1980s Fashion Trends: It Was All About the Status

This decade become known for its status symbols and 1980s fashion trends were no exception. With designer jeans, designer sneakers, and other brand name clothing becoming popular, this decade saw many trends come and go. Alligator shirts, leg warmers, men's power suits and big shoulder pads were just a few of the fashionable trends noted during this decade of wealth, power, and status.

1980s Fashion Trends

Men's three-piece suits finally went fully out of fashion during the 1980s. Suits with narrow pinstripes were in style instead. These suits were made with narrower lapels and worn with ties that were narrower as well.

"Miami Vice," a hugely popular television show, also popularized the look of the expensive and colorful men's leisure suit with a tight shirt worn underneath.

Women joined the workforce in larger numbers than ever before during the 1980s. Power suits, featuring padded shoulders were popular, especially for those women in the workforce, or those in positions of power.

1980s Fashion Women also wore jewelry during this era as a status symbol for wealth. Prime time television dramas, such as "Dynasty" and "Dallas", featuring powerful women were highly influential during this time period.

Women's casual wear followed fashions seen in popular movies such as "Valley Girl" and "Flash Dance." These two movies, for example, created popular fashion looks of the 1980s. Leg warmers, leggings, leotards, ripped sweatshirts, headbands and designer jeans were all the rage during this decade. Mini skirts continued to be popular, with hemlines of various heights noted throughout the 1980s.

Major Influences on 1980s Fashion Trends

Continuing a trend that really exploded during the 1970s with the influence of movie stars, the fashions of the 1980s included both movie stars and television stars. Popular television shows such as "Magnum PI" made items such as Hawaiian shirts for men a popular fashion item. Musicians, on the other hand, continued to influence 1980s fashion.

Michael Jackson, and his hugely popular video, "Thriller," made Thriller jackets and single white gloves popular among people across the nation. In similar fashion, Madonna popularized fishnet stockings and lingerie as outerwear fashion statements for women.

Other musical genres enjoyed increasingly mainstream success with their fashions. The multi-colored hairstyles of the punk rockers, for example, or the big hair and ripped jeans of the metal bands, influenced the entire decade. Rap musicians popularized designer sneakers such as Air Jordans, which were named after the extremely popular professional basketball player, Michael Jordan.

1980s fashion trends blurred the lines between casual wear and other types of clothing. Casual clothing such as tracksuits, leotards, sweatshirts and slouch socks were worn by people of all ages during the 1980s. Leggings, for example, often paired with Converse or Keds tennis shoes, were worn during a variety of outings.

1920s Mens Fashion

1930s Mens Fashion

1940s Mens Fashion

1950s Mens Fashion

1960s Mens Fashion

1970s Mens Fashion

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