Pearl Education
The Complete Guide to 80s Fashion
Fashion , Trends & Style

The Complete Guide to 80s Fashion

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Estimated reading time: 45 minutes

When thinking of 80’s fashion, the words ‘big and bright’ surely sums it up. It was a decade of big hair, shoulder pads, large and dramatic earring types, acid wash jeans, colorful necklace styles and eye-straining fabric colors and patterns. Fashion trends in the 1980s were about materialistic values and flaunting wealth. Having the right clothes meant spending extra money to buy designer labels and sports goods with a brand logo.

Although teenagers certainly played a part, for the first time, fashion wasn’t dictated by youngsters only. Baby boomers such as Tommy Hilfiger were becoming mature and more affluent, and they firmly planted their feet among the upmarket fashion influencers.

80s fashion gave rise to more style idols than any previous decade. It’s hard to imagine now, but in the 80s there were no cell phones or internet. TV offered only a few channels, and watching a movie was a luxury. After television, magazines, and advertising were the average person’s main source of fashion information. Limited exposure gave a select group of celebrities, music bands, and eighties clothing brands the opening to exert a significant influence on 80’s fashion trends.

What shoes were worn in the 80s?

The 80s trendiest shoes included Jordans, aka color-block sneakers, Doc Martens (chunky boots), Vans Classic slip-ons, Adidas Campus, medium heeled pumps and Mary-Janes, Jellies and Moccasins.

What clothes were worn in the 80s?

The most popular clothes worn in the 80s included Oxford shirts for men, as well as polo shorts and turtlenecks, slacks usually in khaki, suspenders, striped linen suits and corduroy. For women, the hottest fashions included high waisted jeans (mom jeans), leg warmers, ripped denim, spandex and Lycra, acid wash jeans, statement shoulder business suits (usually with skirts), punk leather items and leotards.

What accessories were popular in the 80s?

80s fashion was big on accessories. The trendiest items included scrunchies, leg warmers, fingerless gloves, plastic bangles, large funky earrings in neon shades, mesh accents, fanny packs and pearl necklaces.


Mix high and low like in the 80s with a pearl bracelet and a pair of sneakers, plus your favorite denims. Browse our selection of Pearl Bracelets, featuring classic and modern pieces that bring charm to any smart-casual outfit. Whether you’re looking for Christmas outfit ideas, daily wear jewelry, formal bling or timeless pieces, pearls are always the right choice.

The Greatest Fashion Influencers of the 1980s

80s Fashion Designers and Clothing Brands

There were thousands of fashion designers and clothing brands in the 80s, but some will always stand out for their advertising campaigns or merely because their clothes were so quintessentially the eighties.

Reebok, Nike, and Adidas sportswear: Fitness became a craze in the 80s and sportswear from these companies was so popular that it became streetwear.

(Image Source: Arkamix)

Swatch watches: Every kid who wasn’t a complete loser had a few of these inexpensive plastic watches made with bright colors and patterns. Owning several was not enough, you had to wear them all at once.

(Image Source: Hasshe)

Jordache, Guess, Wrangler, Levi, Gitano, Bonjour, Sasson and a whole plethora of jeans designers: Whether your style was mom jeans, skinny, or acid-washed and ripped, everyone had a favorite pair of jeans in the 80s.

(Image Source: Hasshe)

[tweet_box design=”box_03″ float=”none”]FACT: In the United States, the average person owns seven pairs of blue jeans. [/tweet_box]

Ray Ban: Famous for their Wayfarer and Aviator sunglasses, a huge pair of sunglasses were compulsory according to 80s fashion trends.

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Issey Miyake: Issey Miyake’s designs concentrated on innovation and clothes that were comfortable to wear. In the 80s, he designed outfits that revolutionized pleated clothing.

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How To Spend It)

Triple Fat Goose: Ski-outfits were popular with yuppies in 1980s fashion. Their puffy, down-filled leather jackets inspired designers like Ralph Lauren to also create parkas in other fabrics.

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LA Gear, Puma, and Converse shoes: Stars like Michael Jackson and famous athlete Joe Montana helped to make sneakers and high-tops a feature of the 80s fashion.

