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Popular clothes worn in 80s fashion making a comeback today

September 12, 2018

Despite it being more than 2-decades ago, clothes worn in 80s fashion are gaining in popularity. The washed jean and leather jacket craze is back in full force!


It was celebrities like Jane Fonda, Madonna and Brooke Shields that made 80s style popular. Today, thanks to a slew of contemporary celebs, clothes worn in 80s fashion are back in vogue

Contemporary 80s fashion trends

There’s a juxtaposition for you: Pitting popular 80s fashion with contemporary wardrobe pieces, and then calling it fashionable. Well, the fact is that so many of the clothes worn in 80s fashion are inspiring modern-day designers. From jackets with shoulder pads, to parachute pants and high waisted trousers and jeans. They’re making a resurgence.


Let’s take a look at four 80s costumes that can be easily merged with current fashion style. The result:  A classic 80s look that’s brought into the contemporary fashion world.

Madonna onstage in black leather.

Madonna onstage in black leather. Ronald Woan, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

  • Clothes worn in 80s fashion – The unforgettable leather Jacket

It was the eighties that ushered in the era of the Supermodel. And when it came to 80s fashion trends, no one showed them off better that Super model Cindy Crawford. Back in her day on the runway, she rocked many a leather jacket to wow her audiences across the world.


And as clothes worn in 80s fashion are making their comeback, Cindy was recently seen at the Calvin Klein Collection wearing split-legged pants. But what took the edge (just barely!) off that edgy look was a sleek black leather jacket.


But it’s not just in fashion settings that Cindy loves to sport leather. To make a point that 80s style still rocks, she wore another leather jacket and white loafers to take a casual stroll down the streets of New York.

Fluorescent leg warmers - High Waisted White Jeans

High Waisted White Jeans. By Jamie [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Clothes worn in 80s fashion – The wave of high waisted fashion

Trouser waists have been a particular fashion style that dates back to the 1940s. And high waisted pants were among the early waist-centric fashion statement. In fact, the then-popular Zoot Suit had waists that almost came chest-high! But pants with high waists really came into their own in the late 1970s. They became popular 80s wardrobe pieces when Gen-X’ers revolted against the punk fashion of the prior decade.


And then, among the list of popular clothes worn in 80s fashion, there’s high waisted jeans. This popular 80s look was initially a rave in 1950s Hollywood and became a phenomenon in the 60s, with Marilyn Monroe wearing them on and off set. High waisted fashion really became a “thing” in 80s fashion trends, when music group Guess did a publicity blitz to make them popular.


Today, thanks to the wardrobe choices of contemporary celebs, clothes worn in 80s fashion are becoming popular once more. Popular female icons like Pixie Lott, Gigi Hadid, Selena Gomez and Lady Gaga were all seen sporting high waisted clothing recently.

Malcolm McLaren - funeral cortege.

Malcolm McLaren – funeral cortege. By Mary Carson  CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons

  • Clothes worn in 80s fashion – The punk fashion revolution

Many 80s fashion trends were widely influenced by celebrities, including stars of the punk scene.  In the U.K, punk fashion drew its strength from the string of Kings Road shops owned and operated by punk rocker of Sex Pistol fame turned fashion designer, Malcolm McLaren and his partner Vivienne Westwood.


The duo popularized punk-inspired fashion style under the “Destroy” brand. Punk-style clothes worn in 80s fashion included the Bum bag, slogan T-shirt, leather jacket and ripped and knotted shirts.


At Balenciaga, punk fashion was in full bloom as brands like Junya Watanabe, Miu Miu and Kenzo paraded their contemporary punk-inspired 80s costumes.

Clothes worn in 80s fashion - Fluorescent leg warmers

Fluorescent leg warmers. By David Jones (Fluorescent leg warmers) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  • Warming leg warmers

An icon from vintage eighties fashion, leg warmers are all the rave today. These “feetless” warm, long socks were once a staple amongst clothes worn in 80s fashion. Today, you can pull off a very comfortable contemporary 80s style look featuring leg warmers.


Take one of your short powder-blue denim skirts, and pair it with a loose top – white was a popular 80s colour, so go with that. Add a nice pair of sheer tights to the mix, and then finish it off with a pair of leg warmers – grey will be a great colour combination for this outfit.


You can also pull off a contemporary leg-warming version of 80s fashion style using a loose T-shirt dress. For this look, choose a darker contemporary dress – perhaps one with a V-cut hem. Of course, don’t forget your black tights, and pull on a pair of burgundy or dark red leg warmers. You can finish off this look with an 80s style pair of Granny Boots, or a modern pair of sneakers or runners.

Beth Ditto.

Beth Ditto. Georges Biard [CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

80s style is here to stay with clothes worn in 80s fashion

From high rise fashion to washed jeans, and from neon 80s hair dos to (almost) intimidating shoulder pads – these are iconic 80s fashion trends that shaped a decade and then some!  It was a decade of experimentation and rebellion. Unisex styles broke out of the shadows, and punk fashion ruled the stage.  The turmoil and chaos produced some of the most iconic fashion style moments the world has ever known.


So, is it any wonder that today’s designers are taking inspiration from clothes worn in 80s fashion? Hardly! 80s style is making a resurgence – and it’s here to stay!


INSPIRATION Links: [i] [ii] [iii]