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80s one shoulder tops launch a comeback at major fashion outlets

January 5, 2019

If you attend any vintage 80s party, or even a fancy dress costume event downtown, you’re bound to see many dressed in 80s one shoulder tops. That’s just a sign of how popular they’ve become in the past few years!

Love ‘em or hate ‘em – 80s one shoulder tops just can’t be ignored. They managed to turn heads over the years, and capture the imagination of leading fashionistas…And they’re back with a vengeance today


80s one shoulder tops launch a comeback at major fashion outlets

The Ladies’ home journal 1947

Flesh and Skin – 80s fashion style

From barely a wink of a woman’s ankle in the 1930s and 40’s, to ample amounts of cleavage in the 1950s and 60’s, to belly revealing crop top and the mini-skirt of the 70s. These were disdainfully called “Slut Fashion” by the popular press back then. But 80s one shoulder tops brought fashion sense and “respectability” to showing flesh and skin.


From the 80s punk rock fashion, to other eighties smash hits like the teasy shoulder sweatshirt – they all had flesh flashing themes and variants in them. But what’s unique about the modern-day revival of 80s one shoulder tops today, is how elegantly they seem to integrate into contemporary wardrobes.


Looking back at one-shouldered fashion from the eighties, is like hoping into a time machine and travelling back to when you were a care-free, young woman. Even the social taboos of flashing skin and flesh didn’t really bother you too much. And that’s one reason many women really love the 80s so much!


Here’s a look back at some popular 80s dresses and tops you might encounter at an 80s party or even while casually strolling down the street. We’ll even tell you how to pull it off!

80s one shoulder tops - Punks at the Wave Gotik Treffen, Leipzig, Germany.

Punks at the Wave Gotik Treffen, Leipzig, Germany.

80s style for today


  1. For 80s fashion worn with contemporary style, pair a big baggy 80s t shirt or sweatshirt with a big block letter slogan, worn off one shoulder, with leggings or a tutu skirt. Pull on leg warmers to complete the 80s party style.


  1. 80s crop tops: Truth be told, crops were very much part of a legacy that the eighties inherited from the 1970s. What started out as an abs-flashing fad created by weightlifters, by cutting the bottom of their 80s t shirt, turned into an 80s fashion movement that was wholeheartedly embraced by men in and out of the gym. But with fashion outlets like Nike and others jumping on the bandwagon, women can be seen in a sexy crop top everywhere today.

Crop top and mini skirt

Crop top and mini skirt


To pull it off, wear your crop tops with yoga pants and sneakers…and you’ll definitely turn heads!


  1. Dressy 80s one shoulder tops: Sure, there’s no harm in a woman showing a bit of skin and flesh every now and then – like when you’re at an 80s costume party! But there may be awkward moments if you do so under some circumstances. If you are a professional woman for instance, pursuing a career, or attending more formal event, then perhaps you should consider dressier, albeit toned-down, single shoulder tops.


You could pull this look off a ruffled shirt paired with an 80s style one-shoulder bow top. Alternately, pair your 80s one shoulder tops with a modern-day high-waisted dressy pant, and a pair of flats. You’re all set to go!


  1. Layered one shoulder tops: Let’s face it: 80s one shoulder tops are fun to wear when you are indoors, or even if you want to portray that 80s party girl look on a warm evening outdoors. Sadly though, with one-shoulder outfits, it’s kinda fun to wear them outdoors too – not just at a 80s punk rock concert, but perhaps strolling down with that someone special, doing some romantic window shopping!


Well, if that’s how you want to wear your 80s one shoulder tops, then here’s a thought. How about some layering? Take a gauze wrap or pashmina shawl with you as you head out the door and drape it on your forearm. And when it gets chilly outdoors, simply wrap yourself with your accessory. You could even walk around in your one-shouldered top, and just drape a light blazer around your shoulders, without actually wearing it.


Suzanne Somers entertains the crew aboard the aircraft carrier USS RANGER (CV-61).

Suzanne Somers entertains the crew aboard the aircraft carrier USS RANGER (CV-61).


1. Ruffled 80s one shoulder tops: Don’t you just love ruffles? They make you feel so “girly”, but more importantly they’ll make your one-shouldered tops much more “acceptable” even where formality is expected. That’s because the ruffles have a way of taking away the attention from the bare shoulder and placing it on frills and flash of the ruffled shoulder.


If you love the 80s and want to pull off an one-shoulder 80s ruffled-top look, then consider wearing a single-coloured top – white or black seems to work best. Wear it with a pair of light blue denim jeans – either skinny or normal fit, or a pencil skirt. Properly selected ruffles not only make your figure more proportionate, but if you have a petite frame, they’ll make you look just a tad taller. It’s just an optical illusion!


  1. Cold shoulder tops worn as 80s one shoulder tops: Some women prefer to split the difference, and not go for the “full one shoulder” look. If you are one of those that want to dress for party time, but also want to play it “safe” too (perhaps the boss will be in attendance!) then go for the cold-shouldered look, which can be worn as a one shouldered top.


To pull this off, make sure you test the elastic – it shouldn’t be too tight on the top. Cold shoulder tops with taunt elastics will promptly snap and cause the top to ride up, effectively covering up the “bare” shoulder. One hot tip: Consider wearing a strapless bra with this outfit!


  1. One shoulder top body suits: If you enjoy off-the-shoulder outfits and ruffles, then you’ll feel right at home with body suits – which are really 80s one shoulder tops with a more modern twist. The best part of using your bodysuit like a one-shoulder top, is that they are versatile enough to work in any weather – heat, warm, cold! All you need to do is adjust the sleeves, your fit to walk into your 80s fancy dress costume party or take on a casual date!


To make these body suits look like 80s one shoulder tops, you could pair them with with any style shredded jeans, and a pair of cool 80s style shades.


  1. One shoulder peplum tops: If you’re looking for that “springy” look with your 80s one shoulder tops, then Peplums are just the way to get there! They’re not only sexy and flirty, but they’re truly feminine – which easily disarms anyone that feels flashing a bit of skin is a no no!


To pull this off, go with 80s one shoulder tops that have ruffle and eyelet details. Pair it off with a pair of ripped jeans with frayed hems, and then finish it all with a pair of sneakers or flats.

80s one shoulder tops - Striped one shoulder top

Striped one shoulder top

Rocking 80s one shoulder tops in the Twenty Tens

 You don’t have to go back in time to rock 80s one shoulder tops in the 2010s. You can buy or style lots of different tops to give you that 80s style, particularly worn off the shoulder.


Ask any party girl today, and she’ll confess her love for the 80s because of that decade’s versatile extravagant over-the-top fashion. Today, 80s one shoulder tops are making a huge comeback in the Twenty Tens as off-the-shoulder tops, cold shoulder tops, one-sleeve tops and all the variations and combinations you can imagine.