Summary: 80s looks were predominantly about fearless expression and bold choices. The same translated to the attires born of the decade. Such was the potential in the styles, that 40-odd years down the line, the world is paying the sensational a revisit to boost up their present style quotient. In this article, we delve into some of the timeless 80s looks for women that live on.
The thing about "what goes around comes around" is that we get to relive the fun times twice. The same extends the circular trajectory of fashion and art.
To quote the book Steal Like an Artist, "All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original."
So, to take a trip down memory lane, the 80s was all about the bold, the brash and the brazen. An eye-grabbing vision in poppy tones and flashy silhouettes, the 80s fashion statement resonated well with the world's exuberant economic boom before the stock market crash of 1987.
Where money flows free and the perms are let loose, is where you shall find the essence of the 80s and it is slowly making a comeback, almost 40 years later, in a new avatar.
Let's take a look at some of the 80s looks that the 21st-century woman can pull off with a modern twist.
Puffed or padded shoulders can add that sense of authority and arrogant gravitas to hold the attention of a room while exuding a sense of unique sharpness. This seemingly silly, yet smart extension of the being can work wonders to hold the attention of the room. Coupled with bold makeup - the boss is in the bag. Alternatively, the punk-rock aesthetic may be extended to funky jackets as well.
A dynamic shift in economy and power in the 80s translated to the dressing sensibilities. One specific aspect was power suits for women. In the 80s, women had started joining the workforce in masses and had to look the part to give their male counterparts a run for their money. Celebrities and women in high designations back then popularised the look.
The extended shoulders, an effect achieved by the large shoulder pads, exuded confidence and stance. Vintage ’80s blazers with intact shoulder pads are not difficult to find secondhand today. Toned-down shoulder pads are again in good circulation today to boost the look of the 21st-century working woman - defined shoulders and a boxy cut can recreate the look well. Relaxed tailored pants or skirts, paired with classic blouses can spell 80s at your office.
When women choose to don animal print, it can surely go on to serve as a warning - either the sizzle quotient is going to go up or the teeth are ready to be bared. Again, perceived as a very bold choice, animal print clothing was the rave of the town in the 80s. Coupled with pearls, shirts, dresses, tops, pants, jackets, and purses host the print on them loudly and boldly. It finds favor among the elite and the experimental alike.
Popular then, popular now - the love for denim is timeless. Be it high-waist jeans, overalls, dungarees, jackets, acid-washed jeans, paperbag waist jeans - denim has loyal followers across generations. Inspired by various movies, shows like Stranger Things and more, women are increasingly opting for the casual, chic and smart tonality of denim. Be it summer or winter, coupled with any color, denim seems to just pop. It is the go-to material for women to showcase their various moods - innocence, comfort, boss-lady, maternal, and more.
80s looks have made a big-time comeback to spice up the dresses and skirts that we wear today. From sequined bodycon and bodices to padded shoulder dresses, from puffed sleeve solid and floral dresses to polka dot extravaganza, from color block wrap dresses to midi flared cotton dresses, the spirit of 80s fashion can be found in almost every dress that a woman picks off the rack. Similarly, mini-skirts, pleat long skirts, flared skirts with whacky prints, bodycon skirts with a slit on one side, high-waist long skirts and many more have made a maximalist come-back because the 80s look was never about the minimal.
Leg warmers and long skirts were a huge part of the 80s look and in glaring colors. The same has made a comeback in pairing with baggy clothes, sports attires, over leggings and stirrup pants to provide accentuation. Mainly a utilitarian invention to keep the calf muscles warm, leg warmers became a roaring fashion trend. Aerobic outfits, skinny jeans for women and oversized sweaters are garments that add a finishing touch to the retro look.
The 80s was a rave in its own right and dominated by gusto and grit. Social and economic dynamics had a huge part in defining the 80s fashion expression. The same has only escalated in recent times with sentiments like "walk the talk", "going retro" and "wear what you feel". A trip back to the 80s has actually proved inspirational, allowing fashion a scope to revisit previous creations to gain inspiration for the present.
i) The 80s saw an economic boom till 1987 and that defined the bold and brazen tonality of 80s looks
ii) Power suits were a game changer and signified the massive foray of women into the workplace.
iii) Denim was, and still is, close to everyone's hearts in any shape or form.
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