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1980s Vintage Fashion

September 13, 2014

The eighties! They were all about Cyndi Lauper kookily jumping about, Kate Bush whirling mysteriously, and Madonna striding sexily.Depending on your 1980s Vintage fashion icon you could be Cyndi, heaped with beads and with wild frizzy hair in bright red, unlikely orange or canary yellow, changing each day. You need a little bustier, a rara skirt and mismatched tennis pumps or perhaps some little pixie boots. And quite a wild stare.


Cyndi Lauper, Brasil in 1989, by lucascynnogue

Cyndi Lauper, Brasil in 1989, by lucascynnogue


1980s Vintage Fashion Icons-Kate Bush

Speaking of wild stares, to emulate Kate Bush you need one. Bigger and wilder even than Lauper. Keep the mass of frizzy hair, too, but your clothes can be simpler. A white flowing dress, or a skin tight green leotard will do the trick.

The Madonna look

For the Madonna 1980s Vintage Fashion look, the gaze isn’t so wild as sultry, and she rocks a less madly colourful vesion of the frizzy-hair-many-bracelets-rara-skirt combo. Add some dangling crucifixes and net gloves, too.





1980s Vintage Fashions were really epitomized by this idea of lots of colour, lots of accessories, and lots of fun.


Makeup was red lipstick and many shades of eye shadow, and a triangle of bright pink blusher too. Hair was frizz of course, and if you weren’t naturally endowed with plenty of bouncing curls a bubble perm was the answer.


Jeans were also a staple of 1980s Vintage Fashion, and it was still really important what label (prominently) adorned them. Calvin Klein led the pack, alongside Lee, Levis, Wrangler and Guess. They were high waisted, slightly tapered in the leg, and came in acid washes or faded pale blue. It was cute to wear leg warmers over the top.


1980s high waist jeans

high waist jeans


This is because the 80s were the decade of sports and sports wear.

Sporting accessories

Olivia Newton John sang her smash hit, “Let’s Get Physical” dressed in a headband and leotard, and it was ok to wear either sporting accessories (headbands, wristbands) or sporting clothes (trainers, sweat suits) on the streets.


Shell suits, their bastard descendants, came into being in 1980s Vintage Fashion towards the end of the eighties. Violently colourful, they consisted of a matching baggy zipped jacket, and matching baggy elasticated trousers, made out of shiny shiny fabric.

1980s Vintage Fashion – Power dressing

If you were a working woman, you probably avoided all this gaiety and colour (apart from your makeup) and opted for a power suit. To emulate a man in an attempt at equality, they had large shoulder pads, and either skirt or trousers, along with high heels and a tightly controlled hairstyle. A structured bag completed the look.



1980s shell suit tops and jackets from Blue17 vintage