Retrocon 2024

5 Movies That Showcase the Best of '80s Fashion

The 1980s was an amazing decade when it comes to fashion, and so much of what we remember about it is informed and reinforced by the movies of the era, as well as subsequent releases that are inspired by its aesthetic.

If you’re eager to recreate one of the many head-turning looks, or you simply love the silver screen, check out the following flicks which are stuffed with incredible '80s styles.

The Color of Money

Fast cars and fat wallets were a common theme throughout the 80s, and The Color of Money is a film that deals with the murkier side of the coin, focusing on pool hustlers rather than high rollers.

Starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise, there’s a great fashion dichotomy between these two leads. Newman is the older, classier gentleman, wearing suits or at least a shirt even when he’s playing pool in a dive bar. Cruise is the young buck, and he seems to have a wardrobe that consists mainly of plaid shirts and leather jackets, both of which were on-trend for youngsters at the time.

Directed by Martin Scorsese, it’s also one of many famous gambling movies, scenes and quotes that will leave you electrified from the narrative alone.


Although it came out close to the beginning of the decade, in 1983, Scarface somehow manages to encapsulate the entire energy of the '80s in one fell swoop.

From the loud, brash fashion choices of Al Pacino’s antihero Tony Montana and his cohorts, to the incredible synth-heavy soundtrack, and the story of the American Dream taken to the extreme, this film has it all.

It’s also easy to forget just how controversial it was at the time of its release, and how it still has the ability to shock and enthrall modern audiences.

American Psycho

If Tony Montana was chasing the American Dream by clawing his way out of the gutter, Patrick Bateman does it from a position of immense privilege, epitomizing the Wall Street yuppie down to the ground.

Played with panache by Christian Bale, Bateman’s character is obsessed with exterior appearances, spending ages on a morning routine and wearing only the best suits and accessories to impress his work colleagues.

Although it was released in 2000, American Psycho is a movie that does an excellent job of bringing its period setting back to life, and the pitch-perfect fashion choices made by the costume department are a big part of that.


For a lot of audiences, the thing that sticks with them about Footloose is the soundtrack. The title song is incredibly catchy, and in its own right is the de facto mid-80s hit that spawned a whole host of imitators.

From a fashion perspective, there’s also a lot to get your teeth into here. Kevin Bacon’s rebellious teenage protagonist is primarily seen wearing light colored jeans, which are both skin tight and high waisted, combined with either a vest or a sweater that at once makes him look masculine as well as vulnerable.

The hair styles are equally interesting, with Bacon’s slightly unruly fluff-cut being juxtaposed by the prime perm of his love interest.

The Breakfast Club

If you love fashion and you dig the 1980s, The Breakfast Club is a movie that has it all. We’ve got plaid shirts, football jackets, high waisted pants, chunky sunglasses and a collection of hair styles that covers quite the spectrum.

Sure, there are some problematic elements to the plot of this teen drama, at least from a modern perspective. But as an artifact of the era, it’s hard to beat.
Photos courtesy Depositphotos

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