in lots of colors (metallic too)
  • Plastic Spring Bracelets - Those neon colored plastic spring bracelets (I believe there were necklaces & earrings, too)
  • Shopping at The Limited
  • Anything Forenza or Outback Red!
  • Roach Clips w/ feathers dangling – Roach clips with feather hanging off of them, they were attached to your belt loop. Never know when you might need something like this!
  • Pop Balls – This is not what you are thinking (get your mind out of the gutter). These were rubber balls that you turned inside out, laid them on the floor and watched them pop up.
  • Creepy Crawlers – Another fad, not fashion item; Throw them on the wall and watch them slowly crawl back down. Ewww, Creepy! :)
  • Code Bleu clothes
  • Dexters – A deck (boat type) shoe.
  • Jeri Curls – Popular for the African Americans (mostly men). Looked like a shiny, wet perm. See: Michael Jackson, circa “Beat It” video; also see: Eddie Murphy’s “Coming to America” movie with it’s Jeri curl parody (featuring today’s ER’s Eriq LaSalle), “Soul Glow”. The term Jeri Curl was named for the solution you sprayed in your hair to get the desired effect.
  • Punk – Made popular from bands like the Clash – Mohawks, chains, make up, etc
  • Flashdance Look - Ripped pants, shirts, strapped shirt under a sweatshirt. Ohhh sexy!
  • Valley Girl Look – Hair that was shorter (spiked or curly) on top and a little longer in the back, head bands (usually stripped) that matched our fitted stripped tops, mini skirts of mini skirt-dresses, big earrings, bright colors, belts (around our hips – first made big by Mike Hutchence in the “One Thing” video, usually doubled). And let us not forget leg-warmers!
  • New Wave Stuff - New Wave was in reference to music culture (i.e., Pet Shop Boys, Dead or Alive, Erasure, Duran Duran, Echo and the Bunnymen, etc) – fashion-wise, look at any of the previously mentioned bands and they’re videos, and think: feminine guys with make-up and teased hair (before Poison-like glam rock), Creepers shoes, Long duster coats (i.e.., Boy George), little bowler-like black hats and eye-liner, a lot of black-and-white accessorizing. See: “Ducky” in “Pretty in Pink”;, a reference made in “SLC Punk” (during the slide show about who beats up who – the New Waver’s don’t beat up anyone).
  • Swatch Watches – Went well with the plastic bracelets. Was accompanied by other Swatch watches. Sometimes worn with more than one watch.
  • Spoon Rings – Spoon rings, usually sterling siver with the design of a spoon handle, or fork. We called them spoon rings. (Added compliments of Trish)
  • Michael Jackson Glove – Worn on one hand, silver with sequins. Michael spawned a fashion trend with this.
  • Miami Vice Look – Well padded blazer with a pastel T-shirt under, etc. Shoes with no socks.
  • “Puffy” silver hearts – Jewelry – “puffy” heart pendants for necklaces.
  • Generra – Generra is a brand name, they made men’s’ clothes and those “hyper color” t-shirts.
  • Vision Street Wear – Skateboarding gear – T-shirts, caps, beanies, shoes, skateboards and more!
  • Huge clocks - Wore around the neck. Usually worn by rap members.
  • Anything Neon – Pretty self explanatory. Socks, Shirts, Hair accessories, bracelets, shoe laces, etc.
  • Fanny Packs – Fanny packs reached the peak of their popularity in the late 1980s and early-to mid-1990s. Today, fanny packs are considered to be a fashion faux pas. But hey, they could come back, right?!
  • Shoulder Pads – During the early 1980s there was a resurgence of interest in the ladies’ evening wear styles of the early 1940s. Even today many young women are now copying artists such as Lady Gaga and Rihanna who are known for their 1980s style jackets with shoulder pads.

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