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A retrospective of 80s fashion women with wear-now ideas

October 2, 2019

Take a virtual walk through the key trends and styles of 80s fashion women and see how wearable and on-trend these looks are for today’s day-to-night dressing.


Some trends never go out of style and this is as true for most women in 80s fashion as for some many other classic trends from past decades. Browse through some of the key looks from 80s fashion for women and learn how to mash-up these looks into your current wardrobe for an on-trend retro-modern spin that is all your own.

A retrospective of 80s fashion women with wear-now ideas

80s fashion women lookback


When you look back at 80s fashion for women, some of the key trends and styles that spring to mind are the neon-bright colours and exaggerated styles epitomized by celebrities like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, popular movies like “Ghostbusters” and “Back to the Future” and trending TV shows like “MacGyver” and “Full House”. Have you noticed how these movies and TV shows have made a comeback today?


The same is true of most women’s 80s fashion  – see the most popular trends and styles alive and well today, like fanny packs, shoulder pads, high waisted jeans, one-shoulder tops, animal prints, Lycra, velvet, spandex and sequins.


80s fashion for women had its influencers, just like we have today. Global supermodels like Evangelista, Naomi, Cindy, Cheryl and Christie pioneered the glam fashion of the 1980s, while Lady Diana set the trend for the preppy Sloan Ranger look.


Read on for the key trends of Women’s 80s fashion that have been reinvented for today’s catwalks and everyday wear:

A retrospective of 80s fashion women with wear-now ideas

  • High waisted pants and jeans

Today’s supermodels like Kendell Jenner and Gigi Hadid are avid adopters of high-waisted jeans and trousers, rocking these looks from catwalk to main street.


Pair your stone washed high-waisted jeans with a cropped top for a modern take on this 80s fashion for women trend. Remember to roll up your hems for that “pegged hem” look and add white ankle boots to finish the look.


Don’t forget to add a pair of reflective sun glasses and a belt bag for a quintessential nineteen-eighties fashion look reworked for today.


  • Belt or Waist Bags:

Known as fanny packs back in the day, social media influencers are rocking the rebranded belt or waist bags that evolved from Women’s 80s fashion and are as functional as the original fanny packs but now with style twists that make them a key fashion accessory.


Look for belt bags in florals or mixed media textures and wear them with a timeless classic combo of white T-shirt and dark wash skinny jeans as the primary embellishment.

A retrospective of 80s fashion women with wear-now ideas

  • Padded Shoulders:

80s fashion for women rocked power suits from the boardroom to the TV screens of soap operas like Dynasty and Dallas, and all these suits had one thing in common:  exaggerated shoulder pads that gave every woman a powerful silhouette.


Both men and women embraced shoulder pads and they were not confined to suits, either. They embellished slinky fitted tops, jumpsuits, patterned dresses, puffy-sleeved blouses and pretty much any garment with a sleeve.


  • Jungle Wear:

Elevate the nostalgia in your style with animal print anything – another key trend of 80s fashion for women.


The most popular, and frankly the most timeless and classic way to rock animal prints is the quintessential leopard print in true-to-nature brown and black colour combos on a floaty top, a pencil skirt or a shift dress.


Or dip your toes in trend with animal print pumps or a structured purse – can’t-go-wrong must-haves for both the retro and modern fashionista alike.


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