80sfashionworld.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

You’ve woken up in 1983! Tom Cruise is having a no-pants party in ‘Risky Business’, everyone’s sharpening their dance moves after ‘Flashdance’, and Cujo is making the world look sideways at their pups. Flick on the TV and find the first episodes of ‘The A-Team’ and ‘Fraggle Rock’. The radio is blasting Bonnie Tyler’s ‘Total eclipse of the heart’, Bowie’s ‘China Girl’, and ‘Sweet dreams’ by The Eurythmics (a great year for music!). 

Let’s explore the best fashion moments of 1983. 


Chunky jewellery and natural brows on the cover of Vogue 

Back in the day, Vogue covers consisted of a close-up of a white supermodel’s face, often shrouded in colored scarves, hats, or simply a backdrop of feathered hair. The September 1983 cover featured a major 80s trend: giant jewelry! Copy the look:  

  • A full-teeth smile (a refreshing change from sultry pouts)
  • Big gold and red earrings
  • A giant, chunky gold necklace 
  • Berry-red lips, pink flushed cheeks, and bushy brows  

Cher’s full-body white shimmer at the Academy Awards 

One thing I adore about the early 1980s fashion is the fusion between razzle-dazzle glitter and easy draping. You can rock an off-shoulder, loose-fitting top and draped palazzo pants that just happen to be sparklier than a Broadway dancer. For example, Cher’s sheer white gown with blinding beads at the 1983 Academy Awards. Cher was known for her skin-baring outfits, but she chose a different route in 1983 with her glitzy dress: 

  • High neck, long sleeves, floor-length, and all in fresh white
  • Fully beaded with pale gold and silver sparkles
  • Sheer chiffon for a peek of bronzed skin 
  • Big, bouncy curls
  • Bright blue eyeshadow in the inner corners with glossy red lipstick 

Culture Club’s New Wave style at The Top of the Pops 

Culture Club released Karma Chameleon in 1983, a song that reached number one on the charts, and is still iconic today. Their lead singer, Boy George, was a champion of the eccentric, eclectic new wave style. In 1983, the band performed at the ‘Top of the Pops’, rocking: 

  • A lemon-yellow jacket with black detailing
  • Oversized top hat 
  • Feathers and tinsel hairpieces
  • A sparkling bow tie
  • White football uniforms with sparkling numbers 
  • Matte skin and deep red blush and eyeshadow
  • Angular, opaque brows (a foreshadowing of the Insta-brow?) 

Sequins, double-breasted jackets, and top hats at Oscar De La Renta 

Come with us to the 1983 Fall Oscar de la Renta runway show. It’s saturated with sequins, tartan, wide shoulders and slim hips, gaudy jacquard, billowing satin coats, and high-shine gold outfits from head to toe. What can we find?

  • Jewel-toned satin coats with black velvet lapels
  • Bejeweled starfish brooches and earrings
  • Sequin sweaters with jewel-toned midi skirts
  • Drop-waist dresses with draped cowl-style backs 
  • Double-breasted jackets, leather gloves, and pussybow blouses
  • Top hats and slimline pencil skirts
  • The slinkiest model walks you ever did see 

Ripped jeans, slouchy sweaters, and spandex in ‘Flashdance’

‘Flashdance’ was the movie of the year, burning the image of Jennifer Beals dropping a bucket of water over her lithe bod into the minds of the world. One of the most iconic styles worn in ‘Flashdance’, and much recreated was: 

  • A marle grey sweater with raw edges, slipping off the shoulder
  • Bare legs and orange point-toe heels
  • A black leotard with pale stockings, black leg warmers, and serious dance moves 

Michelle Pfeiffer’s white suit and slinky dresses in ‘Scarface’

Michelle Pfeiffer’s wardrobe in 1983 cult classic movie ‘Scarface’ is a dream. The lean and lithe Michelle wears slinky satin dresses with spaghetti straps and uber-low necklines.

For example, that stunning red satin Halston-like dress gathered at the waist, plunging almost to the navel, and slit to the thigh.

Or, the teal satin slip dress embellished with diamantes, gorgeous.

However, our favorite look is that delectable little suit:  

  • Crisp white blazer and skirt
  • Tied at the waist with self-fabric tie belt
  • Loose-fit skirt with thigh-high split
  • Peep-toe white heels
  • White wide-brimmed hat 
  • Taupe wing-tipped sunglasses 


1980s: Wide collars and Metallic cutout dress

1981: Dynasty Fashion and Princess Diana’s Wedding Dress

1982: Grace Jones and Jane Fonda’s Leg Warmers

1983: Culture Club’s New Wave style and Annie Lennox

1982: Grace Jones and Jane Fonda’s Leg Warmers

Kim Wilde’s leather and scowl in the ‘Love Blonde’ video 

Kim Wilde (kickass singer of ‘Kids in America’) released her video for the song ‘Love Blonde’ in 1983 and it’s an eye-opener of 80s pop fashion. It’s the kind of fashion you imagine cool girls wearing for a night out, aiming for sex appeal, glamour, rock-star vibes, and class all in one. Kim wears: 

  • A high-neck black leather (or leather-like) dress 
  • Cinched at the waist and loose over the bust
  • Strappy black heels 
  • Pencil-style skirt with an above-knee hemline
  • A fluffy, feathered blonde mullet 
  • Deep contour under the cheekbones 

Annie Lennox’s short hair and suit in the ‘Sweet Dreams’ video

Annie Lennox OBE was a 1980s style icon and singer of The Eurythmics. Her signature look featured an orange buzz cut, red lips, angular brows, and pale white matte foundation true to the new wave look. She rocked masculine suits, full leather outfits, colored gloves, and saturated blush and eyeshadow. The ‘Sweet dreams’ video is a perfect resource to study her incredible style: 

  • A dark, slimline suit with a crisp white shirt and charcoal tie
  • Black gloves
  • Kohl-lined eyes
  • Pale matte foundation
  • Satin-finish opaque red lips 

Cheryl Tiegs’s white lace swimsuit on the cover of ‘Sports Illustrated’ 

On the cover of the February 1983 edition of ‘Sports Illustrated’, Cheryl Tiegs reclined against a waterfall with fluffy bangs and a bright smile. Her swimsuit-meets-teddy was true to 80s swim and lingerie style: 

  • Cut high at the hip
  • Trimmed with lace
  • Cut low on the chest 
  • A little extra sexiness with sheer white fabric 

About The Author

May is totally crazy about the 80s and everything the decade inspired! Having grown up in a household that was totally taken over by 80s music and fashion its only natural that May lives and breathes the 80s!

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.