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The 1980s were a period of diverse changes in the fashion world, moving away from many of the fads and crazes of the 1970s, the early 80s saw a fashion revolution, a time when people embraced new fashion ideals and created a unique sense of style unlike anything that came before it.
Embracing trends like turtlenecks, leg warmers and jelly bracelets and taking inspiration from early 80s fashion icons like Madonna, the early eighties was an exciting time for fashion.
The 1970s fashion world saw the rise of the iconic disco look, but the eighties fashion scene saw a move away from this style. Eighties fashionistas instead embraced a minimalism vibe. Singing sensation Sade was fan of the minimalism look back in the eighties, while today you can see the look worn to perfection by celebrities like Elizabeth Olsen.
This idea leads on from the minimalism vibe that rose to prominence in the early eighties. If you are looking to embrace the early eighties minimalism look, then keep jewellery simple and to a minimum.
Knee High Boots
Knee length boots are again a very versatile style, they look great when styled with a mini skirt and add an extra touch of style when worn over a pair of skinny jeans and paired with a denim jacket.
While in the 80s Kylie Minogue was a fan of this look, today stars such as Reese Witherspoon have been seen stepping out in this iconic style.
The idea of active wear as a highly versatile outfit option has seen a real comeback in recent years with the rise of active wear giants like Lululemon, but in the early eighties active wear was just as important in anyone’s wardrobe. As shown by stars like Jane Fonda, velour tracksuits or tight body suites was the material of choice for eighties active wear with activewear and arm bands key outfit pieces.
In the early eighties world of fashion, wide, over the top belts were to be avoided, instead a simple, thin belt was all the rage. A thin belt style looks great on a pair of jeans or trousers to bring another element to a casual outfit or when added to a dress to accentuate the waist. While stars like Madonna rocked this look in the 80s, it is still popular with celebrities like Selena Gomez today.
The Rise of the Straight Leg Trousers
In the seventies flared jeans may have been all the rage but the early eighties saw the rise of the straight leg trousers. The early eighties style gets major points for versatility, when paired with a crop top it has effortless casual vibes while when styled with heels and a silk top is perfect for any formal event. For more style inspiration check out the 80s band Bananarama or current star Margot Robbie who has worn this look to perfection.
Don’t Underestimate the Jelly Bracelet
A look that was popularized by the ever-iconic Madonna, the jelly bracelet was a new look for the eighties that soared to new heights of popularity. For this early eighties style take your inspiration from Madonna herself and pair this accessory with a white t-shirt and some drop waist overalls, top off the look with a bandana headband or newsboy cap for an early eighties look with a touch of rebel vibes.
While real fur may not be such a good idea, eighties fashionistas knew that the faux fur look was one that was always a good idea. As demonstrated in the 80s by stars including Vanessa Williams, faux fur coats added a luxurious element to any winter look. Still insanely popular today, celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Arianna Grande and Kendall Jenner all embrace the faux fur look.
Continuing the trend from the early eighties, faux fur was found in every late eighties fashionistas wardrobe. A faux fur coat added an element of sophistication and luxury to any look and worked great when styled over a satin dress for an evening look or could be worn with stylish jeans for a more casual outfit.
While Vanessa Williams rocked the faux fur coat it in the 80s, it is still popular today, faux fur coats are a favourite of stars such as Nicole Richie and Sienna Miller.
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
Nude Colour Palette
Once again, this style comes from the move away from disco and the rise of the early eighties minimalism look. Colours for an early eighties look should be kept simple and not too bright, neon colours are to be avoided while tones of brown, cream, tan and orange are all great choices when embracing an early eighties inspired style. Julia Roberts could often be seen in a combination of these colours back in the 80s.
Embrace the Sweater Look
Early eighties fashionistas knew that as winter came and the weather grew colder, fashion didn’t have to suffer. Crew and V-neck sweaters were both popular looks, styling an oversized crew neck sweater with a pair of simple jeans or trousers is a great outfit while a classic V-neck looks great styled with a skirt and heels. While popular with Madonna and Kylie Minogue in the 80s, this style is a modern favourite of stars like Karli Kloss and Kendall Jenner.
