Summary: The fearless style quotient of 80s fashion, for men, was an extension of their sociocultural change with the times. Influenced by the outrageous winds of the era, men’s fashion reinvented itself in more ways than one to foray into the field of edgy and the world has never looked back since.
Style makes a man. Having said that, styles change with time. But some styles are as timeless as they come.
80s fashion for men was on a literal roll in the decade dominated by freedom of expression, the loud and the oh-so-bold. In fact, some 80s fashion styles for men were so edgy and evergreen they may have never even gone out of style, let alone make a comeback.
So with the leather on your sleeves and the rock-n-roll in your stride, let’s shake off the old-is-gold adage to usher in the old-is-now vibe.
Donning leather and strutting in has been a style statement for as long as one can remember. However, the charm of 80s fashion for men can be attributed handsomely to the usage of leather. Be it leather jackets to pull off the ultimate stud or leather pants to flaunt the daring within, leather garments spell ‘boss’ better than any other. Adorned mostly by punks, bikers, celebrities and more to pull off the ‘bad boy’, leather remains a timeless classic because it can pull off the ‘good boy’ with as much style and panache. No wonder the 21st century is still hungry for it, with the appeal set to stick around for many more decades.
The double denim was a rave in the 80s fashion scene for men. The humble pairing of a denim jacket and a pair of jeans would work wonders for the denim dudes looking to stand out at a party or looking to just casually stroll down the street. Today, the pairing may have a different effect altogether. Once a head-turner, double denim in the 21st century is almost extinct and looked at quizzically. But then again, any man willing to make a statement and stand out of the crowd can pull off the double denim without a second thought. Just remember, the tones on the upper half should match the lower.
An innocent layering or lending a foreboding impression, bomber jackets can swing either way. The military bomber jackets were worn usually to impart a sense of manliness in association with the idea of military strength and grit while the casual bomber imparted a sense of warmth and ease. The letterman jacket (better known as the varsity jacket) was mostly aimed at serving as a layer. The bomber jacket’s history dates back to WWI but the charm has hung around it seems. Even today, the bomber is the go-to boyfriend aesthetic that most women swear by ‘not’ swooning over.
Tracksuits were a great addition to the athleisure quotient of 80s fashion for men. Airy, breezy, oversized, contrast-driven, and, at times, neon, the tracksuit frenzy has not left the chat yet. A favorite among everyone, ranging from celebrities to the common people, the casual essence of tracksuits has survived the ravages of four decades. In an era dominated by stress and an urgent thirst for work-life balance, tracksuits have provided men with the sweet respite of stripes, block prints, and solids in the form of comfortable casual wear. It is also quite synonymous with the style of rappers and singers.
High-top sneakers find willing wearers across the globe with almost any attire barring suits, and even with suits, at times now, to send a key message across – ‘our highs don’t shy’!
To delve into a story, let us remember the game of basketball and its all-time greatest icon. Any guesses? Yes, it’s Michael Jordan. The OG Air Jordan sneakers were custom-built for Michael in 1984 and released to the public for retail sale in 1985. And the trend of Air Jordans has only grown. The style of high-top sneakers found expression across brands. Another notable brand in this regard would be Converse All-Stars. The ‘drip’ is quite potent still.
Hawaiin shirts or any printed shirt can trace their rage back to the 80s. Nothing screams as “retro” as these breezy, in-your-face patterns and colors. A flexible option between casual and uber-chic, the fad of fancy shirt prints is yet to take the leave of the global fashion stage. Paired with mono-toned trousers or shorts, these shirts hold the power of making the wearer command attention in a room, on the beach or at the promenade of a mall. Now that the parallels have been drawn, Hawaiian shirts have made a major comeback to up the style quotient of men everywhere.
80s fashion for men was a hot cakewalk from baggy comfort to tight gutsy. A man would do well to remember that style speaks for his character, whether one admits it or not. So it’s up to him, to change the style, tweak it, or embrace it. Cheers to the 80s till then!