The Impact of the 80s: Styles that Continue to Impact Fashion Today

The Impact of the 80s: Styles that Continue to Impact Fashion Today

The 1980’s. A time characterized by bold attitudes and exaggerated styles. With the cyclical nature of trends, we’re still feeling the effects and influence of this era on fashion styles today.


Ivy league, collegiate styles defined the decade and various expressions of aesthetic ranged from subdued and chic to gaudy and ironic. Brands like Lacoste or Polo Ralph Lauren epitomized the nostalgia for the class of yester-year. We see this impact today through current trends such as the subdued “stealth wealth” or more ironic “acedemia-core” you may have seen scattered across your TikTok page.

Stylish Sportswear

As the fitness craze hit the nation with full force, stylish athletic wear was integrated more and more into everyday dress. Designers like Norma Kamali utlized comfortable materials like jersey while brands like Alaïa relied on form fitting silhouettes by utlizing fabrics like lycra. Leggings, leg warmers, windbreakers and other styles usually found in the gym were making their way mainstream. An effect we see today in full force as activewear seems to be a permenate mainstay in our closets.

New Romantic

Modern feminism paved way for new feminine icons such as Princess Diana or Vivenne Westwood. Glamour was presented in a loud, yet elegant fashion signifying a form of respect for the regal traditions of the past with a modernist perspective. Their cutting edge take on royalty, diplomacy and femininity presented a new perspective on bourgeois, belle epoque flavors. Today’s “Recency-Core” draws heavily from this reimagined take on the theatric style of dress.

Power Dressing

The 80s were a time of affluence as the result of hard work and bold suits were tailored to reflect that. This period of economic boom lead to prominent displaces of affluence through conservative styles of dress.The structural power suit with striking shoulder pads and a slim waist became a staple in everyone’s closet. As more and more women tranistinoned into roles in the boardroom or other traditionally held male positions, they relied on their way of dressing to embody their newfound sense of power.


The punk attitude spread across the globe, with each geographic epicenter claiming it’s own take on a set of morals and aesthetics to reflect. The popularity of punk rock, post punk and new wave music styles influenced a generation of kids, channeling the angsty energy through DIY outfits of self-expression. Rebelling against the “Greed is Good” attitudes associated with the preppy sophisticate – a “bottom up” approach to personal style evolved. Punks sought inspiration in niche subcultures and working class individualists in response to the top down trends that were dictated by a few reigning designers. The emergence of skateboarding and skate culture called for a new style of clothes that were fit for the physical demands of the sport. 


Rap/Hip Hop

The emergence of Hip-Hop and related styles of dance brought out a new way of dressing as well. Athletic jumpsuits and sneakers were combined with old-school ideologies to present a different look than those participating in the aerobic craze of the time. A mix of street-style and luxury was fused in a new and unique way through hip-hop culture. Adidas superstars and Air Jordans caught on like wildfire and solidified the staying power of the sneaker in our wardrobes.


So what do you think? Can you see any influence of the 80s in your own wardrobe? Now in store we’re seeing a reimurgance of bright colors and big shoulders. Check out how our love of 80’s fashion is impacting our own aesthetic in person or online!

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