The Trendy Turtleneck
The turtleneck is one item that should never be underestimated when embracing an early eighties vibe. When styled under a blazer for a chic, sophisticated look or paired with high waist jeans for a casual outfit, this style was a favourite of stars like Molly Ringwold in the 80s and is still loved today by celebrities including Taylor Swift and Elizabeth Olsen.
The fashion world of the early eighties was one of iconic trends and styles that are seeing a major comeback in the fashion scene of today. The early eighties had a trendy style for whether you were hitting up a night club, having a casual weekend afternoon or heading out for a formal event.
Whether you choose to channel Madonna and rock some jelly bracelets, try a trendy turtleneck or style your outfit with some knee-high boots, the early eighties will have you looking great for whatever you have planned.
The Marvellous Styles of the Mid-Eighties…
As any fashionista of the mid-eighties will tell you, this iconic time in fashion was all about styles that made a statement. Colours became brighter, make-up became bolder and before the rise of the nineties grunge style, Madonna was popularising an eighties ‘street urchin’ vibe.
The mid-eighties fashion world reflected societal changes of the era and were influenced by fashion icons, pop stars and television sensations to create a unique dress sense that has endured the test of time and created its very own sense of a fashion revolution.
Learn what all the best mid-eighties styles were and how you can incorporate them into your own eighties inspired wardrobe.
All About that Colour
Unlike the muted colour palette style that swept the fashion scene in the first few years of the decade, by the mid-eighties bright colours were making an epic comeback. Bright, block colours were all the rage with any on trend mid-eighties look rocking at least two different colours. Stars like Boy George were the kings of colour in the 80s. When you are channelling those mid-eighties vibes be sure to inject some colour into your outfit.
The Stylish Mini Skirt
While in the early eighties the knee length skirt was on trend, in the mid-eighties the mini skirt was what everyone was wearing. Popular either in a slim or more flared style, a bright coloured mini skirt looked great when styled with a plain black or white top and leather jacket. For more style inspiration check out the styles worn by stars like Cindy Crawford back in the 80s.
Sweatshirts for a Casual Vibe
If you are wanting to emulate a mid-eighties fashion vibe for your next casual get together with friends then the eighties look of an oversized sweatshirt over tight jeans or leggings may be a style to go with. The sweatshirt grew to even greater prominence with the release of the 80s movie Flashdance.
Long Wool Coats
Like the fashion icons of the early-eighties fashion scene, mid-eighties style experts knew that you didn’t have to freeze in the winter to maintain an on-trend look. The mid-eighties saw long, wool coats soar to new heights in popularity. This style looks great when worn over jeans or styled with ankle boots and colourful stockings. 80s celebrities like Princess Diana and Julia Roberts prove that you can keep warm in the winter without having to sacrifice style.
The mid-eighties saw the continuation of the aerobics and active wear trend, however instead of the velour tracksuits of the early-eighties, the mid-eighties were all about Lycra. Wear Lycra shorts or a leotard in bright colours and paired with neon leg warmers to make your next trip to the gym a stylish one. 80s hit movie Footloose brought real attention to the leg warmer craze.
Go Bold with the Make Up
The mid-eighties trends were all about being bold. This sentiment extended into makeup, so when emulating a mid-eighties look your makeup should make as much of a statement as your outfit. Keep the lipstick more of a subtle pink but make your eyes pop with bright eye shadows and if you are feeling especially bold, try adding a coloured mascara as well. If you need anymore inspiration look no further than 80s star Cyndi Lauper.
While in the early-eighties thin belts may have soared to new heights of popularity, by the mid-eighties it was the wide belt that was in every fashionistas wardrobe. Worn by stars like Kim Wilde back in the 80s, this style looks particularly good when worn over a dress with heels and has made a comeback in recent years with stars including Zendaya stepping out in this mid-eighties style.
Fish Net Fashion
There are few styles as recognisably eighties as fishnets. This eighties inspired accessory looks great worn under a mini skirt or even with shorts and injects some instant boldness into any outfit when worn in bright colours or creates a more subtle dimension to an outfit when worn in black. Originally a favourite of Madonna, this style is now seen on stars like Miley Cyrus and Shakira.
