80s Men’s Fashion: Designers Insights
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80s Men’s Fashion: Designers Insights

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Summary: Men's fashion from the 1980s invokes a sense of nostalgia. Notable styles from 80s men's fashion that continue to inspire designers include Denim (faded, ripped, acid washed, even embellished!), the iconic relaxed fit bell bottoms, T-shirts with huge printed brand logos, leather jackets, high-top sneakers (remember converse?), colors (neon pink, fluorescent, & eye-catching prints), and tuxedos.

80s Fashion Subcultures

According to Christopher S. Dawson, "A subculture is defined as a “segment of a culture which (while reflecting the dominant aspects of the main culture) [shows] different customs, norms, and values.”

There were many fashion subcultures in the 1980s. Some of the most popular ones were new wave, goth, and preppy. New-wave fashion was all about being different and standing out from the mainstream. It was inspired by the punk movement and incorporated punk fashion styles. Goth fashion was dark and mysterious. It was inspired by gothic music and literature. Inspired by the Ivy League style, preppy fashion was clean and classic and was popular among wealthy young people.

1. Punk

In contrast to today, punk clothing was considered a visual statement against conformity and non-compliant views. One of the most stunning manifestations of young activism to challenge the existing quo was the punk scene of the 1980s.

Punk fashion in the 1980s was characterized by ripped thin jeans, band t-shirts, multicolored mohawks, and leather or denim jackets. Punk fashion is all about dressing in your own unique, provocative fashion, with ripped vests, metallic and sequined fabric, glitter, and huge hats.


2. Heavy Metal

Another popular 80s fashion subculture is Heavy Metal. The younger generation in the 80s who experienced oppression or exclusion from their peers resorted to metal because of its dark and depressing themes that appeal to disillusioned youngsters. Metalheads frequently take satisfaction in their sense of separation and seclusion. They disagree with society's objectives and principles.

3. New Romantics

New Romantic

As a 1980s fashion subculture, New Romantics ideologized changing gender norms, mainstream discussion of homosexuality, individuality, self-expression, and romanticism. 80s men's New Romantic fashion included oversized straight pants with suspenders, loose ties, button-down shirts, and frilly high-neck shirts.

4. Goth

A Goth is defined as a person who appreciates Gothic literature, romanticism, and horror in general as well as the "darker" aspect of life and death. They frequently dress in all-black or dark-colored attire, including long trench coats and corsets. The link between goths and despair, loneliness, and cynicism toward society is frequently mentioned.


80s Men's Fashion Trends

1.Shoulder Pads

One of the edgy 1980s fashion trends includes shoulder pads, which are quite distinctive. It gives the garment structure and is really high-fashion. The outfit had an instant appeal because of the shoulder pads. Shoulder pads gave the wearer a sense of wearing something edgy, strong, and magnificent. Shoulder pads were used in dresses, jackets, blazers, and blouses.

Shoulder Pads

2. 80s Men's Casual wear

Everyday 80s fashion was the most cheerful fashion period of all time. Men generally wore acid-wash jeans during the 1980s casual fashion era, frequently paired with a coordinating oversized denim jacket. Dark, bright, and vivid tees and baggy shirts were also popular during this period, and the preferred outerwear was, bomber jackets, leather jackets, windbreakers, fringes, and sweaters.

High-top sneakers were the ideal casual shoe for a variety of appearances when it comes to footwear.

80s Men's Casual wear

3. Parachute Pants

Early 1980s fashion featured nylon parachute pants, also referred to as bugle boy pants. No, parachute pants are not Harem pants. Parachute pants mostly were loose fit, often made out of nylon with zippers or huge pockets all over them. Parachute pants were common amount the 80s hip-hop fashion era.

4. 80s Athletica

It appears that athleisure and activewear brands have thrived more than ever in recent years. However, this trend is not very fresh. Leotards and tights, nylon athletic gym shorts, high-contrast clothing, and an obsession with fitness were all part of the 1980s athletic fashion.

Monochromatic tracksuits, joggers, sneakers, and windbreakers were all hugely popular in the 1980s and were suddenly accepted as everyday clothing.

80s Athletica

5. Polo's & 1980 Preppy Fashion

Ralph Lauren became well-known by marketing a way of life that, in the 1980s and 1990s, perfectly captured American style - Polo by Ralph Lauren. Men realized the potential of the polo as the ideal transitional piece between smart casual and weekend wear with chinos and jeans or shorts and boat shoes in the summer, which caused its popularity to soar.

Preppy fashion originated in the late 1890s and early 1900s when wealthy men who attended preparatory and Ivy League institutions wore it as a sort of status symbol.

Due to the success of Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and Lacoste, these garments, which were still considered to be a sign of privilege in the 1950s, were now being produced for the general public.

Preppy Fashion

6. Denim

Acid wash, stone denim, ripped denim, studded denim, shredded denim, designer.- the 1980s men's fashion had it all.

First, to introduce a denim line in 1977, Calvin Klein inspired other fashion designers to include denim in their collections. Designer jeans evolved into a status symbol that was flaunted in expensive marketing efforts.

Azzedine Alaa folded denim into form-fitting clothing, many of which had the 1980s power dressing silhouette of wide boxy shoulders and small waist, and high-end designer Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel created enormous unisex denim blazers.

Bands that played heavy metal or glam metal, such as Def Leppard, Poison, and Bon Jovi, were known for their signature looks of acid, snow-washed, and ripped jeans paired with fringed or motorcycle jackets. Denim still has a huge following worldwide but never had it better than in the 1980s.

Key takeaways

  • Nothing has flown in and out of fashion as quickly (or frequently) as shoulder pads, and whenever the 1980s are mentioned, spools of lame and life-size bows are usually the first things that come to mind.
  • Some of the most enduring fashion trends to date were quietly introduced in the 1980s. The 80s silhouettes with their bright hues and sharp tailoring are back in style.

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