Like, ohmyGod, it’s totally 80s over here! Do you still own Hammer pants? Well, that’s too bad–they’re not back in. Carolina Herrera does not go near that shit, people. But you can wear the 80s today if you dare, radical ladies. So put on your Madonna and let’s talk about the 1980s!
If you’ve missed my previous posts, you can check them out here with the general how-to of buying vintage, the 1950s, the 1960s, and the 1970s. I love all the vintage decades, but none are as close to my heart as the eighties, for I lived through them and they shaped me into the unicorn-loving, Smurf snuggling, arrested-development dork I am today.
Yes, I own this. Yes, I wear the pieces, but not together. I have some personal pride.
Let’s get something out of the way: I am going to go ahead and give you a list of things from the 1980s that you are not allowed to wear unless you’re going to a costume party. I’m doing this for your own good.
- Hammer Pants
- Parachute Pants
- Stirrup Pants (I DON’T CARE WHAT URBAN OUTFITTERS SAYS. DO NOT WEAR THESE!)
- Cosby Sweaters
- Acid-Wash Jeans
- Anything that makes you think “This outfit was made for Dorothy Zbornak!”
We all know what the 80s looked like–turn on The Cosby Show if you’re confused. Everything was bigger in the 80s–earrings, shoulder pads, sweaters. It’s like we all communally lost the ability to understand good proportions. But hark! You don’t have to look like a refugee from Punky Brewster. Mix and match your 80s pieces with something a bit more toned-down for a cute-as-hell outfit. That’s what I’m going to concentrate on in this blog–wearable 80s.
A Members Only jacket is still relevant today. I really need a lavender one to replace the one of mine that got stolen off the playground. Sniff. Yes, I’m still mad!
You should check out 80s leather as well. It’s got a double whammy of awesomeness in that it’s 80s and it’s biker-chick all in one.
You can hardly talk about the 80s without mentioning the fashion juggernaut of Gunne Sax. A 1980s Gunne Sax will sometimes be a bit over-the-top, like this one, a prairie-style:
But sometimes Gunnes can be amazingly cute. I own a gorgeous blue Gunne sundress which is, sadly, put away for the winter. Here’s a similar one that you’d get tons of compliments on.
Be careful–many times an online seller will claim something is a real Gunne and charge you big bucks for it, as there are many Gunne collectors. Without the Gunne Sax label, however, do not pay through the nose. Here’s a link to a guide of genuine Gunne labels. What’s my mantra? Always ask to see the label! You can get Gunne knockoffs for a fraction of the price of the real thing, and still be adorbs.
Speaking of sundresses, I think that outfits like this are among the most wearable 80s clothes.
I’ve seen quite a few giant shoulder pads on the runways as of late, but be very careful with proportions. Pair an 80s shoulder pad with a modern pant. Something like this adorable Leslie Faye bolero is not too over-the-top, but stands out in the Forever 21 crowd. It features another lovely 80s giveaway–the puff sleeve.
Here’s another Leslie Faye–an 80s-does-50s number. The 50s made a huge comeback in the 1980s, my guess is because of the Back to the Future movies. Remember from my 50s blog that if the zipper is nylon, it’s probably from the 80s.
80s evening wear trends toward the over-the-top, rife with shiny bows and giant skirts, but numbers like this one are infinitely wearable, even today.
One the coolest things you can sport from the 80s is anything pop culture related. Hell, most modern tees are made to look as if they came from the 70s and 80s–wear the real thing!
80s sweaters can sometimes be gross and replete with pastel fuckery, but if you love angora, then this is the decade for you. I adore my 80s sweaters.
Blouses are a marvelous way to wear the 80s every day. Gathered sleeves? Yes, please! When searching for this look, type in “secretary blouse/dress” and you’ll find tons of cute stuff. And these items are so new and easy to care for, you’ll have the chic of vintage with barely any fuss.
Maybe your fashion icon is Rachel Berry from Glee? The 80s has you covered with adorable, girly looks in bold colors.
Preppy was invented in the 80s. Get your Heathers on in this adorable jacket.
Finally, if you are the sort of bold woman who says, “Fuck it! I wanna sparkle so much you can see me from space! How else do you pick up a hot astronaut?” then look no further.
In terms of awesome 80s inspiration, I don’t think we can possibly go forward without acknowledging Madonna, probably the number one arbiter of fashion in the decade, aside from Michael Jackson.
And how frakking fierce are Salt-N-Pepa? We all bow to Cheryl James “Salt,” Sandra Denton “Pepa,” and Dee Dee Roper “Spinderella.”
Molly Ringwald movies are marvelous for 80s fashion, as long as you never, ever, ever replicate that horrid monstrosity in Pretty in Pink. You know the one I mean. No, I’m not posting a picture of that thing.
Are you now inspired to try your hand at the 80s? Tell me in the comments!