Summary: In the 80s, fashion trends were all about being expressive. But it was not the normal kind that people had been used to till then. It was a time of pomp and glamour, aided by the free flow of money—the possibilities were endless yet well-utilized. Today, as these trends make a dramatic comeback in altered forms, people have hopped aboard the retro express.
What goes around comes around, and in the world of fashion, it's considered gospel.
80s fashion is an era that keeps on giving even after 40 years and is back with a bang to disrupt the cycle of subtle expression that's been reigning over the fashion world for a while now.
80s fashion was all out the pomp, glitter, sequins, and bold, inspired by the revolutionary mindset and free flow of cash, till the stock market crash of 1987. But beyond that, 80s fashion was characteristic of gender-inclusivity and fluidity catering to never-before-explored niches of creative expression.
Influenced by the mantras of "more and more" and "the sky is the limit", designers shattered glass ceilings and envisioned like never before. It is only fair that designers today are revisiting the gutsy lanes of the boldest decade of fashion—a magical era of saturated colors, perms, shoulder pads, leg warmers, denim, varsity jackets, spandex, power suits and more.
Bold, striking, assertive, and boss-lady-like, shoulder pads have made a drastic comeback in equally lofty or toned-down forms. Shoulder pads have a rich historical significance in bridging the gender divide. As the number of women who joined the workforce during the latter half of the twentieth century increased, designers came up with shoulder pads to quite literally allow women and men to work shoulder-to-shoulder by widening a woman's frame.
Power suits also followed this trend. Usually spotted with tops, bodycon dresses, blazers, suits and even shirts, they go brilliantly with high-rise trousers or jeans. The combination looks quite classy with high heels and platforms.
Leg warmers, initially designed for dancers to keep their leg muscles warm, became quite the fashion statement during the 80s. It's always been a mixed bag of feelings with leg warmers but it's beyond a doubt that it triggers intrigue. Celebrities have picked up leg warmers again to add that element of flashy eccentricity. Billie Eilish, Bella Hadid, Dua Lipa and even the Kardashians have grabbed the chance to get aboard this retro trend.
80s fashion trends saw the iconic rise of hip-hop and punk fashion which have yet again made fashion headlines in the 21st century. While punk was anti-capitalist and anti-establishment, hip-hop was about freedom of expression and ease. The spikes, chains, mohawks, varsity/bomber jackets, baggy and skinny pants, boots and loafers—all are characteristic of the return of these individual styles. While punk is all about edgy, skin-tight, and dark, hip-hop is more liberal, easy-going, and poppy.
Fun fact: Both punk and hip hop attires were born out of music and culture association and requirements.
People are quite literally living the denim dream today. To be very honest, the versatility of denim never left the fashion scene and has a rich history of transitioning from workwear to fun wear. Initially used as only workwear because of its durable nature, denim took the mainstream route post World War II. American soldiers spread the fad outside of America while they were stationed across Europe and in Japan.
A symbol of hot casual, denim commands the attention of the room even today. Both casual and chic, depending on how one pairs it, denim is a universal style that is yet to lose its sheen. Denim jeans, jackets, shorts, overalls, dungarees, skirts and even shoes are always in demand across markets to sport that classy rugged look.
80s fashion trends had this niche taste for icons and logos and the trend has made a fashionable comeback in recent years. While the intermittent years between the 1980s and now saw color spurts being replaced by subtle and somber, complex designs and edgy shapes followed after. However, currently, the world has managed to balance the rage with the somber and directed its focus once again toward the simplicity and impact of logos and icons.
This is the same reason why eccentric prints with prominent logos/icons of brands sell for more, for example, Adidas, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci, Coco Chanel, Levi's, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, and Guess to name a few. Icons and logos float better for the toned-down look that people seek with a pinch of flavor in subtle designs and color.
The fact that 80s fashion is still making headlines is reason enough to appreciate the creativity and style of the era that abided by the ethos of loud and daring. Today, we are facing similar times wherein people seek creative and ideological escape through clothing. It's thus the best option to allow a well-tested era of rebellion to lead the way.
i) 80s fashion was about being extra loud to disrupt the monotony of establishment
ii) The 80s wardrobe was futuristic and giving enough that the quirkiness still finds relevance in the 21st century
iii) Denim, invented in the 19th century, is a fashion fad that has only grown in favor over the last two centuries.
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