35 '80s Fashion Trends You Totally Forgot About

Whether you love '80s fashion, films, music or anything in between, we all have a lot to thank that era for.

From wild hair to bold neon colors, the '80s truly changed the fashion world, and we can still see glimpses of it to this day. You know how high-waisted jeans are super popular right now? Well guess what—that trend started all the way back in the '80s!

Curious to learn about more trends from that decade? Keep reading for 35 '80s fashion trends you totally forgot about:

'80s Fashion Trends You Completely Forgot about: NeonTrack Jacket

(via Shutterstock)

1. Leg Warmers

Leg warmers were a classic staple for women back in the ' 80s. Whether they were hitting up a dance class or going to their local gym to get their sweat on, you were pretty much guaranteed to see lots of leg warmers! Whether they were neutral in color or a very bright neon hue was up to the fashionista, and if you kept up with the trends, you had multiple colors to choose from.

'80s legwarmers fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


Also read about: 7 Fashion Pieces You Need If You Love the Cut-Out Trend


2. Vans

We're willing to bet you've owned at least one pair of Vans in your life, if not multiple. Back in the '80s, Vans was gaining a lot of popularity and being worn by anyone with a laid-back sense of style. Fast forward 40 years and Vans are still just as popular, if not more! They're perfect to throw on when you're running out the door.

'80s vans fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


3. High-Waisted Jeans

If you're anything like us, you absolutely despise low-rise jeans. We know we would have thrived in the '80s, because that's when high-waisted jeans became all the rage. It's funny how fashion stays and goes, because these days, high-waisted jeans have made a total comeback. If you're a girl, you 100% have at least one pair.

'80s High-waisted jeans fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


4. Bodysuits

If there was one thing every it-girl had back in the '80s, it was a sick bodysuit. These were insanely popular, and for good reason. They were mostly used for dance and aerobic-type classes, but were also seen on occasion with normal, everyday outfits. This is yet another style that has made its way to the 2020s!

'80s bodysuit fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


5. Spandex

Whether you own a pair of your own spandex or know your mom wears Spanx under tight dresses, they actually gained popularity way back in the '80s. The material is super lightweight and can be stretched a ton, meaning basically any body type can wear it. Spandex paved the way for rockstars, fashionistas and everyone in between.

'80s neon spandex fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


6. Black Leather

We're pretty sure black leather will never go out of style, but we saw a big jump in the trend back in the '80s. Think of stars like Madonna and Motley Crue—they loved the trend and some even believe they're partly the reason why it blew up so much. From leather jackets to skirts to shorts, nothing was off limits when it came to black leather in the '80s.

'80s black leather jacket and skirt fashion trend

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7. Fanny Packs

Modern fanny packs came into the mainstream back in the '80s. Men, women and children loved to sport the easy-to-carry bag in an array of colors. Since neon was popular back then, that was what was typically seen. Fanny packs fell out of fashion for quite some time, but have since made their way back.

'80s fannypack fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


8. Graphic Tees

Graphic tees were huge back in the '80s. Whether you were rocking a Coca-Cola shirt or even a Mickey Mouse one, nothing was off limits. They were obviously more fun to wear than a boring plain white tee, so it's no surprise everyone loved this trend. Even today, graphic tees are a huge staple in most of our closets—for both men and women.

'80s graphic Drink Coca-Cola T-shirt fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


Also read about: 7 White Dresses That Would Be Perfect to Wear for Your Graduation


9. Scrunchies

We're starting to think that 2020 is the year that the '80s made their comeback. Back in the '80s, scrunchies were all the rage. Due to an increase in-studio classes and the ever-popular Jane Fonda workout videos, scrunchies were perfect to throw your hair up. Presently, scrunchies have made a major comeback and are here to stay for a long time.

'80s scrunchie fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


10. Acid-Washed Denim

Acid-washed denim was crazy popular back in the '80s. Whether your jeans were acid-washed or you had a jacket, it was totally fair game in those days. This is one of the styles we never really liked, so we're crossing our fingers this doesn't come back into style anytime soon.