Accentuate the Shoulders
Another iconic look of the mid-eighties is shoulder pads. Popularized by 80s pop culture shows such as Dynasty and Dallas and a favourite of Sarah Jessica Parker, shoulder pads became an ever-popular style in the mid-eighties fashion world. The shoulder pad look works great when worn in a blazer style and paired with a mini dress for a modern twist. This trend has seen a revival in recent years with stars like Taylor Swift embracing this style.
Every good mid-eighties fashion icon knew that gloves were one accessory that should never be ignored. Commonly worn in a fingerless style and made with lace or fishnet, mid-eighties inspired fingerless gloves are bright in colour and look great when styled with a mini skirt and graphic tee, bonus points if you match your nail polish to the gloves. This look was a particular favourite of Madonna in the mid-eighties.
Forget the Short Sweaters
In the winter months in the mid-eighties if you weren’t wearing a long, wool coat then you were looking trendy in a chunky, long sweater. This is a versatile style that looks great when worn over jeans or if long enough over stockings to be styled more as a dress for a chic city look.
Still a popular style today, get inspiration for this look from stars like Gigi Hadid or check out the authentic 80s styles of Kylie Minogue.
The mid-eighties saw a fashion revolution, inspired by pop culture, the growing music scene, societal changes and film legends, the era saw trends including shoulder pads, bold makeup and the iconic fish net stockings soar to new heights of popularity. When incorporating this look into your own fashion style remember to have fun with it, after all the mid- eighties look was all about fashion that made a statement, bright colours and a whole lot of fun.
Brilliant Beaded Necklaces
Having thoroughly moved away from the minimalism jewellery vibes of the early eighties, colourful, chunky, beaded necklaces were a staple accessory in any fashionable late eighties wardrobe.
These were a fun way to embrace the spirit of the late eighties and inject some colour into an outfit. Back in the 80s Cyndi Lauper was a particular fan of the chunky bead look.
Don’t Forget the Tights
As mini skirts were all the rage in the late eighties, it is only natural that tights were also soaring to new levels of popularity. As any late eighties fashionista will tell you, the best tights are opaque and brightly coloured.
In the 80s Cyndi Lauper was a fan of the coloured tights, wearing them with eclectic dresses and corset style belts. This style of tights emulates a trendy late eighties vibe when styled under a mini skirt and looks great paired with combat boots for a modern twist.
Accessorise, Accessorise, Accessorise!
If there is one thing that eighties fashion is iconic for being, it is bold. Fashion stars of the eighties weren’t afraid to experiment with over the top looks, and excessive use of accessories fitted right into this ideal.
Style any late eighties look with the use of accessories like colourful rimmed sunglasses or chunky neon earrings to inject some late eighties vibes into any outfit. Queen of 80s fashion Madonna, could often be seen in chunky earrings and multitudes of bracelets.
The Stylish Sweater Dress
A natural step from the mid-eighties style of oversized sweaters, the sweater dress rose to prominence in the late eighties fashion scene. Still a chic style that fits right into the fashion world today, try styling a sweater dress over tights and with heeled boots for an effortlessly chic style.
This look was popular in the 80s with film star Julia Roberts while remaining popular today in the celebrity community with stars like Bella Hadid and Ashley Tisdale embracing this look.
Accentuate the Waist
Before the rise of the 90s hip huggers, the late 80s was all about accentuating the waist. High waste jeans were all the rage, often worn by stars like singing sensation Tina Turner. This style looks particularly good when styled with drop earring and a white vest top.
The Taffeta Trend
In the late eighties formal dresses were more often than not made of taffeta. This unique material gives a great shine to an outfit while providing a more fashionably understated vibe than a satin dress.
While Olivia Newton John wore a taffeta skirt to a red carpet event in the 80s modern stars like Jennifer Lawrence have embraced taffeta for red carpet outfits.
When incorporating a late-eighties themed style into your wardrobe, be creative, start off with modern 80s inspired trend and try a sweater dress or style some colourful tights with a mini skirt, be inspired by the balloon sleeves of Lady Diana Spencer or experiment with accessories like some colourful rimmed sunglasses.
The most important thing about any late eighties look is to embrace and celebrate what makes you, you. So be creative, have some fun and channel those late eighties vibes in your next outfit.
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