If there’s one thing 80s fashion was, it was bold, brave, and big (okay, that’s three).

One of the key characteristic trends of the 80s was painfully-bright neon colours! From workout gear to celebrity fashion, neon ski jackets, mesh tops, and rara skirts reigned supreme. 

You may cringe at the thought of going “full 80s” with your neon, but there are endless ways to make it modern, fresh, and chic. Neon can brighten a dull winter day, or make party season a whimsical blur of fun. 

Welcome to our guide for how to update bright neon colours for the new decade!

Neon details: nails, eyes, lips, and shoes 

Celebrity inspiration: If you’re afraid going for all-over neon color will make you look like a walking highlighter, you can ease yourself in with accessories and makeup. That way, you don’t have to totally overhaul your style, but simply add a pop here and a dash there. For this purpose, we’re copying 1980s Madonna yet again, for her pop of acid yellow neon nails. 

Celebrity inspiration: Cyndi Lauper famous for her make up and hair… not to mention her amazing fashion sense!

How-to: 

  • Take a leaf out of Madonna’s 1980s book and paint your nails in fluorescent yellow for a subtle pop of brightness (Bella Hadid rocked this look recently)
  • Copy Jlo and choose a pair of neon trainers to finish an otherwise neutral gym outfit with black leggings and a tank
  • Amp-up your favourite jeans and a tee with a pair of slime-green neon heeled boots
  • If experimental makeup is your thing, pick a neon liquid eyeliner and try a fluoro winged eye, or a neon pink lip
  • Still not feeling it? Try accenting your outfit with a neon hair accessories & wigs

Start small and keep adding pops of neon until you’re game for going head-to-toe fluoro (if that’s the aim, of course!)

The little neon dress 

Celebrity inspiration: We have been spoilt with inspiration when it comes to the “little neon dress”, with Bella Hadid, the “Karjenners”, Zendaya, and Sarah Paulson showing us how it’s done, both on the street and the runways. Neon dresses scream “ready for fun?!”, showing that you don’t take yourself too seriously, (but you take glamour very seriously). 

How-to: 

  • Channel Kendall for girl’s night out and choose a neon bodycon spaghetti strap mini dress with soft ruching to create a forgiving texture. Add a pair of sparkly heels, go for glowing skin, and you’re done! For cooler evenings, throw a denim or leather jacket over the top
  • If figure-hugging looks aren’t your scene, try an oversized neon shirt dress or tailored blazer dress. Wear the top few buttons open and wear a lace bralette peeking underneath 
  • Way back in the day (2009), the goddess herself, Blake Lively, wore a neon pink midi tube dress with nothing but nude peep-toe heels and soft blond locks. The dress itself was super simple, beautifully balancing the boldness of the colour 
  • To tone down a neon dress for casual daywear, layer with a denim jacket or open denim shirt, and ankle boots or sneakers 

Read:

1986: Preppy-Sport Style and Baggy Denim

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

How to do 80s eye makeup…

80s mullet style is back!…

What’s special about statement earrings!…

A flash of neon 

Celebrity inspiration: Neon doesn’t need to be all or nothing, it can be a building block. True beauty Hailey Beiber favours the neon look and has been seen rocking a head-to-toe neon tracksuit with a long black coat over the top. This unlikely combo looked surprisingly chic, cool, and unique. Let’s tone it back for us mere mortals and break up the fluoro with more downplayed items. 

How-to: 

  • Find a neon V-neck tee, tank or bodysuit to layer under a suit jacket or blazer with a pencil skirt or wide-leg trousers. The juxtaposition of smart, corporate wear and party-ready neon is a fresh, fun, and sophisticated take on workwear
  • Be brave and try your hand at a neon jumpsuit but tone it down with a denim jacket or go super clash-chic and pair with a tweed blazer 
  • Wear a neon lace bralette under a shirt with the top few buttons undone. Add an A-line mini for party time, or high-waisted pants for smart day wear 

Take it to the beach 

Celebrity inspiration: If your daily wardrobe is full enough, but your swimsuit collection is lacking, it’s the perfect time to get on the neon train!

Neon swimsuits look incredible at the beach, against golden sands, sparkling blue oceans, and cloudless skies.

The shine-finish nature of swimwear fabric looks incredible in neon, making a Summer tan pop. Can you guess who our celeb inspo is here? Yes, the one and only, Kim K. 

How-to: 

  • Go full Kim with a neon pink high-cut bikini bottom and bandeau top 
  • Lean into your athletic side with a neon green high-neck one-piece with front zipper and racerback
  • Revive your go-to black one-piece or bikini with a neon sarong or wrap for extra coverage, sun protection, and style 


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