(Image Source: LA Gear)

Gotcha, Maui & Sons, and Lightning Bolt: These surf-wear designers promoted a carefree lifestyle, and because of their fun-loving reputation, the clothes became streetwear.

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Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola collaborated with Jordache and made branded clothing popular in the 80s.

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Benetton: One of the first big brands to step up and create awareness of social issues, ‘United colors of Benetton’ was a hit when it advertised boldly colored, patterned outfits and high waisted designs in true 80s fashion.

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80s Music Icons

Madonna: Unquestionably the queen of pop in the 1980s, Madonna not only influenced music trends; her incredible physique and energy prompted many young people to adopt the Madonna fashion style, from lacy tutus and leather jackets to wild hair with velvet bows and scrunchies.

(Image Source: Hasshe)

Black Pearl the Wise


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Boy George: As one of the leaders of punk culture and music, Boy George regarded 80s fashion as art. With a philosophy of ‘anything goes’, Boy George and his American contemporaries like the Misfits helped to make dressing up and wearing makeup something not only the girls do.

(Image Source: Billboard)

Michael Jackson: If Madonna was the queen of pop in the 80s, Michael Jackson was the undisputed king. His power jackets, military-style accessories, and Jheri-curls African-American hairstyle continue as a fashion influence carried down the decades.

(Image Source: Hasshe)

MTV: MTV (a music television channel started in 1981) and wildly dressed celebrities of the 80’s was a match made in heaven. It suddenly became much easier to spread a fad and rock stars appearing on the channel had an enormous impact on teenage fashion all over America.

LL Cool J: Hip-hop music and rappers such as Run DMC, Salt n Pepa and LL Cool J left an indelible print on 80s fashion with fishnet shirts, boomboxes on the shoulder, leather jackets, high-top sneakers without laces, large finger rings and neck chains, and the now classic Kangol bucket hat.

(Image Source: 80s Music)

Celebrities Who Shaped 80s Fashion

Princess Diana: Many 80s fashion statements started with Princess Diana, even though she professed herself entirely disinterested in fashion. Beloved by the world since she first publicly appeared with Prince Charles early in 1981, people noted and emulated her every move. Diana was the force behind iconic 80’s clothing as diverse as the padded shoulder and feminine patterned silk blouses, high waisted jeans, statement shoulder pads, the winged ‘Diana’ hairstyle, and pearl earrings. She also sparked bizarre 80’s trends such as wearing several watches at once.

(Image Source: Marie-Claire)

[tweet_box design=”box_03″ float=”none”]FACT: A whopping one billion people tuned in to see Prince Charles and Lady Diana get married in 1981. Princess Diana’s wedding dress featured 10,000 pearls and it was estimated to cost $115,000.[/tweet_box]


Get inspired by Princess Diana’s beauty and elegance with your very own pearl-adorned Stud Earrings. Discover our collection of Stud Earrings, ideal for the widest range of outfits and occasions, featuring modern and classic designs that meet the highest standards.

Joan Collins: Joan Collins’ powerful character, Alexis Colby in the 1980’s TV show Dynasty, inspired countless women to perm their hair to gain the distinctive big hair of the 80’s. She showed women how to wear puff shoulders and bold patterns in true 80s fashion, and just how to apply all that peacock eyeshadow and blush. Teamed with a conservative blouse, her power suits became the uniform of women in the workforce who were starting to compete with men on an equal footing for the first time in the 80’s. 

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Jane Fonda: Jane Fonda was the first major actress to make an exercise video. Already making waves in the fashion world with her role in earlier movies such as Barbarella, Jane Fonda gained enduring fame for the leg warmers and leotards she introduced to the 80’s fashion scene through her fitness videos. Because of Jane, sports clothing walked from the gym on to the catwalk and soon became part of people’s everyday 80’s fashion wear.

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Ella Macpherson: The 1980’s saw the rise of the first high-earning supermodels and they increased their popularity and fashion impact by endorsing household products. Because of product advertising, the faces and 80s fashion style of models such as Elle Macpherson, Iman, Janice Dickinson, Grace Jones and Brooke Shields became famous in every household.