'80s acid washed denim fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


11. Lace

Lace became insanely popular in the '80s, in large part due to Madonna. The pop singer was known to rock lace all the time, so when fans saw how she was able to effortlessly pull it off, they too started to wear the trend. Lace is something that never truly went away in regards to fashion, but it certainly hasn't been as popular as it was at its peak in the '80s.

'80s lace fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


12. Shoulder Pads

When you think of shoulder pads, your mind might go to football players or something sports-related. However, back in the '80s, shoulder pads were actually a fashion statement. Women were known for having shoulder pads in blouses, blazers and even dresses. The bigger the better! This was popular throughout the '80s and even into the '90s.

'80s shoulder pad fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


13. Mini Skirts

Mini skirts were very big back in the '90s, but they actually gained popularity first in the '80s. Girls and women of every age loved to rock this style. Whether they wore it sans tights or with some sort of legging or fishnet, it was definitely one of the most popular trends of the decade.

'80s miniskirt fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


14. Sequins

We don't think we'll ever get sick of anything that sparkles or shines, so it's no wonder we're obsessed with sequins! Back in the '80s, sequins were a staple for any girl who was into punk rock and even girly girls. Whether they wore a sequin jacket like the one pictured above, or one that was more "rocker," sequins were a staple back then.

'80s sequins fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


15. Ripped Knees

You know that one annoying family member of yours that asks how much you paid to get your jeans ripped? Well, that joke actually got its roots back in the '80s when the trend first became a thing. If your jeans didn't have a rip in the knee area, you simply weren't with the times, meaning a lot of the time you'd just do it yourself!

'80s ripped knee denim jeans fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


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16. Members Only Jacket

If you're young, you probably have absolutely no idea what a Members Only jacket is. However, if you're into fashion history, we're willing to bet you're familiar with it. Back in the '80s, the Members Only brand completely blew up, in large part due to its now-iconic jacket. Even today people still love to rock them!

'80s members only jacket fashion trend

(via @membersonlyusa)


17. Ruffles

When you think of modern ruffles, you likely think of a girl wearing a cute dress. But, back in the '80s, ruffles were something totally different. They were popular not only with women, but with men, too! Perhaps the most common form of ruffle people wore then were blouses with a ruffle going up the center.

'80s ruffles fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


18. Wayfarers

Thanks to the ever-popular film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Ray-Ban's Wayfarer glasses soared. If you've yet to see the film, the main character wore them in the movie, and it set up quite a scene. Pretty much everyone who was into fashion had a pair of these bad boys. Fast forward to today, these are still a relatively popular style of glasses.

'80s wayfarer sunglasses fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


19. Animal Print

Animal print made a major comeback a few years ago, but they were actually first popular back in the '80s. Back then, it was typically leopard or cheetah print that you'd seen worn by women. Whether it was a jacket, dress or accessory, animal print was fierce and one of the biggest trends of the decade.

'80s animal print jacket fashion trend

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20. Statement Jewelry

The chunkier the jewelry, the better—at least it was back in the '80s. These days, we're all about delicate pieces, but the '80s were pretty much the complete opposite. Like in the picture above, if you were seen rocking a super big statement piece, you were in on the trend. Gold chains were definitely at the top of everyone's list.

'80s chunky statement jewelry fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


21. Perms

You're lying if you say you've never wanted a perm. Okay, that might be a bit harsh, but you know how everyone always wants what they can't have? If you have straight hair, you want curly hair, and vice versa. Since big hair was "big" back in the '80s, if you had straight and flat hair, getting  a perm was the solution to sticking with the trend.

'80s permed hair fashion trend

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22. Matching Tracksuits

When you see a picture of someone wearing a matching tracksuit, you might think of soccer or some other sport. However, back in the '80s, rocking a matching tracksuit was actually a fashion statement. And while we occasionally see them in current times, they were way bigger in the '80s.

'80s matching track suit fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


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23. Swatch Watches

Swatch watches completely took off in the '80s and are actually still around to this day! While they aren't nearly as popular as they were back in the '80s, Swatch has made a name for itself. In the '80s, everyone was obsessed with the watch brand. Perhaps the most well-known trend of the '80s, to this day people are selling collector's items.

