How to Build the Perfect 1980s Inspired Look

The 1980s were, simply put, iconic for fashion. Even people born a decade later have the image of your quintessential ‘80s look, from loud hair to even louder colors. While it sometimes seems extreme, you can’t help but admit that some of the fashion trends of the ‘80s just looked so good.

If you loved the ‘80s look, then there’s nothing wrong with nodding to that decade with your clothing choices. In fact, doing so can add a unique twist to your outfit, helping you to develop a style that’s undeniably you.

It’s All About Balance

Unless you want to look like you’re going to an ‘80s party, which certainly isn’t a bad thing, you may want to include some balance in your style. What does this mean? Well, while the 80s trends were undeniably cool, you might not want to include every fashion trend in every outfit.

Just add a touch of the 80s, for a vintage flair without looking as though you’ve walked through a time machine. A lot of modern fashion trends already draw inspiration from this period, and you can do the same with your style.

Believe it or not, you can emulate the ‘80s with clothes that you probably already have knocking around. Creating an ‘80s look with modern clothing is a fantastic way to get the balance just right. Even better, you don’t need to spend money on new (or vintage) clothes. At least, not if you don’t want to.

‘80s Trends to Draw Inspiration From

Here are some examples of some fantastic and quintessentially ‘80s trends that you can draw from:

  • Double denim, like jeans and a denim jacket. If you’re particularly brave, you can even go triple denim.
  • Sporty sneakers. From converse to Air Jordans, the sneaker revolution can be attributed to the ‘80s. Even better, this casual and effortless style is still popular today, so feel free to rock a vintage pair.
  • Bright colors. Whether we’re talking about makeup or clothes, neon ruled the roost. Honestly, you can absolutely add a splash or two of bright colors to your outfit and look killer. Bright makeup has an undeniable sense of fun. Just remember balance. You want to stand out, but this works best when it’s a few colors, not a neon rainbow.
  • High-waisted jeans. Recently, high-waisted jeans have made a triumphant comeback to fashion, to the sigh of relief of women around the world. The ‘80s featured many different styles of jeans, but high-waisted acid wash jeans will do just fine. If you want to really embrace the look, then mom jeans and ripped jeans were probably the most iconic styles of the ‘80s.
  • Big hair. Another thing that’s becoming more popular, especially among men, is big, voluminous hair. The ‘90s and early ‘00s saw an emphasis on modern, sleek looks, and these do still look great. However, the poofy, voluminous hair of the ‘80s was wonderful. Just reconsider the mullet.
  • Shoulder pads. To be honest, the ‘80s was just a time when everything was big. Hair, shoulder pads, and anything else you could think of. While you might not want to return to the extremes of the ‘80s, shoulder pads can add shape and structure to your outfit.
  • Athletic gear. Oh yes, lycra and legwarmers were popularized in the 80s and, while you might not want to wander around in this gear, you can still use the bright, geometric patterns and form-fitting materials as inspiration.


The key to making any look pop is to accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. Accessories are the finishing touch that brings everything together and draws the eye. Men and women alike benefit from picking the right accessories and owning them.

For example, men can’t go wrong with a stylish watch. While FP Journe was established in 1999, the clever and precise design of these watches can’t be denied. True, there’s no neon or denim, but they’re so well-made that you’ll have to make do with quality leather and top-quality materials.

Another ‘80s mainstay is the big, chunky headphones. Get them in bright, neon colors and you can enjoy a functional accessory that can really exemplify an ‘80s classic look.

Women can really embrace the ‘80s accessories with Madonna-inspired fingerless gloves. Whether you want to go full neon like she did, or dial it down, you can still keep your hands warm with these accessories. Go for big earrings to match your big hair and just embrace the fun. The ‘80s was a great time, why not revisit it?

Photos courtesy Depositphotos

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