In the 1980s, there was a lot…going on around the face when it came to pop fashion. The hair was huge, the makeup was extreme, and the earrings made a statement. 80s jewelry was abundant, oversized, and fun. There were oversized gold hoops, the chunkiest doorknocker earrings, plastic neon hoops, dangling crosses, and ornate shapes.
In the 2020 world of refined gold pieces and sweet gemstones, let’s bring back 1980s garish costume jewelry fun with some large-and-in-charge statement earrings.
Neon plastic hoops
Young women in the 1980s chose bright, stand-out accessories such as large plastic hoop earrings in highlighter/neon pink, green, yellow, and orange, sometimes layered together.
80s pop goddess Madonna wore red concentric hoop earrings bundled with dangling crosses, while a young Alyssa Milano wore white and pale pink hoops.
Lisa from ‘Saved by the Bell’ (played by Lark Voorhies) was a hero of the big, 80s earrings, with hot pink hoops nestled in her 80s curls (and scrunchie!).
In more recent times, Katy Perry wore an entire neon yellow-green ensemble complete with neon yellow-green plastic earrings. Neon plastic earrings say, “I’m choosing fun today”.
Find neon or bold-toned plastic or resin chunky hoops and match your eyeshadow and/or lipstick for a modern matchy-matchy look
The look: the statement cross in one ear
Madonna made statement crucifix earrings and accessories a worldwide trend. She wore them time and again, often layered with other earrings such as hoops and dangling chains. Sometimes she would take the one-sided route with a large cross in only one ear, and plenty of crosses around her neck.
Take the trend and make it more wearable by choosing small, crystal crosses (Madonna wore those, too!) in both ears, paired with tiny pearl studs if you have multiple ear piercings
Gold door knockers and hoops
One of the most defining earring trends of the 80s was the large, gold doorknocker earring and gold hoops. These gilded accessories were huge in the hip-hop, Latina, and dancehall circles, and are still popular today.
Doorknocker earrings were large, chunky, and often with a bamboo shape or hoop attached to a chunky clip-on component.
British musical legend Sade wore hoop earrings as part of her stunning look. She wore gold hoops with cherry red lipstick, a sleek ponytail, and either denim or white shirts and jeans.
Recently, Zendaya, Kendal Jenner, and Rihanna have worn hoop earrings, sometimes outrageously large (Zendaya’s thin silver hoops or Kendall’s excessive square pair).
- Pair a sleek hairstyle and fresh makeup with the biggest gold door knockers you can find
- Wear hoops or door knockers with a black blazer and a lace bra underneath for 80s hip-hop-meets-professional style
The look: layered geometric triangles
Prints and patterns in the 1980s were often geometric, featuring layered triangles, squiggles, and dots. Remember those plastic earrings that had a round or triangle clip, with two or three contrast-tone triangle drops? Classic.
These kinds of earrings are often associated with either young teens at the school dance or Moms in tracksuits and perms. Either way, we’re into it.
- Add a little whimsy to your work outfit with large, bright (neon, even better) plastic geometric earrings
- Create cohesion by wearing neon winged eyeliner to match your neon geo-earrings a la Katy Perry in March this year
Pearl and gemstone clip-on drop earrings
The 1980s was a time of high-glam (albeit a totally different kind of glam we go for today), with hazy glamour shots, frou-frou prom dresses, and tonnes of velvet and lace.
Earrings were encrusted with pearls and colored gemstones, as often worn by style Icon Princess Diana with her matching pearl, sapphire, and diamond sets.
Modern glamour-gal Kendall Kenner favours dangling gemstone chandelier earrings, with sparkling emeralds or aquamarine. Harry Styles is a lover of the pearl earring, as is Rihanna on a demure day.
- Slick your hair back into a sleek bun and pair pearl drop earrings with gold hoops in the same ear
- Add a Royal flair to a tough streetwear outfit (ripped denim and leather) with dangling chandelier earrings in jewel-toned crystal