The '80s Trends That Are Back In Style Today
The 1980s are remembered as one of the most questionable (but daring!) decades in fashion history. From shoulder pads and oversized blazers to ruffles and the doorknocker earrings, it seems like everything was big in the 80s. And don’t even get us started on the beauty trends of the 80s. Even though some of the looks should never resurface (ahem–hair crimpers, bless your hearts), many fashion trends are actually back in style today. Whether you’re surprised, excited, or horrified, 80s fashion has made its way to the 21st century. Luckily, most of the trends that have found their way back to the racks are toned-down versions of the originals. It might feel like everything is coming full circle when you spot your daughter in a velvet dress that looks just like the one you wore to junior prom. Or you'll be happy to learn that those Keds you wore ragged have gotten a modern makeover. How many of these '80s looks did you have in your closet, and would you wear them now?
Oversized Blazers with Shoulder Pads, Then
In the 80s, the shoulder pads were substantial and the colors were loud. Often, blazers were boxy and big.
Oversized Blazers with Shoulder Pads, Now
Now, blazers can be structured on the shoulders without appearing ready for battle. An oversized blazer in black, taupe, or a neutral plaid can be paired with countless outfits any time of year.
Buy It: $118; anthropologie.com
Patchwork Denim, Then
The 1980s were quite a time for denim. Jean jackets were all the rage, acid-wash became a thing, and you could even buy denim with patchwork details (or add some yourself).
Patchwork Denim, Now
Jeans with embroidered floral patterns and patches are back in, especially for fall. This style is laidback with a boho feel.
Buy It: $150; anthropologie.com
Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses, Then
Although Ray-Ban introduced the Wayfarer style in 1956, the shades had resurgence in popularity in the 1980s, which was largely contributed to their appearance in The Blues Brothers, among other movies.
Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses, Now
The wayfarer style has remained trendy over the years and is still one of Ray-Ban’s most popular pair of sunglasses.
Buy It: $153; ray-ban.com
Monochrome Power Suits, Then
Women haven’t been wearing pantsuits for very long on the timeline of fashion history, and the 1980s was the age of the “power suit” for working women.
Monochrome Power Suits, Now
Women’s suits have certainly gotten more modern as far as the fit, but monochrome styles still work, even in the brightest colors. Keep putting the power in those suits, ladies.
Buy It: $288; jcrew.com
Velvet Dresses, Then
Velvet had a huge moment during the 80s, and even Princess Diana rocked the velvet-dress trend to multiple events.
Velvet Dresses, Now
Velvet might be having an even bigger moment now than it did in the 80s. From handbags, to blouses, to dresses, to shoes, you can find just about anything in soft or crushed velvet right now.
Buy It: $99; nordstrom.com
Cropped Jeans, Then
In the 1980s, cropped jeans with a cuff were actually called “pegged” jeans, but only when you achieved the perfect tight cuff.
Cropped Jeans, Now
Although jeans with a traditional cuff are still in fashion, many emerging styles of cropped jeans have more rough and uneven hemlines.
Buy It: $128; neimanmarcus.com
Fanny Packs, Then
The fanny pack was originally worn around the waist with the bag situated in the back, hence the name. Even though fanny packs were popular in the 80s, they weren’t considered fashionable and were worn for practical purposes.
Fanny Packs, Now
Because of on-the-go generations and music festivals, fanny packs have seen a very fashionable comeback. Luckily, fanny packs brought a new, less gross-sounding name into the millennial—they’re now going by “belt bags.” Under the Instagram-fueled “belt bag” guise, we’re tempted to get behind this trend.
Buy It: $56; nordstrom.com
Sequins and Shine, Then
In the 80s, there were enough sparkles and shimmery fabrics to go around.
Sequins and Shine, Now
Sparkly looks of the 80s lost their shine during the grungy 90s, but if celebrities’ red carpet looks are any indication, sequins are back (and hopefully here to stay).
Buy It: $198; nordstrom.com
Ruffle Blouses, Then
Much like shoulder pads, ruffles were big (in size and popularity) in the 80s. Blouses often had ruffles down the front that made them look like they belonged on a pirate instead.
Ruffle Blouses, Now
Southern women have always loved ruffles, so it’s convenient that they’re back in style, although in a more subtle way than in the 80s.
Buy It: $78; freepeople.com
Off-The-Shoulder Dresses, Then
Off-the-shoulder looks were everywhere in the 80s, and Princess Diana wore a few influential off-the-shoulder gowns to various events.
Off-The-Shoulder Dresses, Now
Off-the-shoulder looks are no longer just for fancy events. Off-the-shoulder dresses and tops are trendy for day or night, and many off-the-shoulder looks incorporate another 80s staple—ruffles.
Buy It: $198; nordstrom.com
Big Sleeves, Then
Was anything actually small in the 80s? The sleeves sure weren’t.
Big Sleeves, Now
Brace yourselves, ladies: Puffy sleeves are back. For now, sleeves with the grandeur of the 80s sleeve are only prancing down couture runways, but ready-to-wear, more subdued versions are hitting shelves.
Buy It: $80; nordstrom.com
Madonna’s look at the first MTV Video Music Awards put lace on the map in a way the fashion world had never seen.
In the South, classic lace is never out of style. No offense to Madonna, but we’re very glad that fingerless lace gloves haven’t come back.
Buy It: $89; nordstrom.com
Bomber Jackets, Then
Bomber jackets came off of military pilots and high school football players and into the fashion scene in the 80s partially because of popular films like The Hunter and Top Gun.
Bomber Jackets, Now
Modern bomber jackets are dressier and made with lighter fabrics for more versatile wear.
Buy It: $52; lulus.com
Athletic Attire, Then
In 1982, Jane Fonda released her first aerobics home workout video, and the concept of exercise (and the fashion involved) changed forever.
Athletic Attire, Now
Athletic attire now is much more advanced as far as weather and sweat protection go, but legging styles that became popular in the 80s are in, especially high-waist looks. Thank goodness leg warmers stayed in the 80s, and leotards are only for dancers and gymnasts again.
Buy It: $50; dickssportinggoods.com
Every girl in school was wearing Keds, and that white canvas had to be spot-free.
The Keds brand has branched out from the original stark white look and now sells platform, high-top, and patterned sneakers in multiple multiple fabrics, colors, and patterns.
Buy It: $59.95; keds.com
Denim Jackets, Then
Denim played a big role in 80s fashion, and jackets were no exception.
Denim Jackets, Now
Denim jackets are perfect for chilly Southern days and nights when you just need something over your shoulders, and they go with just about anything, so this is a trend we’re happy to have back.
Buy It: $44.99; oldnavy.com