The 80’s decade was an interesting mixture of contrasting images and the fashion of the 80’s produced several different trends, many of them tying in with the music, television shows and movies of the time. It was the decade of the yuppie, young and successful go getters in the City, who were apt to wear red braces, carry filofaxes and prop up wine bars in their lunch breaks. Button down collars and skinny neckties were all the rage. For the ladies, shoes with spiked heels and pointed toes completed the look. Supermodels, such as Christie Brinkley and Elle McPherson, were on the covers of the top fashion magazines.

It’s always funny to look back on what used to be the hottest of hot trends. The 80s for example, were a very loud and exciting time, which was absolutely represented in the fashion of that decade. The colors were bright, the leg warmers were fuzzy, and the perms, well the perms were just glorious. 

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Both men and women wore ‘power suits’ to the office. They were dressed to impress and the lure of designer labels, such as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, was taking off. Women were rising up the executive ladder and they needed to look like they meant business. Everyone over a certain age remembers the shoulder pad. They may even make a comeback, who knows? In the 80’s fashion world for women, they were everywhere. They were worn in suits and dresses, although some were removable. The glossy soap opera, Dynasty had them in abundance as Linda Evans and Joan Collins both seemed to grow them in ever increasing size. Both Dynasty and its rival, Dallas were a shop window on the most sophisticated outfits of fashion in the 80’s.

The Miami Vice show was a big influence on men’s clothes. Detectives Crockett and Tubbs (Don Johnson and Phillip Michael Thomas) were responsible for the popularity of white suits and pastel colored suits. Ray-Ban sunglasses and what came to be known as ‘designer stubble’ were also evident. Keeping a pet crocodile however, failed to catch on.

The aerobics craze which sprung up caused women to wear their exercise clothes adapted as street wear, including leg warmers, leggings and headbands. Mini skirts, particularly ra-ra skirts were also popular. Athletic gear in general moved to the street and it was felt essential to wear the latest Nike, Converse, or Adidas training shoe. Jeans were often bleached and ripped jeans were uniformly worn by the younger generation.

Each decade throws up a new trend for the young and the fashion of the 80’s had its share of cultural movements. In the UK, the New Romantic bands in the charts, such as Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet and the Human League wore flamboyant outfits with big hair doused in hair spray. Male pop stars of the day, including Boy George, wore artistically applied make up and all this was copied by the fans. Some dance clubs would not allow entrance unless you looked good. Vivienne Westwood, the fashion designer who had made her name in the 1970’s punk movement, designed Regency style clothes for the bands and she was responsible for the pirate look, adopted by Adam and the Ants.

Traditional working clothes were taken up by young people as street wear, including Dr Martins boots and chequered shirts. These were mostly worn by post punk teenagers in Britain. The Gothic movement was also an influential part of the fashion of the 80’s; with beautiful velvet dresses, and spiked dog collars, corsettes and black nail varnish.