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The ‘80s cool was more of a lifestyle than just a trend. It was the time where society embraced the ‘anything goes’ attitude towards fashion. Men and women all over the world were dressing more excessively than ever before. Expressing their confidence and success through large accessories and some big bold boundary-pushing fashion statements.

It was totally rad. But what happened to these over-the-top ‘80s fashion trends when we transitioned into the ‘90s? And, what did people wear both in the ‘80s and ‘90s?

The thrill of nostalgia is real when it comes to fashion, with trends always seeming to find their way back around. Keep reading as we take a trip down memory lane and explore which of these funky fresh styles of the eighties went on to inspire the ‘90s fashion world.


But… Does This Match My Scrunchie?

The scrunchie was a trending accessory that matched with your outfit. Whether it was being worn on your wrist or up in your hair, these velvet rings of loose-fabric coloured elastics came in a variety of bright colours and were the go-to hair trend back in the late 80s all the way through to the early 90s.

The scrunchie was a statement no matter how high it was sat in your hair. Styled by the queen of pop herself, Madonna. The accessory did wonders for women with big fluffy permed hair and those with messy-thick voluminous ponytails too.

For years since, the scrunchie has had this kind-of retro stigma attached to it referring back to its late 80s and early 90s presence. But, flash-forward to 2020 and we’re seeing a steady revival of the hair scrunchie. So if you never fully embraced the trend, now is the time.

The Shorter The Skirt The Longer The Legs

Mini-skirts were a trend that lived famously throughout both decades. It was a confidence-boosting style statement popularised through film and television, and notably when it was worn by royalty-rich fashion icon Princess Diana.

The mini-skirt re-emerged in the mid-eighties where women were not afraid to start showing off a little bit of leg. Also referred to as the rah-rah skirt, it was a must-have created to imitate the athleisure skirt being used by cheerleaders.

This skin-revealing trend only grew and gained fame throughout the 90s where it became noticeably a lot tighter, with the influences of the 80s spandex making anything tight and body-hugging a fashion-favourite.


How to Style Leather Skirts…

The Best Mini-Skirt Outfits and How to Accessorise Them

Best Plaid Skirt Outfits And How to Accessorise (Women’s Edition)

Keep Calm + Wear More Lipstick

It was the early days of MTV which inspired the art of visual expression. Extravagant makeup in the 80s was more popular than ever before, and we’re talking questionable amounts of makeup. You could never be wearing too much. After feathering the bangs, it was time to paint on that iconic ’80s makeup.

Makeup was prevalent in nearly every aspect of pop culture. It was the golden era of music: Michael Jackson, Queen, and Madonna just to name a few.

All these stars contributed to being the ultimate make-up inspirations, not to mention iconic movie stars such as Molly Ringwald and Olivia Newton-John.

Bold blue eyeshadows and overdrawn lips were just as accepted when makeup trends shifted from one decade to the next. Although both were similar in many ways, the 90s was known to be a less glamorous version of the 80s.

Read: How to do 80s eye makeup…

That’s Why Her Hair is So Big, it’s Full Of Secrets

It’s no secret that over the top hair full of volume was the look everyone wanted. People were out there to try and one-up their neighbour and steal the spotlight using the craziest hair-do possible.

If your hair wasn’t permed, it was probably crimped. Or maybe you were rocking feathered bangs? The half-up half-down scrunchie look? Let’s not forget the punk-rock craze.

Hair-styles in the 80s formed a new wave of experimentation that continued to inspire the 90s. The It girls of the era, such as Whitney Houston, Naomi Campbell, and Jane Fonda, were serving up enough inspiration to send us directly into the next decade.

Read: How to DIY 80s hairstyles…


From the acid-washed denim to the iconic mom-jeans. Denim was not only soft and comfy, but also cool as hell. The more faded, distressed and weathered down, the better. Ripped jeans with holes and band tee’s were without a doubt the go-to craze of the decade.

But it didn’t stop there. Even today, were seeing denim as a stape in everyones closet, it’s only the style of denim that changes.

When it got to the 90s, overalls began to take place of regular jeans, and let us never forget that iconic denim-on-denim photograph of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake in the early 00’s.


How to Style Denim-on-Denim…

Embrace the Denim Look: The Top Jeans Styles of the Eighties (Women’s Edition)

The Shoulder Pads That Screamed GIRL POWER!

The style just about anyone could pull off- from musicians to actresses, business women to students. Back in the eighties, it was a man’s world.

These muscle looking shoulder pads gave off the impression of having broad shoulders- something men generally had and that women could embody for the ultimate power-dressing look.

You can’t deny that these heavily-padded shoulders gave females the illusion of having ‘big shoulders’ just like men. Which in turn, allowed women to embrace a sense of empowerment, where they could show the world really just how much of a badass they were.

In the ’90s, the shoulder pads continued to live on but were now worn in cropped styles completed with skirt suits as shown in the iconic 1995 movie Clueless.

My Clothes Are Brighter Than My Future

Remember the good old days of neon, it was the early era of hip-hop, styled from the runway to the road, neon yellow and green clothing held a futuristic retro look that started a complete neon revolution.

It was a rave-inspired trend in the mid 80s that held a huge influence on the decade to come.

The 90s continued to embrace neon, especially the famous windbreaker jacket. Even on a rainy day sat watching cartoons in the lounge, bright colours were a must.

It was a fun, fashion-forward and ultra stylish look that still maintains its prominence today with modern celebrities like Kendall Jenner rocking those neon tones.

Read: How to Wear Neon Colours…

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!

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