'80s swatch watches fashion trend

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24. Vinyl Outerwear

When we say vinyl was popular, no, we do not mean vinyl records. In terms of fashion, vinyl is something completely different. It's actually gained some popularity this decade, but was originally on the scene back in the '80s. This look was definitely one that was reserved for the more punk rock crowd.

'80s vinyl outerwear fashion trend

(via @leftiesofficial)


25. Big Sunnies

In the '80s, it was pretty safe to say that bigger was better in most cases. The same can be said for sunglasses back then! Oversized sunnies were all the rage. If you could see your eyebrows, they simply weren't big enough. So, if you were fashion-forward and a trendsetter, you likely had an arsenal of large sunglasses.

'80s big sunglasses fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


26. Leggings

It should come as no surprise to you that leggings were the trend of the '80s. And while they've made their way back into present times, it's all thanks to that decade. Since the '80s were a big time for workouts and dancing, leggings were practical, comfy and cute. The only difference between then and now is that in the '80s leggings were primarily bright and multi-colored—not black like you typically see nowadays.

'80s leggings fashion trend

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27. Large Denim Jackets

From high-waisted jeans to acid wash, denim certainly had a big presence in the '80s. To take it even further, another denim trend was oversized jackets! Fit for both men and women, large jean jackets were a fan favorite back in the '80s. The more oversized the better. Plus, they were often worn with other layers.

'80s big denim jacket fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


28. Polka Dots

When you think of polka dots we're willing to bet you don't think of the '80s right away. However, it wasn't until this decade that the vast majority of everyone started to rock the print. It used to be reserved for celebs and the like, but by the time the '80s rolled through, it had caught on like wildfire.

'80s polka dot fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


29. Mullets

Business in the front and party in the back is the unofficial slogan of the mullet hairstyle. This hairdo caught heat in the '80s and swiftly took off. Men were especially into the style, but there were also a select few daring women that rocked it as well. This is yet another trend that's made its way to modern times, but with an updated twist.

'80s mullet fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


Also read about: These 10 Men Will Always Be Style Icons


30. Boxy Blazers

When it came to women's fashion in the '80s, trends were all over the board. One of the popular ones was boxy blazers. The structured fit was definitely masculine in nature, but it was insanely trendy back then. This is another '80s trend that can be seen today through a simple scroll on your Instagram feed.

'80s boxy blazer fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


31. Bucket Hats

Bucket hats have made a huge comeback lately, but they actually first gained traction back in the '80s. They were easy to throw on and were definitely meant for more relaxed social situations. Whether you were hitting up the beach, pool or heading over to a friend's house, bucket hats would likely be seen!

'80s bucket hat fashion trend

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32. Fishnets

Fishnets aren't only for Broadway, believe it or not! The '80s were actually the first time they made their appearance on the masses. It was definitely reserved for the punk rock crowd and was styled in a number of ways. Whether it was under ripped jeans or a version of tights, women loved to wear this trend.

'80s fish net fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


33. Bally Shoes

Bally shoes were insanely popular in the '80s, largely due in part to rappers. Whether they were wearing them for a night out on the town, rapping about them in a song or seen rocking them on an album cover, Bally shoes were the it shoe for anyone into the hip-hop or rap genre.

'80s bally shoes fashion trend

(via @bally)


34. Neon

Surprise, surprise, neon was a big trend in the '80s! Perhaps the least shocking trend on this entire list, neon was huge in that decade. Whether it was in the form of an accessory, shirt, dress or anything else, basically nothing was off-limits. The brighter, the better!

'80s neon outfit fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


35. Side Ponytail

Last but not least, another major trend of the '80s was the side ponytail. Now reserved for little kids, in the '80s, both girls and women rocked this hairstyle. If you were really in on the trends, you'd wear your side pony with a scrunchie.

'80s side ponytail and neon outfit fashion trend

(via Shutterstock)


Love fashion trends? Look HERE for the five jewelry trends we can't get enough of.