(Image Source: Popsugar)

Movies and TV Shows of the 80s

The 1983 movie Flashdance represented the essence of the 80s fashion. Oversized sweatshirts for women, leg warmers, leggings, and asymmetrical details originally made popular by the movie, are all coming into fashion again.

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A 1980s fashion icon: in the cult TV show Dallas, everyone tried to become rich and glamorous, and 80’s fashionistas religiously emulated the dress code of actors in the show. When the show recently aired again, it sparked an 80’s fashion revival featuring everything from Pam’s big hair, shoulder pads and oversize knit sweaters to Ms Ellie’s pearl necklace.

(Image Source: IMDB)


Channel the fashion trends of the 80s the chic way with ropes and ropes of pearls for a look that merges endless elegance with a savvy attitude. Discover our collection of Pearl Necklaces (including personalized jewelry pieces), featuring classic and chic Freshwater Pearls, Akoya Pearls, South Sea and Tahitian Pearls, designed to complement any daytime or nighttime outfit from your wardrobe, whether you’re rocking your acid wash jeans or cocktail frocks. From 80s’s style casual Fridays to light academia getups and posh cocktail dresses, pearls are the right pick.

The Calvin Klein underwear scene in the movie Back to the Future perfectly illustrates the power of brand name clothing in the 80’s and how celebrity collaborations helped to put a brand on the 80’s fashion list. To this day, Calvin Klein tighty whities with logoed waistband are the preferred symbol of sensual underwear for generation X.

(Image Source: Calvin Klein)

Miami Vice’s look might have been excessive even by 80s fashion criteria, but predictions are that we will see many 80’s styles from the show such as sockless shoes, 80’s swimwear fashions, and pastel T-shirts trending again next year.

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Streetwear For the 1980s

The extravagance of celebrities’ 80s fashion outfits was toned down in streetwear, but all the elements were there. The fabrics of the 1980s were unquestionably velour, spandex, and Lycra, with comfortable cotton and natural silk also popular. Severely tailored military-style suits and jackets with padded shoulders were worn side-by-side with printed t-shirts, velvet tracksuits, and baggy harem pants or leggings. One might think that with such divergent styles there’s no cohesive look to 80’s fashion, but the style expression of the decade is united by its determination to be bright, glitzy and bold. Ordinary people wore clothing in dazzling colors and patterns, emblazoned with slogans; every outfit was accessorized with watches, sneakers, belts, and jewelry that will always remain 80s fashion in our minds, but continued making a comeback in future decades.

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Fifteen 80s Women’s Fashions

The 80’s female silhouette was slender with big shoulders (viva la shoulder pads!) and a pinched waist. 80’s clothing, from dresses to overlarge sweaters, were worn off-the-shoulder and skirts were mini or hemmed at the knee. Footwear included high-heeled pumps and sports shoes, and even sportswear was accompanied by many accessories.

During the 80s, women in charge in the workforce were still novel, and 80’s office outfits were inspired by actors such as Melanie Griffith in Working Girl. Women dressed up for parties and special occasions more formally than they do these days, so women needed a variety of smart clothes and accessories. With the fitness-craze just starting, females of any body type were squeezing themselves into leotards and bodysuits matched with legwarmers and a headband to walk, take an aerobics class, or even just to exercise at home with a Jane Fonda video.

The power-suit: A sharply-tailored suit with wide padded shoulders like Jackie Collins’ was a major fashion trend and a must if you had an office job during the 80’s. With the skirt at the knee and the jacket cinched at the waist, the 80’s power-suit was made of glitzy fabrics in jewel colors and worn with a plain blouse by a designer such as Versace including heaps of costume jewelry.

(Image Source: The Guardian)

Sheer tights: With short skirts showing off lots of leg, sheer tights were a staple in every woman’s wardrobe during the 80’s.

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Lamé: From 80’s prom style to middle-aged moms at a party, every woman had a shiny lamé dress with ruffles and quite possibly off one shoulder. Lamé dresses were worn in dazzling colors, paired with high-heel pumps and lots of make-up and accessories.

