How to Dress 80s Style

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Are you feeling nostalgic for the colorful and bold fashion of the 80s? Do you want to infuse some retro vibes into your wardrobe? Look no further, as this comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about dressing 80s style.




How to Dress 80s Style


Who Should Dress 80s Style?

Anyone who wants to embrace the fun and unique fashion of the 80s can dress 80s style. This style is perfect for those who want to stand out with their clothing choices and express their individuality. It’s also a great choice for theme parties or events that require a costume.

What Defines 80s Style?

The 80s was a decade marked by bold colors, eye-catching patterns, and over-the-top fashion. Some of the defining characteristics of 80s style include:

  • Bright neon colors
  • Bold geometric prints
  • Acid wash denim
  • Shoulder pads
  • Leg warmers
  • Big hair
  • Chunky jewelry

When Was 80s Style Popular?

As the name suggests, 80s style was popular during the 1980s. It was a time of excess and indulgence, and fashion played a big role in expressing these values. While the popularity of 80s style waned in the following decades, it has seen a resurgence in recent years.

How to Dress 80s Style

Dressing 80s style is easier than you might think. Here are some steps you can follow to achieve this look:

  1. Start with the basics: To dress 80s style, you’ll need some basic pieces like acid wash jeans, oversized t-shirts, and leggings. These items form the foundation of your outfit.
  1. Add some color: The 80s were all about bright, neon colors. Incorporate these hues into your outfit through accessories like belts, scarves, and jewelry.
  1. Embrace the prints: 80s style was defined by bold geometric prints, animal prints, and even comic book-inspired prints. Look for these patterns on items like jackets, dresses, and skirts.
  1. Don’t forget the shoulder pads: The 80s were notorious for their oversized shoulders. Incorporate this trend into your outfit by wearing blazers or jackets with structured shoulders.
  1. Accessorize: Finish off your 80s look with some chunky jewelry, leg warmers, and big hair.

Pros and Cons of Dressing 80s Style

Like any fashion trend, dressing 80s style has its pros and cons. Here are some to consider:


  • Expresses individuality
  • Stands out from the crowd
  • Fun and playful
  • Great for themed events


  • Can be overwhelming
  • Not appropriate for all occasions
  • Requires careful coordination to avoid looking costume-y

Alternatives to 80s Style

If you’re not feeling the 80s vibe, there are plenty of alternative fashion styles to explore. Some options include:

  • 90s grunge
  • Boho chic
  • Preppy
  • Minimalist
  • Streetwear

Step-by-Step Guide to Dressing 80s Style

If you’re ready to fully commit to 80s style, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you achieve the look:

  1. Start with a pair of acid wash jeans or leggings.
  2. Add an oversized t-shirt or sweatshirt.
  3. Layer a brightly colored jacket or blazer over the top.
  4. Incorporate some bold geometric prints through accessories like scarves or jewelry.
  5. Put on some leg warmers or choose shoes with neon accents.
  6. Finish the look with big hair and some chunky jewelry.

How to Compare 80s Style with Other Fashion Styles

Here’s a comparison of 80s style with some other popular fashion styles:

  • 90s grunge: While both styles embrace a rebellious spirit, 90s grunge is characterized by darker colors and edgier silhouettes.
  • Boho chic: This style is all about flowy fabrics, earthy hues, and natural materials. It’s a far cry from the bold and bright nature of 80s style.
  • Preppy: Preppy style emphasizes classic, tailored pieces in subdued colors. It’s a more conservative take on fashion than 80s style.
  • Minimalist: Minimalist style values simplicity and clean lines over bold patterns and bright colors.
  • Streetwear: This style is all about comfort and practicality, with an emphasis on athletic wear and sneakers. It’s a departure from the flamboyance of 80s style.

Tips for Dressing 80s Style

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when dressing 80s style:

  • Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns and colors.
  • Layeringis key to achieving an 80s look. Experiment with different combinations of jackets, blazers, and shirts.
  • Accessorize with chunky jewelry, big belts, and bright scarves.
  • Choose shoes with neon accents or bold prints for a fun pop of color.
  • Take inspiration from iconic 80s movies and music videos for outfit ideas.

The Best 80s Style Fashion Pieces

Here are some of the best fashion pieces to help you achieve an authentic 80s style:

  1. Acid wash jeans or leggings
  2. Oversized t-shirts or sweatshirts
  3. Brightly colored blazers or jackets with structured shoulders
  4. Leg warmers
  5. Chunky jewelry like oversized hoop earrings or layered necklaces
  6. Neon belts or scarves
  7. High-top sneakers with bold patterns or neon accents
  8. Big hair accessories like scrunchies or headbands


  1. How can I make my 80s outfit more modern? To give your 80s outfit a modern twist, try pairing vintage pieces with contemporary items like skinny jeans or crop tops. You can also opt for 80s-inspired pieces with a modern update, like neon sneakers or graphic tees.
  1. What hairstyles were popular in the 80s? Big hair was all the rage in the 80s, with perms, teased bangs, and crimped hair being popular styles. Madonna’s iconic “like a virgin” look with a high ponytail and lace bow is also a classic 80s hairstyle.
  1. Can I wear 80s style to work? While 80s style can be appropriate for casual or creative workplaces, it may not be suitable for more formal environments. To incorporate 80s style into a work outfit, opt for subtle nods like a shoulder-padded blazer or bright scarf.
  1. What should I avoid when dressing 80s style? To avoid looking like you’re wearing a costume, it’s best to stick to one or two statement pieces per outfit. Avoid overdoing it with too many bold colors, patterns, and accessories.
  1. Can men dress 80s style? Absolutely! Men can embrace 80s style by incorporating elements like acid wash denim, bright jackets, and chunky jewelry into their outfits.


Dressing 80s style is a fun and playful way to express your individuality and stand out from the crowd. With the right mix of bold colors, prints, and accessories, you can achieve an authentic 80s look that’s both nostalgic and modern. So go ahead and embrace your inner Madonna or Michael Jackson – it’s time to rock that 80s style!



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