80s Fashion: How to Look Chic in 80s Clothing

"Influence from the Movie & Music Industry"

80s fashion was heavily influenced by the music and movie industry. Some would even say that it was the creation of MTV that revolutionized fashion in the 1980s. TVs were becoming more common in the average household, and teens were finding themselves watching and gathering inspiration from the gaudy and outrageous style shown in music videos.

80s fashion influenced by movie and music culture

All of this touched and raised a need among people - self expression of their creativity and individuality. It was a time to find themselves. And as the hip hop culture grew in the beginning of the 80s, fashion became more influenced by bright colors, oversized clothes and 'excessorized' outfits.

Here are some of the things that were trendy during the 80s:

80s fashion influenced by movie and music culture

Many people would say that he 1980s was the decade known as 'the time that forgot fashion'. Compared to the previous decade, the 1970s - people's style reversed from loose bottoms and tight tops, to loose tops and tight pants. 80s fashion was bolder, sexier and gaudier and paved out a more experimental way of style that would have given people of the 50's and 60s a heart attack!

I wasn't old enough to fully experience this fun and crazy decade of 80s fashion, but we don't have to go back to get a taste of this outrageous period. Fashion designers are constantly recycling 80s style and adding it to their collection, and I believe it will continue to haunt us as for a very long time.

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How to Wear 80s Fashion the Chic Way

I'm personally not a big fan of 80s clothing and style, I still prefer 70s fashion more - but there are some clothes and details that I find stylish enough to wear - adding spunk to a pretty or classy outfit.

Here is a list of clothes you should look for to add some 80s vibe to your chic style:

80s fashion and clothing jumpsuit
Courtesy of Baby Phat

Jumpsuits and Rompers

I love how these one-pieces give you long, lean and streamlined look. It doesn't shorten your frame like when you wear a light colored top and dark bottom. Instead it skims your figure from top to bottom. Topping it off with a pair of high heeled sandals is a fab way for short gals to maximally look taller.

Jumpsuits and rompers are easy to wear and very flattering (given that you've selected the right fit).

80s fashion and clothing denim vest
Courtesy of Old Navy

Denim Vest

A denim vest is yet another fashion statement piece that many women don't dare to wear because of its cowboy look. But what you should love about it is that it can add a casual flair to any outfit and takes a basic tee or dress to another level. It also looks chic and fun with a floral summer dress or a cute skirt.

If my moods is right, I'd go casual from top to toe with black or camel shorts, a basic tank top along with a statement necklace and denim vest. Shop and learn more about Denim Vests.

80s fashion and clothing acid wash jeans
Courtesy of Express

Acid Jeans

To be honest, I used to really like these but they're starting to grow out of my taste, but I enjoy the fun and punk'ish effect it adds to the denim jeans-look.

To adjust to a more classier style, find the least (like the one to your left) acid washed pair of waisted denim shorts with a white t-shirt and a gold statement necklace. Shop and learn more about Acid Wash Jeans.

80s fashion and clothing legging
Courtesy of Shopbop

Fashion Leggings

A classic 80s fashion trend from the urban streets of New York. If you want to look chic and classy avoid graphic leggings with leopard, stars and skulls prints. Rather focus on the sleeker and subtle fashion leggings such as denim, leather, suede and lace. They're more versatile and not so attention grabbing. Shop and learn more about fashion leggings.

80s fashion and clothing sweatshirt
Courtesy of Yes Style


Another typical part of the popular 80s fashion. Sweatshirts look amazingly chic tucked in a pair of slim fitted trousers. But they should have a thinner sweat fabric (to avoid stuffing your waist with lots of fabric), be shorter than your hips (again, to avoid the stuffing effect but there are exceptions if you're tall or want to achieve a laid-back look), and not least have a slightly wide neckline to show off some skin.

80s fashion and clothing wayfarer sunglasses
Courtesy of Nordstrom

Wayfarer and Pilot (aviators) Sunglasses

These were the sunglasses of the 80s fashion. They were spotted frequently on some of the 80s top celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Don Johnson and Tom Cruise. Both sunglass styles are originally from the 50's but were revived by the movie and music industry. It was in Tom Cruise's move Risky Business wayfarer glasses shot up the popularity scale.

And we all remember the Grammy Award night in 1984 when MJ wore his pilot glasses? Epic :-) Shop and learn more about stylish Womens Sunglasses

80s fashion and clothing lingerie
Courtesy of ASOS

Lingerie as Outerwear

We have to thank Madonna for this 80s fashion trend. Her super sexy vixen style was copied by young girls and was a sought after look. Madonna often wore lace bustiers and bras as tops to show off her body, and this changed the fashion industry for ever.

I really like this look as long as it is carefully balanced out with basic and casual pieces. Subtleness is the key. I like stretching my chic fashion envelope by using my young age (in my mid 20s) as an excuse for this naughty look ;-)

Pair for example a black bustier (it has to cover your nipples of course) with a casual bf blazer or a denim shirt along with slim trousers. You can find many lingerie-as-outerwear inspired clothes these days which are made to wear out in public.

80s fashion and clothing bodysuit
Courtesy of ASOS

Body Suits (known as leotards)

Similar to jumpsuits and rompers these give you a seamless look which can be quite flattering on most body figures. You basically don't have to worry about your mid-riff being accidentally revealed.

I don't like what Lady Gaga is doing with it, so instead of wearing it as a swimsuit in public - pair it with wide leg pants or shorts.

80s fashion and clothing prominent shoulders

Courtesy of ASOS

Prominent Shoulders

Very 80s fashion aka Dynasty. I don't like shoulder pads because they tend to make my shoulders look big and masculine, however I do like tops with slightly puffed up shoulders.

The difference here is that shoulder pads tend to visually stretch your shoulder caps horizontally making you wider on top and make them look stiffer and masculine. This is a good thing for Pear body shapes but a downer for others, especially those who are bothered by their shoulders. Puffed up shoulder on the other hand draws the eye upwards, making your upper body look longer. Detailed shoulders such as studs and lace are nice too.

80s fashion and clothing Converse sneakers
Courtesy of Zappos

High Top Converse Sneakers

These casual sneakers are awesome with skinny jeans or on bare legs with short denim shorts.

I particularly like the new styles of high top converse shoes where the sole is much thinner, giving a sleeker and feminine look. I have a pair in white, but I'm itching to buy them in tan and black :o) Shop and learn more about Womens Converse Shoes.

80s fashion and clothing oversized sweater
Courtesy of Lulu's

Oversized Tops

The chic and flattering way to wear this is to cinch it in the waist with a skinny belt. If you're tall you don't have to because your body figure will handle the 'swallowing' of the top.

Oversized shirts are comfy and casual and look stylish with denim shirts but can be worn with almost anything such as mini skirts and jeans, and be adjusted to your own personal style.

80s fashion and clothing rolled sleeves
Courtesy of Marie Claire

Rolling Sleeves & Jeans

I like the rolled up effect on sleeves and is a quick and easy way to create a casual look.

The rolled up jeans is a bit tricky especially if your ankles aren't your best features. Rolled up jeans can make the area it sits on wider which can make you look stumpy. However a pair of high heels can fix this.

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