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If we’ve learned anything from the life cycle of trends over the years, it’s that everything always comes back into style eventually. From the stark resurgence of the early aughts to the ever-present influence of decades prior, designers today are clearly taking notes from the past. The 1980s in particular had a major impact on modern fashion, with enduring muses from the era including icons like Grace Jones, Madonna, and Bianca Jagger, to name a few. Some of the 1980s’ silhouette contributions include the likes of biker shorts, bold-shoulder blazers, and taffeta evening wear. But above all, in a post-Phoebe Philo era where neutral palettes and minimal silhouettes were king, ’80s influences gave the market a renewed sense of bold color stories and playful dressing that many would argue was missing from the industry.
“For me, it’s the optimism and playfulness,” explains Stella Vaughn, founder of emerging Australian brand, Trophy Wife, on the era’s contemporary appeal. “It’s all about confidence and dressing to be seen—those are really fun concepts to play with as a designer.”
As for how the ’80s show up in Vaughn’s current collection, “I love the concept of projecting bold prints or bright colors onto very wearable, everyday garment silhouettes,” she says. “There’s something very fresh and subversive about coupling the flamboyant with the mundane.”
When it comes to styling, the rising talent had this advice to offer shoppers when embracing ’80s trends. “Shoulder pads and a long fly may be dated, but print holds true to the essence of the era while still feeling modern. We saw a lot of minimalism throughout the pandemic with the ‘clean girl’ aesthetic, but I think that era has come to a close with the massive resurgence of vintage statement pieces from designers like Gaultier and [Roberto] Cavalli.”
Ahead, we are revisiting some of the best style moments from the decade—plus a well-curated selection of key pieces to help you recreate the ’80s look at home.
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French singer and model Amanda Lear wearing an asymmetric leather dress with fishnet tights. The futuristic sunglasses with a subtle motorsport-inspired edge are a nice finishing touch. Those looking to recreate the look should consider any one of manokhi’s celebrity-approved dresses.
Asymmetric Leather Mini Dress
As modern as it is timeless.
Stylish partygoers at Studio 54 confirmed that free-flowing dresses and skirts paired with coordinating cowboy boots are a timeless outfit combo. Tecova’s newly-launched ‘Jessie’ boots in light-colored pearl leather are a great place to start.
Western boots are an investment that will transcend seasons and trends in your wardrobe.
Punk rock flourished in London—with fishnets, chains, and studs as the go-to accessories. Worn alongside leather separates and easy silhouettes, the looks are quintessentially ’80s. Just add industrial-style jewelry from the likes of brands like Justine Clenquet or Martine Ali to bring the style into present day.
Perfect for layering over a basic white tank.
Legendary supermodel Beverly Johnson and Italian clothing designer Giorgio di Sant’ Angelo spotted in chic outfits outside of Studio 54. Johnson sports a double-breasted leather blazer with metallic gold trousers to match.
Jodie Double-Breasted Faux-Leather Blazer
Every well-dressed person needs a double-breasted leather blazer in their closet.
Forever style muse Bianca Jagger arrives at A-list hot spot Studio 54 wearing a frilly lace dress. Trimmed with lace around the edges, the ’80s dress has the versatility to be dressed up and down with ease. Look to vintage-informed brands such as Ciao Lucia, Mirror Palais, or Charo Ruiz Ibiza to mirror the effortlessly chic look.
Actress Heather Locklear poses for a fashion portrait shoot in a draped disco top paired with high-waisted blue jeans. With the party girl aesthetic on the rise, it makes sense that emerging brands like Poster Girl would put their own spin on the style.
Chainmail is having a major moment right now.
Swimsuit models Chancela Almonsour, Sara Wills, and Shae Huckaby stun onstage in bamboo hoop earrings and high-cut one-pieces. Norma Kamali’s iconic ‘Marissa’ swimsuit will give you the leggy look made popular in the ’80s while offering a super sexy alternative to the classic bikini this summer.
Marissa One Piece Swimsuit
The gold color looks great with the inevitable tan.
Brooke Shields poses in a turtleneck and checked blazer, giving a lesson in strategic layering. Bringing the look together with a plaid button shirt underneath, tucked into denim, the model-turned-actress offers a polished ’80s outfit fit for the office and beyond.