(Image Source: The Cut)

Ruffles: Blouses and dresses with puff sleeves and ruffles at the neck were a necessity in every woman’s wardrobe according to 80’s fashion. This feminine style favored by Princess Diana could be worn with everything from the power-suit to tight jeans for a night on the town.

(Image Source: Instyle)

The Animal Print Fashion Trend: By the 80’s wearing real animal skin was a big no-no, but over-the-top animal-prints featured on everything. Name the animal, and you could find it represented in 80’s textiles. From leggings to handbags and sunglasses, bold prints of leopard, zebra, snake and even giraffe skin were the rage.

(Image Source: One Who Dresses)

Leggings and stirrup-pants: Olivia Newton-John kicked off the craze with her skin-tight black leggings in the 1978 movie Grease, and by the early eighties, leggings started to replace fitted slacks for women. Try stirrup pants became popular, and towards the end of the eighties, women of all ages could be seen wearing leggings with a comfortable oversize sweater or large t-shirt.

(Image Source: 80s Fashion Clothing)

[tweet_box design=”box_03″ float=”none”]FUN FACT: Olivia Newton-John’s song “Physical” was arguably the 80s most popular song – and a perfect depiction of the fashion of the era: leg warmers and spandex galore.[/tweet_box]

Big sweaters: Flashdance popularized large sweaters over a tank top worn off one shoulder. Towards the end of the 1980s, sweaters were made of velour or other luxurious textiles and colors were muted.

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Jelly shoes: In 1983, a buyer from Bloomingdales in New York saw jelly shoes at a shoe convention in Chicago and ordered them for the store chain. Despite being made of plastic, the inexpensive shoes were incredibly comfortable to wear, and the jelly shoe craze took off to such an extent that even great 80’s fashion designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier added them to their range.

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Velour tracksuits: Velvety, stretchy velour fabric is both luxurious and comfortable, which is probably the reason the 80’s velour tracksuit was so popular. The Italian sportswear brand Fila made velour tracksuits that were so well-liked that celebrities wore them in restaurants and bars, and designers like Dior included velour tracksuits in their eighties fashion ranges.

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T-shirts: In the early 80s, Katharine Hamnett helped causes to make their voice heard through political slogans printed on t-shirts and soon large companies such as Nike, Adidas and Guess realized the advertising potential of their logo printed on T’s. You could wear your 80’s style t-shirt with a logo or slogan, with printed letters, or in a plain bright or pastel color. The comfortable tee was a staple to wear with jeans or leggings.

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[tweet_box design=”box_03″ float=”none”]FACT: The most popular clothing item in the world is the T-shirt, with around two billion of them being sold every year.[/tweet_box]

Leotards and bodysuits: The 80s were a self-indulgent and self-conscious decade. Jane Fonda took advantage of women’s obsession with dance and exercise with her fitness videos and together with other fitness fanatics such as Cher helped to popularize sportswear leotards and bodysuits into functional fashion. This is one of the 80’s fashion trends that is carried through in some form to every decade since.

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Legwarmers: It wasn’t only Jane Fonda and the stars of Flashdance wearing leg warmers in the 80’s; leg warmers were every woman’s fashion statement, and sports clothes, skinny jeans, and leggings and a big sweater were all outfits that required legwarmers as a finishing touch.

(Image Source: Catherine Cole)

Jeans: Jordache made tight jeans with skinny legs popular, but women also wore ‘mom jeans’ with a high waist and loose fit around the legs. Whether your jeans were skinny fit or baggy, during the 80’s stone-washed and edgy rock-style acid washed denim fabric was the norm.

(Image Source: Shape)



The perfect math for your beloved denims? Whether you’re rocking your skinny jeans or your denim jacket, single pearl necklaces and pearl pendants manage to elevate any casual or smart-casual look instantly. Featuring white, black, pink or golden pearls, our collection of Pearl Pendants carries something for every outfit in your wardrobe.

Denim jackets: Denim jackets for women became popular in the 70’s, but the 80’s gave rise to the classic short-waisted denim jacket for women. Worn with tight jeans and paired with a t-shirt or ruffled blouse, the 80’s stone-washed denim jacket has become unbeatable as part of a classic American look.

