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Girls Just Wanna Have Fun in 80s style tops

August 31, 2018

Make like Madonna’s virgin in a frothy white lace top or get physical to Olivia Newton-John’s sound track in a Jane Fonda-style neon-bright spandex body suit – it’s all magic in 80s style tops.


However, you wear your 80s style tops, get your inspiration from the ground-breaking, genre-bending sound tracks of the 80s, from Cyndi Lauper’s girl power lyrics set to rocking tunes, to Madonna’s take on taboo topics, to the best of Michael Jackson – the 80s had it all.


Sarah McLeod_musician wearing slogan tee

Sarah McLeod_musician

80s style tops – Rock with You

Nothing says 80s style tops like sleeveless slogan tees in black cotton with big white slogans and pictures of rock stars on front and back. Style your tees knotted up high to show off your toned abs, and layer on plenty of chunky metal chains over top. Finish the look with a leather mini skirt and throw a stone washed oversized jacket with plenty of patches over it all. Add white high-top sneakers or black patent leather Doc Martins and you are ready to rock.

Sameksha Singh photoshoot in red checkered shirt

Sameksha Singh photoshoot in red checkered shirt

80s style tops – Funky Town

If you wanna go down to Funkytown, make sure you add some bright colour to your hair, spike it up with gel and spray, layer a buffalo check shirt over a white or black 80s style slogan tee, add black spandex leggings or ripped jeans and top it all off with black Doc Martins adorned with plenty of silver metal. Don’t forget the bright blue eye shadow, pink blush and red lipstick.

Uptown Girl

Be like Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl and dress yourself in a satiny pastel pink top with big puffy sleeves tucked into your high waisted acid wash jeans, pegged up over bright pink pumps. Tie a big pink bow in your permed, teased hair and you will take their breath away with every step you take.

Jessie’s Girl

Think sugar-sweet like Molly Ringwald, add a bad girl twist and you have an 80s style top that brings Jessie’s Girl to life. Wear a demure pink top with long full sleeves over shiny pink spandex leggings or a long-sleeved body suit tucked into a mini tutu skirt – just make sure to combine demure with daring and you’ve got the look down.

570px-80s style tops - Hooters Calendar Girl Melissa Poe

Hooters Calendar Girl Melissa Poe


Olivia Newton-John’s sweaty anthem to all things physical shook up the 80s style with skin-tight body suit tops under spandex leggings topped with brightly-coloured leg warmers, finished off with terry cloth head and wrist bands and short punky layered hair. Jane Fonda took the look a step further with her jazzercise videos and athleisure wear that went from the gym to the dance floor, a la Flashdance style. Embrace the trend with floral body suit tops worn over bright pink or blue leggings and throw a moto jacket over it all to bring it to the streets of today.

Ebony and Ivory 80s style tops

Another big style trend of the 80s was black and white, preferably spotted but also checked, plaid, striped or floral. 80s style tops rocked super-sized black and white polka dots on big puffy sleeves, V or boat necklines and sashes or peplums at the waist.


Broad horizontal black and white stripes took a cropped sweater top to the next level, especially paired with pale blue jeans or a bright yellow mini skirt. Depending on whether it was uptown girl or downtown funky, the look was finished with brightly coloured high-heeled pumps or white sneakers.

80s style tops - Guasunteñita Reinita Elizabeth Alban

Guasunteñita Reinita Elizabeth Alban

Eye of the Tiger

To bring the Maneater look alive, 80s style tops were all about the animal prints – leopard, zebra, cheetah, snake – all shapes and sizes of animal print in all kinds of styles. There were the timeless classics in gold and brown or black leopard or cheetah prints, worn in shirt style tops or in slinky fitted body suit tops. Black and white leopard print T-shirts were big too, worn over black leather mini skirts and fishnet tights. Zebra print tops with dolman sleeves tucked into pencil skirts were a different spin on the animal print trend.

Nine to Five

If you want to bring back the look of office wear in 80s style tops, think nylon floral blouses with pussy bow neckties worn with tight pencil skirts down to the knees, nude pantyhose and kitten heels.The tops should be brightly coloured with big florals and the bows should be big and full. The shoulders should be padded or puffed, and a ruffle or frill doesn’t hurt either.


Another way to rock the 9 to 5 look is with power suiting, wearing 80s style tops with high-necked ruffled collars tucked into skirts and topped off with big-shouldered statement jackets. Or silky bright shirt style tops worn under power suits.

For more of that sexy secretary look, tuck a fitted blouse with a big bow knotted at the neck into a full pleated skirt or a plaid circle skirt.

80s style tops - SZA AfroPunk Festival 2015

SZA AfroPunk Festival

True Colours

80s style tops were all about the colours and shapes. The shoulders were big and bold, ruffled, puffed, padded or laced. The prints were brightly coloured in neon’s or florals and the fabrics were shiny and bright. Some striking styles included bright yellow tops with puffy sleeves, high necks and a black bow tie to finish the look. Or a white satin top with puffy shoulders, fitted long sleeves, one arm in black, the other in white.

80s style tops – Who’s That Girl?

Turning heads was the goal of 80s fashion, the more outrageous the better. Picture Madonna in all her varied glory, from virginal ruffled and laced white tops to black leather corset tops to white cropped tees under big jean jackets to neon-colored tee shirts with the sleeves rolled up and one shoulder bare. Every look told a different story and showed us a different girl.


Madonna’s 80s vibe also included sheer short-sleeved cropped tops made of black fishnet fabric, worn over black bras or on top of white tee shirts, depending on which look she was going for. And with every look, she added multiple long strings of pearls and chains, a black choker around her throat and the signature big bow in her hair.

Metalband brings '80s hard rock classics to life


So, have you been inspired by 80s rock music to give 80s style tops a whirl? Make it a celebration like Kool & The Gang and rock some bright, flashy and sexy 80s tops with skin-tight mini skirts or go all retro-cool with the athleisure trends of the 80s like Newton-John or Fonda and show off your shape in spandex or lycra body suit tops worn under acid wash jeans or track suit pants. You have so many choices and 80s style icons to choose from, there is no lack of inspiration in both the music and the fashion of the 80s.

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Buenos Aires-1983.