Even if you weren’t adept at carving it up on a skateboard in the 80s (you can tell by my description that I, indeed, was not) you can still appreciate that ever-cool skater style. Skater movies like ‘Thrashin’’, ‘Gleaming the Cube’ and documentaries about the ultimate skate crew the Bones Brigade are a treasure-chest of 80s skater fashion.
We’ve picked out the best 80s skater trends you can easily wear today. In fact, you’ve probably got some of these gems tucked away in your wardrobe as we speak. Get that board out of the cupboard, dust it off, and let’s go.
- Chuck Taylors and Vans with white socks
Remember in the 90s and 00’s when the “skater bois” wore those super chunky Globe shoes with the laces worn painfully loose? You certainly didn’t see such monstrosities in the 80s (no offense 00’s kids). Skater shoes were either Vans or Converse Chuck Taylors, full stop. Skate shoes were worn with white socks pulled up past the ankle.
2020 style tip: wear Vans or Chuck Taylors with dresses or skirts to juxtapose feminine silhouettes with classic street-style footwear.
While some guys wore knee-length or longer shorts, some stuck to those ultra-short shorts (a hangover from the 70s) we equate with tanned legs boarding down Californian streets. Short board shorts in neon tones and colorful patterns were also seen among summer skater crews.
2020 style tip: wear your short shorts with a loose-fitting linen shirt to balance out the skin exposure. Extra points if your shorts have white piping!
- Sleeveless tops
Sleeveless tops were popular for summer skating, (especially if you had tanned guns to show off), as shown by Josh Brolin in 80s skater flick ‘Thrashin’’.
2020 style tip: opt for a cropped sleeveless top worn with high-waisted wide-leg jeans.
- Baggy, colorful pants
An opposite direction to 70s-style tiny shorts were baggy pants in colorful patterns often in tones of pinks, blues, and lilacs. Some favored colored parachute pants baggy in the leg and cuffed at the ankle.
2020 style tip: wear with a plain bodysuit and sneakers for easy summer style. The sleek silhouette of the bodysuit will balance out the bottom-heavy nature of the pants.
- Sleeveless denim jackets
Denim was a part of almost all 80s subcultures and trends, including the skaters. Denim was often worn in the form of a loose-fitting denim sleeveless jacket worn over a sleeveless top or graphic tee.
2020 style tip: contrast the toughness of cut-off denim sleeveless jackets with softer fabrics such as satin and silk.
- Jackets with graphic patches
Skater’s denim jackets were often detailed with graphic patches sewn onto the back. It could be a band image or the skate crew’s original graphic.
2020 style tip: get creative and try your hand at using fabric paint or embroidery to make your own patch.
- Levi’s jeans
Look in the closet of any 80s skater and you’d find a well-worn pair of Levi’s blue jeans, sometimes ripped, sometimes rolled at the hem to reveal white socks and Van’s.
2020 style tip: find a pair of classic vintage blue Levi’s that sit high on the waist with a straight leg. Pair with a baggy blouse tucked into the waistband and a pair of black leather ankle boots.
- Thrasher tees
Skaters then and now religiously stick by their merch tees from the iconic skateboarding magazine ‘Thrasher’.
2020 style tip: don’t wear a Thrasher tee unless you’re a skater, it’s, uh, frowned upon.
- Baja hoodies
Baja hoodies, those hippy-associated hoodies with rough knit fabric, stripes and V necks kept many a skater warm in the 80s and 90s. See Jeff Spicoli in ‘Fast times at Ridgemont High’ (he was a surfer, but he sure rocked that Baja hoodie).
2020 style tip: if you must wear a Baja hoodie, you could style it up with tight black jeans and heeled ankle boots. Or, save it for staying warm by the bonfire during College break.
- Floppy hairstyles
The 80s and 90s skaters often had floppy, head flick-encouraging locks, usually with sun-bleached ends. Skate god himself, Tony Hawk rocked this look, as did Christian Slater in the 80s skate movie ‘Gleaming the Cube’.
2020 style tip: if you have naturally floppy, luscious hair you can run your hand through then go for it! Just let loose and enjoy!