(Image Source: Stylecaster)

Eighties Fashions for Men

In the 80s, men started giving more importance to their appearance than before. The term ‘yuppie’ was coined as anacronym for the Young Urban Professional. For the first time in history, fashions for men played as important a role as for women, and many 80s clothing styles were unisex. Men started paying more attention to hairstyles and accessories, and thanks to music stars like Boy George, wearing makeup was no longer a taboo. Although male clothing in the 80s had bright colors and patterns in common with women’s clothing, men still tended to dress more conservatively, and their primary concern was for comfort.

[tweet_box design=”box_03″ float=”none”]FUN FACT: The pioneers of the male ponytail were no other than Steven Seagal and Eric Roberts, who famously rocked the hairstyle in many 80s films.[/tweet_box]

Velour sweat suits: Men and women wore velour sweat suits in the 80’s. Fila, the Italian sportswear brand turned the classic velour sweat suit into the casual-wear staple for every man. Whether it’s the Italian connection or a mafia association sprouted by the 80’s TV series Sopranos, 80’s velour sweat suits became common for men from couch potatoes to trendsetters and remain popular to this day.

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Logoed everything: 80’s fashion was largely about showing off affluence and style, and one of the best ways to do this was to wear clothing sporting the designer’s logo or advertising a brand. Everything from Disney to Harley Davidson and Coca-Cola was represented on clothing in the 80’s, and brands such as Nike, Gucci, Levi, Lacoste, and Tommy Hilfiger became household names.

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Bomber jackets: Bomber jackets reached the height of 80s fashion in 1986 after the release of Top Gun but even before that, as a useful leftover from military service they were a staple in many American men’s wardrobes. Whether made from nylon or leather, after the 80s bomber jackets became a classic staple.

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The Power-suit: Men wore sharply cut suits with wide shoulders in the 80’s. The idea was to look powerful and authoritative. Dark colors with a chalk stripe and jackets with a banker’s collar were the most common style. Men wore ties in the 80’s in a variety of styles; as with most 80’s men’s fashion, ‘anything goes’, and you could choose between extra-wide Kipper ties, skinny ties, and square-end ties. Ties were plain, patterned, or sometimes printed with weird designs that are making a comeback.

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Distressed jeans: Hard rock and heavy metal bands such as Nirvana, Sonic Youth, and the Pixies gave rise to grunge culture, and 80’s fashions for men included distressed and ripped jeans. If you didn’t buy designer label distressed jeans from a big name such as Guess or Levi, you could always make a few slashes across the knees and other strategic places with a box cutter. It was also a popular practice to ‘peg’ jeans’ cuffs, meaning they were rolled over tight to show off your high-top sneakers.

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Spray-painted and airbrushed tops: Graffiti artists such as Fab 5 Freddy and Jean-Michel Basquiat plied their trade on sweatshirts and T’s and the hip-hop culture of the 80s fashion together with Blondie’s music videos helped spray paint on clothing to become a favorite feature in 80s streetwear.

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Gucci sweatshirts: Rappers like Rakim and Eric B. loved the Gucci brand, and the designer’s look was comfortable and stylish enough that even old-school men found their sweatshirts appealing.

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T-shirts: A staple in men’s wardrobes since the 1960’s, t-shirts truly took off in the 80s. Whether you wore them plain, patterned or covered in slogans, every male wore t-shirts and the stars in movies, and music videos made muscle Ts famous too.

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Polo shirts: Lacoste polo shirts in pastel colors and horizontal stripes were a necessity for the preppy 80s man. Ocean Pacific’s polos had a nautical appearance and were the ideal shirt to wear somewhere between a formal button-down and a t-shirt.

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Penny loafers without socks: In the 80s, it was customary for men to wear penny loafers and moccasins without socks.

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Parachute fabric: This lightweight and easy-care fabric was popular for sportswear and sweatpants in the 80s. Outfits made from parachute fabric often sported horizontal stripes or chevron design.

(Image Source: Jambo’s Kickback)

Harem pants: The forerunner of today’s dropped crotch pants, harem pants in psychedelic colors and dizzying patterns were a leftover from the 70s that carried forward its popularity in the 80s.

