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The 1980s was undoubtedly the best decade for fashion. This was when many subcultures emerged, but this was also the era when fashion icons were born. Since the Internet and social networks were still far from being invented, young people were seeking inspiration from actors, singers, and other celebrities.

These inevitably inspired fashion designers, who were working with those celebrities to have their clothes promoted on both the big and small screens. Besides, fashion icons themselves felt inspired to experiment with new and extravagant styles, from spandex suits to colourful makeups.

If you have ever wondered who were the most influential male celebrities and fashion icons in the 1980s, here you will find a complete list.


What Was Men’s Fashion Like in the 1980s?

Fashion in the ’80s was all about opulence, bright colours and experimentation. Finally, fashion wasn’t just a women’s exclusive, but a way for everyone, including men, to express their personality and empower their bodies. For this reason, several subcultures and styles emerge, to represent each fashion.

However, suits still found a place in the spotlight. Pastel and bright colours, which were a must all over the decade, made these clothes more vibrant and even more elegant.

Besides, many fashion icons promoted the use of suits with t-shirts or more casual accessories. Blazers finally became a versatile piece of clothing, to be worn with acid-washed jeans, rolled-sleeve T-shirts, and sneakers.

Designers such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent collaborated with the most famous fashion icons to prepare new, bespoke suits, which can meet the new tastes of the decade. Suits and business attire thus found new life and became part of the wardrobe of younger people.

Celebrities like Boy George and David Bowie created unique looks, where suits and other masculine pieces of clothing met more feminine or androgynous vibes. The results were explosive, at the point that contemporary fashion is still inspired by those outfits, as they are now iconic and timeless.

The Best 80s Male Celebrities Looks

Miami Vice

Detective Johnson and Rico were always wearing a suit. Pastel colours, white trousers, blazers in neutral colours, shoulder pads and aviator sunglasses were the most essential parts of their look, which made business attire iconic.

Photo by BAMF Style

Photo by BAMF Style

Adam Ant’s Pirate Look

Adam Ant, the alter ego of Stuart Goddard, rose in popularity in the early 80s with his pop-punk hits “Stand and Deliver” and “Ant Rap”. His look, inspired by the New Romantic subculture, was a combination of punk, military, pirate and cross-dresser elements.

Photo by The Beautiful Times

Photo by The Beautiful Times


Prince was one of the most popular singers and fashion icons in the 1980s. He liked to play with looks which mixed both elements of feminine and masculine fashions, with flamboyant feather boas and high-necked ruffled shirts.

Photo by Billboard

Photo by Billboard

George Michael

White t-shirts, ripped jeans, leather jackets and studded accessories: George Michael knew how to put a hot look together! His iconic look had both punk, glam and rock inspiration, and made him one of the best sexy icons in the 1980s.

Photo by People

Photo by People

Richard Gere

In the 1980s, Richard Gere appeared in a variety of movies, always playing the part of the classy and heart-breaker playboy. His style inspired lots of men, who rediscovered the joy of elegant suits in neutral colours and loafers.

Photo by BAMF Style

Photo by BAMF Style

Michael Jackson

There’s no need to explain how and why Michael Jackson’s look became so iconic. From sequined gloves, red leather jackets and fedora hats, to white suits, he always played with different colours and eccentric details.

Axl Rose

Axl wasn’t really into suits, but he was a fashion icon for rockers. Tight leather trousers and his trademark bandana are now iconic. To copy his look, you can add your favourite t-shirt, or even decide to not wear anything under your jacket.

Kevin Bacon

1984 was the year of Footloose, the movie which made Kevin Bacon popular. His varsity jackets and iconic bowties re-shaped preppies fashion and gave him the status of a fashion icon. Whenever he was wearing a suit, he was the perfect, most angelic boy.

Boy George

Boy George was the lead singer of Culture Club, as well as one of the pillars of the New Romantic movement. Make-up, combat boots, big coats and dreadlocks were just some of the trademarks of his unique look.

Bruce Springsteen

Young, with a sweet and deep voice, and always well-dressed. Whether he was wearing a suit or a cosy blazer, or a denim jacket and some tight-fitted leather pants, Bruce Springsteen was always one of the sexiest fashion icons in the 1980s.

David Bowie

Although Bowie is pretty much famous for his extravagant looks, he was always keen to invent new looks as well as wear to rock a good, old suit. His ginger hair and pale skin were his best accessories to complete any outfit.

Dave Gahan

Lead singer of Depeche Mode, Gahan became famous because of his white outfits, characterised by waistcoats and tattoos. His black hair was a touch of colour that highlighted his face.

Tom Cruise

For Tom, being sexy and charming was never a “mission impossible”. Thanks to his role in several action movies and his cool pair of aviator sunglasses, Cruise consecrated his name as one of the bravest and most adventurous men in the 1980s.

Duran Duran

This rock band from Birmingham immediately rose to popularity thanks to their colourful looks and unique fashion sense. Each of their outfits had plenty of glam rock vibes, and they were always wearing red lipstick, which immediately became part of their statement look.

Also Read

Late 80s Men’s Fashion 1987-1989 Ideas

Mid 80s Men’s Fashion 1984-1986 Inspirations

Early Men’s Fashion 1980-1983: When Fashion Was Born

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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