'80s Fashion Trends Coming Back into Style

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Today when we look back at the '80s, we can see a lot of trends. There was a revolution in home technology with gaming moving from arcades to our living rooms with Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). The '80s had the fitness boom with the crazy time of leg warmers and workout videos. However, as we look upon the '80s, many of its trends are making or have made a comeback in the world of fashion. This article explores the many fashion items of the nostalgic '80s era and how they are making a comeback today. 

Oversized Blazers with Shoulder Pads

In the '80s, shoulder pads were substantial and the colors were loud. Often, blazers were boxy and big, but many celebrities have been seen rocking similar outfits as of late. Lady Gaga at the Grammy Awards in 2018 and now on the runways of Paris, New York, and London have been showcasing this staple in many current collections. 

Patchwork Denim

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). Now, many people are doing the same with floral prints and more. 

Ray-Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses

Ray-Bans are all the rage and still one of the most iconic sunglass brands around. Although Ray-Ban introduced the Wayfarer style in 1956, the shades had a resurgence in popularity in the 1980s. Iconic appearances in films like The Blues Brothers and Risky Business largely contributed to their popularity. The wayfarer style has remained trendy over the years and is still one of Ray-Ban’s most popular pair of sunglasses.

Monochrome Power Suits

Women haven’t been wearing pantsuits for very long in the timeline of fashion history, but the 1980s was the age of the “power suit” for working women. 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.

Velvet Dresses

Velvet had a huge moment during the '80s and even Princess Diana rocked the velvet-dress trend to multiple events. Velvet might be having an even bigger moment now than it did in the '80s. From handbags to blouses and dresses to shoes, you can find just about anything in soft or crushed velvet right now.

Cropped Jeans

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In the 1980s, cropped jeans with a cuff were actually called “pegged” jeans, but only when you achieved the perfect tight cuff. Although jeans with a traditional cuff are still in fashion, many emerging styles of cropped jeans have more rough and uneven hemlines.

Fanny Packs

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. 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.” 


In the '80s, there were enough sparkles and shimmery fabrics to go around. Sparkly looks of the '80s lost their shine during the grungy '90s, but if the red carpet looks is any indication, sequins are back (and hopefully here to stay).

Ruffle Blouse

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. 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.

Off the Shoulder Dresses

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 looks are no longer just for fancy events as dresses and tops are trendy for day or night, and many off-the-shoulder looks incorporate another '80s staple—ruffles.

Big Sleeves

Big sleeves were a staple of the 1980s and were seen all over from celebrities to the fashion shows. And 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.


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.

Bomber Jacket

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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. Modern bomber jackets are dressier and made with lighter fabrics for more versatile wear.

Fitness Attire

In 1982, Jane Fonda released her first aerobics home workout video, and the concept of exercise (and the fashion involved) changed forever. Activewear now is much more advanced as far as weather and sweat protection, 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.

So, what fashion trend are you happy to see on this list. Or, have you seen any items out and about that looks like a blast from the past that isn’t on this list! Well, have a look outside and see what you can find!
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