(Image Source: Jambo’s Kickback)

Fat laces: If you wore Puma or Adidas sneakers, fat laces were a way to individualize your shoes.

(Image Source: Puma)

Jams: Brightly colored and patterned knee-length shorts, often with Hawaii inspired prints. These were fashionable beachwear according to 80s fashion trends, but also doubled as casual streetwear.

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Eighties Fashions for Children and Teenagers

Children in the 80s were becoming more self-sufficient than earlier generations, and with many newly affluent households in the eighties, they had the freedom to follow the latest fashions. The MTV music channel and famous musicians and film stars of the decade made a considerable impression on teenagers and fads spread like wildfire.

The jean jacket: Every 80’s kid had one. Acid-washed or just worn to softness, one could rip out the sleeves, add pins and badges, or sew patches on it to express your individuality.

(Image Source: Jollychic)

Socks for girls: While boys were getting away with wearing their sneakers without socks, layered socks and socks with lace edging were an 80’s fashion statement for the girls. Two pairs of neon socks worn one over the other, and ankle socks worn with heels were a bizarre 80’s fashion trend that seems set to return.

(Image Source: Glamour)

Tights: Every 80’s fashionista owned a pair of neon or cut-out tights. Worn with a miniskirt and denim jacket, it’s one of the most distinctive 80’s looks and one so unappealing we have to hope it won’t return.

(Image Source: Glamour)

Vans sneakers: Skateboarding was a favorite sport in the 80s, and masters of the board were showing off their skills indistinctive checkerboard Vans slip-on sneakers. Kids who wanted to emulate Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times At Ridgemont High rushed out to get their own pair and soon even adults were wearing them.

(Image Source: Vans)

A mesh top: Layered over bras and shirts for girls or worn rapper-style over a bare chest if you were a boy, teenagers loved to appear in mesh tops on the street or at a party.

(Image Source: Glamour Magazine)

Swatch watches: the name Swatch is a contraction of the words ‘second watch’, and that’s literally what these watches were in the 80’s. Inexpensive and made from plastic with bold patterns and bright color combinations, kids often owned more than one and wore them simultaneously. The fashion trend might have started after Swatch noticed princess Diana wearing more than one watch, and they promoted wearing multiple wristwatches by using tennis stars like Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi as their brand ambassadors.

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Mini-skirts: Women of all ages wore their skirts short, but if you wanted a hip image like the girls in Teen Witch, you would not be seen in anything longer than an 80’s mini-skirt made of denim or Madonna-style layers of net and lace.

(Image Source: Heaven Costumes)

Lace gloves and lacy clothing: In 1984, Madonna sang her hit song Like a virgin on MTV, decked out in a white dress and lace gloves. Lace gloves and anything lacy immediately became a fashion hit and remained throughout the 80’s.

(Image Source: Marie Claire)

Platform boots: Whether you paired it with a mini skirt or jeans, platform boots and DocMartens were the footwear of cool kids in the 80s.

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Neon everything: Blinding neon hues were a main feature of 80’s fashion, with one out of three Americans owning a piece of clothing in this garish and fluorescent color. Why was neon so popular? Neon was prevalent in the movies and on music stages because of its high visibility, and young people embraced the fashion trend and opted for bright yellow, green, pink and blue hues because the makers of fluorescent colors presented them as youthful and optimistic.

(Image Source: Elliot’s Fancy Dress)

Disney: Disney world was new in the 80’s, and a MickeyT-shirt was a must for younger fashion-conscious family members. In an era of increasing childhood independence, older children tended to wear clothes like 80’s adult styles, with bold geometric patterns and colors ranging from bright to pastel. Girls favored ruffled shirts, balloon skirts, and pumps with layered socks.

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High-cut swimsuits: Bikinis were popular too, but a classic 80s swimsuit would be a high-cut one-piece swimsuit like the babes on Baywatch wore.

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Sneakers without laces: Rappers, hip-hop idols, and other music stars popularized the idea of wearing sneakers without laces. This rebellious touch must have appealed to teenagers because flopping around with shoes falling off your feet was a thing in 80s fashion.

