Forever Appealing Fashion of The 80s

The best way to describe 80s fashion is freedom of style, comfort and non-concern about opinions of others. Being “you” was infinitely more important than being what others expected of you.

One of the biggest influences in the 80s was Madonna. In fact, Pamela Skaist-Levy and Gela Nash-Taylor, creators of Juicy Couture in Arleta, California, sent outfits to various celebrities to get their style and name known. They selected a beautiful and sent it to Madonna to wear. Her public appearance in Juicy Couture increased the volume of sales swiftly, setting a trend for others emulating Madonna’s fashion lead. The superstar created several fashion trends, all carried off with her usual charm and pizazz.

Madonna brought back the appearance of a ribbon tied into a bow on top of wild and wavy hair in the 80s, from the 50s fashion. Denouncing the sweet little girl look, heavy eye makeup of various shades created big eyes made for flirting. Emphasizing the bust was another fashion statement from the woman who enjoyed wearing beautiful undergarments over clothing. A tight tank top was perfect. Cute and sexy fingerless gloves of lace encased Madonna’s hands and looked great with the rest of her outfit. Bracelets dangled on both arms and dangly earrings, particularly those with crosses or hearts, were a signature choice of apparel. The fashion embraced in the 80s, such as skirts ranged from short to long lengths. Leggings often accompanied the skirt of choice. The best fashion statement was the incredible black ankle boots, giving a comfortable choice of stylish footwear for girls and women everywhere.

It is a kick to go to fashionable name brand stores and see the punk clothing and jelly bracelets of the 80s era once again. Fanny packs are back! Retro clothing is producing a wonderful opportunity to say, “Yeah, I wore one of those when I was your age” to the kids bragging about the latest garb offered at their favorite fashion house or designer shop. There is no need to spend a lot of money, though. Find the same garments at yard sales, second-hand stores, thrift shops and ordinary stores. Do as Madonna did and add your own touch with pins, bows, patches and swatches, a rip here or there, paint and any other art medium.

Hairdos went through a big change in 80s fashion. Short at the front and sides and long in the back, the mullet sent a new statement for men’s hairstyles by introducing a few different styles. Mullets gained the most draw with working men in rural and suburban areas. Big hair and exotic hairdos were exhibited by film and music stars, such as the B52s. Those styles gained in popularity and quickly copied by people of any age, but particularly teenagers. Mousse changed from recognition as a dessert to recognition as a gel or foam to hold big hair in place. Good mousse could withstand the Santa Ana winds in Southern California. Seldom slow on the uptake for new customers, mousse manufacturers sold varieties offering volume, sheen, and glitter.
This video clearly indicates the power of influence and the the huge impact Madonna had on trend setting!

The fashion, or even trend, look for men and women in professional situations was more conservative, an antithesis to the extreme styles presented. Women in business wore their hair sleek and straight. Men in business, particularly the younger ones, chose groomed short cuts and had the nape of the neck shaved to create an even hairline. There was no opportunity to go astray for several years, until at last blunt cuts returned, somewhat modified from the 70s, with equal hair length across the back.



Parts were passé in hair styles and unsettled some who regarded it as unkempt.

Denim jackets led style, thanks to the process of acid washing, which bleached the denim fabric and created white spots and streaks on the apparel. Besides denim jackets, acid-washed jeans became a hit. Groups like Poison gave the look credence and resulted in the embracing of bleached, torn jeans manufactured to look old. The jeans looked worn and well used, yet demanded higher prices than new denim jeans. Those who did not own jeans of this type created their own, causing grief among parents who had just shelled out $100 plus for designer jeans now recreated with their teenager’s own idea of style. A touch of bleach here and there, some good scissors and a large screwdriver could fashionable age the new jeans. The look, which never faded, is reviving energetically.

Eclectic tastes for any event can describe 80s fashion. Hawaiian shirts became a symbol of style, worn for business and casual events. The shirts were not always brilliantly colorful, but the patterns of gray and white were representative of the Islands. Business meetings often saw the Hawaiian shirt with no tie and a unique type of sport coat with obvious stitching.

Michael Jackson brought decoration and brilliance to leather jackets. The jacket, seldom buttoned, presented an image of unfinished dressing, celebrating the freedom to dress that way. Slouch shouldered, faded leather jackets injected their fashion for the 80s debut from Europe. Aviator jackets, a plain brown color styled after the fighter pilot jackets of WWII, gained popularity and sunglasses shaped in the style of aviator glasses became fashionable, even at night.

80s fashion saw teenage boys wearing a single earring. Piercing and tattooing became more common among teenagers. Hiking boots, flannel shirts and jeans, once mocked by city fashion experts as an outdoor look, caught on in the city. The gate to copied individuality opened and America enjoyed the freedom. Changes of the new wave of retro remain to be seen, but will certainly be enjoyable to see what remains the same and what changes slightly or dramatically. Perhaps a fanny pack that converts to an over-the-shoulder handbag is in store. Time will tell, but one thing is for sure, Madonnas 80s apparel Fashion will always be remembered and surely set in stone as one of the most trend setting movements in apparel history!


Try a little fashion from the 80s for Yourself!

80s Fashion Madonna Costumes







Painted Madonna Portrait