Whether you were an 80s trendsetter who back in the day, or you are just discovering the 80s fashion scene, finding the right outfit for an 80s party is as simple as going to your closet with a creative eye. In the 80s, men and women wore bright colors and eye-catching patterns. The more creative and willing you are to complete your look head-to-toe, the more authentic your 80s outfit will be.
80s Attire for Women
Women’s styles in the 80s spanned a wide range of colors, shapes and textures. One of the easiest 80s styles is an oversized sweater or t-shirt with a dropped (exposed) shoulder. Taking an oversized top, cut one side so it will slip from your shoulder down your arm, leaving the opposite side of the top as normal. You can wear the top on its own, or layer a camisole underneath. You can leave the top free-flowing at the waist, or you can use a hair clip or scrunchy to gather the hem for a banded look around your hips.
Pair an oversized top with fitted jeans with a tapered or skinny leg. Jeans with ankle zippers, embellishments, buttons, and jewels are popular for recreating an 80s look. If you don’t want to wear jeans, leggings and leg warmers are essential to any 80s look. Look for leggings or tights in bright colors with lace embellishments. Leg warmers can be worn above heels, boots or flats.
If you choose to wear a dress, find something in a bold color with a fitted top, plunging neckline, and a poofy bottom no longer then your knees. Lace and several layers of tulle are popular for 80s dresses, as are form-fitting dresses with lowered necklines and hems that that hit above the knees. Tights or leggings and leg warmers are a must with an 80s dress.
Be sure to make your hair as bold as your outfit. Try teasing your hair and using hairspray to make your style appear larger-then-life, or use a brightly colored hair tie to pull your straightened hair into a ponytail on the side of your head, behind or above your ear.
Chunky, bold necklaces and accessories will help you complete your 80s look.
80s Attire for Men
Menswear for the 80s is just as inspired and put together as women’s styles. for the basic look, try a fitted men’s suit jacket in any color with a plain colored or decorated t-shirt and jeans. The suit jacket can be a solid color or patterned. If you do not have a suit jacket, a fitted biker-style jacket, preferably with a high collar, will also work great.
Men’s 80s fashion was also inspired by the rebel and punk scenes that are still popular in both fashion and music today. Rock-and-roll inspired jeans are bleached to create patches of lighter and darker colors, ripped and then held together with safety pins. The fit for men's jeans in 80s style is very tight.
To accessorize, a hat, ponytailed hair, chain necklaces and chunky squared sun glasses (to be worn day or night) are key.
Mia Faller started writing in 2006. Her career includes news and features articles for her university newspaper, "The Clock," book reviews for "The Weirs Times" and print and electronic newsletters for Annie's Book Stop and the New Hampshire Humane Society. Faller's writing interests include animals, religious/metaphysical studies, yoga, body modification and travel. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Plymouth State University.