(Image Source: DEStress)

Make-Up in the Eighties

In the 80s, makeup was unnaturally heavy, bold, and colorful. Emphasis was on the eyes with electric pink and blue eyeshadow and colored mascara was essential for thick dark eyelashes. Everyone blushed and highlighted their cheeks like Cindy Lauper’s, and lipstick tended toward pale colors.

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No one tried for a natural appearance in the 80s; the foundation was best worn a few shades lighter than the natural skin tone and slathered thick on the cheeks, with a bright streak of blush along the cheekbones to accentuate them to the fullest. Lips were unnatural with dark lipliner, followed by a bright lipstick in pink, orange, and red. For a while in the 80s, very pale lipstick was favored, but towards the end of the decade, it returned to bright colors.

The focal point of an 80’s face was the eyes. Eyeshadow in peacock shades applied all the way to the eyebrows, followed by heavy eyeliner and lots of mascara. A smudgy look was popular, and often, more than one color eyeliner and mascara were applied for a layered look.

(Image Source: Hasshe)

Boy George and bands such as the Misfits promoted wearing makeup for men, but although it went a way towards promoting unisex styles for men and women, it was a style not many cared to adopt.

(Image Source: Independent)

80s Hairstyles

(Image Source: Hasshe)

In the 80s, men, and women permed, teased and coiffed their hair to make it as big as possible. Hairstyles were massively large, curly, and heavily styled. Hairstyles from the 60s and 70s crept back into fashion with a few variations, and some fads like a rattail appeared and spread fast.

Princess Diana’s side-wept shaggy hairdo was loved in the early eighties, but later in the decade, most women wore permed hair coiffed into elaborate styles kept in place with clouds of hairspray. Scrunchies replaced the traditional elastic band, and the new stretchy cloth accessory was often adorned with pearls, sequins, and velvet bows. If you wanted to tie your hair away, a banana clip was useful, and side ponytails regarded as funky and fun.

(Image Source: Harper’s Bazaar)


Get your inspiration from no other than Lady Di with a pair of classic Pearl Earrings that transcend fashion. Timeless, chic and sophisticated, refined yet effortless, Pearl studs, drop styles and pearl hoop earrings have the ability to upgrade anything from an 80s style blazer complete with shoulder pads & jeans look (a la Diana ) to a little black dress or A-line cocktail frock.

Bands such as Bon Jovi and Nikki Sixx favored big hair, and many men permed their hair to emulate the 80s hairstyle. The mullet made a big comeback in the 80s, and TV characters such as MacGyver made the style appealing. ‘Elvis hair’, combed-back and plastered with wet-look products, was also a trendy hairstyle for men in the 80s.

(Image Source: Hasshe)

African-American hairstyles were influenced by Jheri Redding, who wore his hair in loose permed ringlets. For a while, Michael Jackson copied this trademark style of 1980s fashion, and Jheri-curls became very popular. Another African-American hairstyle made all the rage by music was the high-top fade. From the moment Grace Jones was seen wearing it on her reggae album Warm Leatherette in 1980, black barbers were overwhelmed with requests for the style.

(Image Source: Cool Men’s Hair)

The skinhead culture started in London in the 1960s, and by the 80s it had spread around the world. Skinheads in America during the 80s shaved their heads. An 80s fashion phenomenon: skinhead culture intermingled with punk and reggae and a significant number of youths who followed the style of their music heroes walked around with a bald head, or partly shaved head with hair spikes.

(Image Source: Skyrock)

The rattail has been called the ‘mullet lite’ of the 1980s fashion and was most popular among boys. Whether you wore your hair short, in a mullet, or permed it, a thin strand of hair at the back of your head was left uncut and hanged down naturally to make a rattail.

(Image Source: Hairstyle Camp)

Accessories That Made 80’s Outfits Pop

(Image Source: Hasshe)

Fashions were bright and bold in the 80s but what really gave the decade its distinctive look was accessories. No outfit was complete without a large statement necklace, dangling earrings down to your shoulders and a clash of bracelets. Dainty stud earrings and drop earrings took a backseat, while more opulent styles shined. If you were out on the street, a large tote bag and sunglasses were a must, and any physical exertion required the use of a sweatband and a boombox to complete the 80’s look.