Checked Button Front Shirt Jacket
The shirt and jacket hybrid is great for transitional weather.
Jerry Hall and Marie Helvin in black-and-white ensembles at the Royal Ascot. One of the more luxe aesthetics to come from the ’80s, the classic ‘Country Club’ look was made popular by the likes of Karyn Parson’s character Hilary Banks on the popular television show at the time, The Fresh Prince if Bel Air.
Cropped Button-Embellished Jacquard-Knit Blazer
Princess Diana sports a printed blouse with puff sleeves and a fitted pencil skirt to watch a polo match in the early ’80s. The era’s style icon cinches the look together with a skinny wrap belt.
The skinny style is a core piece in the Parisian brand’s collections.
No one did colorful ’80s glam quite like singer and musician Cyndi Lauper. From the bold prints, bright red hair, and always edgy accessories, her signature aesthetic is distinct to the era. Invest in the fashion insiders’ favorite skirts from Chopova Lowena for a similar look.
Pleated Link-Held Mini Skirt
The emerging brand’s belted skirt has a become an It-girl staple seemingly overnight.
Bold colors are a key aspect of ’80s fashion, as seen on the runways of top-tier dressmakers like Halston. For Spring/Summer ’84, the brand sent a model wearing a draped gown with wraps down the runway. Today, shoppers can turn to the likes of Christopher John Rogers for beautiful silk dresses in bright hues.
Rainbow Gradient Tiered Ruffle Evening Gown
It’s all in the movement.
Pat Cleveland in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and high-waisted jeans, complete with a deep red lip, slick bun, and cable-knit jumper. The classic outfit combo is easily emulated with pieces you already own. Those looking for a more luxe approach can’t go wrong with Khaite’s cult denim.
Danielle High-Rise Straight-Leg Jeans
Because you can never have too many pairs of jeans, including ’80s-inspired takes.
Madonna in her iconic white “Boy Toy” look for her “Like a Virgin” performance at the 1984 MTV VMAs. One of the most memorable looks of the era, it’s easily achieved with a tulle skirt and bustier top. For a more subtle take, opt for just the corset paired with jeans —and chunky gold jewelry, of course.
Hamptons Bustier Corset Top
Jamaican triple threat and ’80s style icon Grace Jones sports a cinched blazer with a turtleneck and scarf draped over her head. The gold accessories and blacked out sunglasses with a D-shape frame were a nice finishing touch.
The perfect everyday pair.
Linda Evans, Diahann Carroll, and Joan Collins wearing shoulder pad dresses and fur coats in a Dynasty promo photo. With the key word of the show’s legacy being “opulence,” fans of their style can successfully pull off the look with fitted turtleneck dresses and strings of pearls or gold-link chain belts.
Pearl Three Bracelet Pack
Inès de la Fressange in an accessorized little black dress on the Chanel runway in Paris. For the last few seasons there’s been a resurgence in chain-link belts, proving the unexpected outfit addition is here to stay some decades later.
It’s reminiscent of something you’d find in your favorite vintage shop.
Opulence and the ‘8os go hand in hand, as depicted with iconic supermodel Naomi Campbell walking down the YSL runway in a tufted metallic cocktail dress. Adorned with equally stunning jewelry, the designer kept the focus on the dress by giving Campbell a slick hairstyle and bold red lip.
Zaina Feather Bustier Top
Birds of a (stylish) feather, flock together.
When you think of ’80s fashion for women, it’s likely that a few different things come to mind—fitted frocks with exaggerated proportions being one of them. Sure enough, here is a model in a little black dress complete with pink pouf detailing at Yves Saint Laurent’s runway show during Paris Fashion Week circa 1987.
Natalie Oversized-Bow Minidress
It doesn’t get much more ’80s than this.
Cindy Crawford in an oversized leather motorcycle jacket at an event in New York City. Paired with a little black dress, beachy waves, and a bold red lip, the supermodel finds the balance between punk rock and ’80s chic.
The motorcycle jacket is a staple regardless of your personal style.
A model wears a silk bustier and crinoline at the Jean Paul Gaultier spring 1989 fashion show. One look on the market just confirms the undergarment trend is still holding steady. To embrace the look, opt for corset with coned cups or a lace-up garter style skirt a lá Australian brand Dion Lee.
Not your grandmother’s garter.
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