(Image Source: Double Denim Days)

Jewelry: In the 1980s, jewelry was large and distinctive. To match an edgy leather jacket , women of all ages wore giant earrings, large beaded necklaces, stacks of bracelets, and enormous brooches. While the rich slathered themselves in gold and luxe gemstones, for the most part, people preferred costume jewelry crusted with rhinestones or sparkly clear or pink gemstones. In the 80s, jewelry was not just a fashion accessory; it was a personality statement. Teenagers had their own culture of jelly bracelets and woven friendship bracelets, plastic watches, and beaded necklaces. Boy George and Michael Jackson could be seen on stage with large brooches and rappers adorned themselves in gold chain and ostentatious gold rings, but for the most part, men of the 80s didn’t wear conspicuous jewelry.


Make a statement with a dangly pair of drop earrings – flirty, discreet, yet impactful. Discover our collection of Drop Earrings, featuring enticing pearl jewelry designs for every wardrobe and occasion.

Sunglasses and big-eyed spectacles: Sunglasses in 1980’s fashion had giant frames and sported colored or mirror lenses. Wayfarers and Aviators by Rayban, and Vuarnet were some of the most popular 80s sunglasses, but there were many knock-off brands too. If you wore fashionable eyeglasses in the 80’s, they were oversized, with plastic frames.

(Image Source: Hasshe)

Boomboxes: Music was the soul of the 80s, and the only way you could take it with you was a boom box. Walking around with a huge silver radio on your shoulder became an emblem of the 80s ‘in’ crowd.

(Image Source: Hasshe)

Tote bags: Tote bags were a favorite fashion accessory – and no 80s look was complete without them. Companies such as LL Bean were already selling them for years, but in 1980, The Strand bookstore in New York hopped on the fashion trend and started promoting their own version of the bag. Companies like Esprit also made distinctive tote bags in the 80s, and they’ve become a classic fashion collectible, still selling thousands every year.

(Image Source: eBay)

[tweet_box design=”box_03″ float=”none”]FUN FACT: Studies estimate that the average woman will buy 145 bags during her lifetime.[/tweet_box]

Fanny pack: Fanny packs became popular with tourists in the 80s, then crept into the fashion scene, and finally became a useful accessory for everyone from joggers and cyclists to parents who need their hands free to manage their kids. Although fanny packs are not as popular as in the 80s, they are still important enough for designers like Louis Vuitton to include them in their ranges.

(Image Source: eBay)

Women’s belts: A popular 80s look – wide belts with an elaborate buckle worn at the waist, or on the hips. Elastic belts were also worn to rein in over large sweaters and blouses.

(Image Source: Pinterest)

Headbands: Starting with the fitness movement, eventually everyone from joggers in the park to Karate Kid and rock stars like Bruce Springsteen and Olivia Newton-John wore headbands in the 80’s. The terry-cloth headband fashion trend saw the practical sports accessory transition to a fashion ornament in bright neon colors during the80’s, and everyone who was cool styled their hair around a headband.

(Image Source: The Zeitgeist)

If you’re old enough to feel a bit sheepish when you catch a glimpse of yourself in an 80’s photo today, don’t. With its neon overload, power suits and acid wash jeans, 80s fashion was one of the most iconic so far. Everything from spandex, shoulder pads, teal eyeliner, and velour tracksuits to the neon shoelaces which defined 1980s fashion have become trend leaders and gave birth to throwback fashion influences that are predicted to continue to pop up in decades to come. Any day now, you will be able to dig out that pair of Day-Glo sneakers from the back of your cupboard and wear them again with pride.



Get your 80s fashion mojo ON by opting for the classics that can’t ever go wrong: White Pearls. Whether you’re shopping for a Pearl Necklace, Pearl Dangle Earrings, Pearl Bracelets or Mother of Pearl, white means versatility, timeless appeal and classic charm.

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January 13, 2021 - By Olivia Mitchell
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