The 1980s was a decade of bold and flamboyant fashion trends characterized by an over-the-top aesthetic that permeated everything from music to movies to fashion. The era gave us many iconic styles, including big hair, neon colors, and leg warmers. However, not all of the fashion trends from the ’80s were created equal, with some trends being particularly unappealing and unsightly. In this article, we will explore the top ten fashion trends from the ’80s that should remain consigned to the past.
From clothing to hairstyles, the ’80s was a decade that genuinely embraced individuality, often at the expense of subtlety and elegance. Many of the trends from this era have come back into style in recent years, but there are still plenty of looks that we hope will never make a comeback.
By examining the most cringe-worthy trends from the 1980s, we can better understand how fashion has evolved and appreciate the timeless styles that have stood the test of time.
1. Shoulder Pads
One of the most prominent fashion trends of the 1980s, shoulder pads were designed to give the illusion of broader shoulders and a more powerful silhouette. They were a popular feature in blazers, jackets, and dresses but often resulted in an overly exaggerated, boxy shape that was unflattering to most people. Shoulder pads symbolized power dressing in the 80s, but they quickly fell out of favor as the decade ended. Today, they are seen as a dated trend that is best left in the past.
2. Acid Wash Jeans
Acid wash jeans were a popular denim trend in the 1980s, characterized by their bleached, mottled appearance. The jeans were typically made by soaking them in chlorine or other chemicals, resulting in a distressed and faded look. While acid-wash jeans were popular among rock stars and celebrities in the 80s, they quickly became associated with a dated, tacky look that has not aged well. Today, acid-wash jeans are rarely seen in fashion and are considered an eyesore.
3. Big Hair – 10 Trends from the ’80s That Should Never Come Back
The 1980s was the era of big hair, with both men and women sporting voluminous hairstyles that were often teased and styled with excessive hairspray. Pop icons like Madonna and Michael Jackson popularized this trend and symbolized the decade’s excess and extravagance. While big hair may have been fashionable in the 80s, it is widely regarded as outdated and unappealing in modern times. Today, most people prefer more natural and understated hairstyles that are less time-consuming and damaging to maintain.
4. Leg Warmers
Leg warmers were a popular fashion accessory in the 1980s, worn by both men and women to keep warm during the colder months. They were typically made of wool or acrylic yarn and worn over leggings or tights. While leg warmers were a practical choice for dancers and athletes, they quickly became a fashion trend associated with the 80s. Today, leg warmers are rarely seen in fashion and are generally regarded as a dated trend that should be left in the past.
5. Fanny Packs
Fanny packs were a popular accessory in the 1980s, worn around the waist as a convenient way to carry small items like money, keys, and a phone. While they were practical, they were often made of bright colors or tacky patterns and quickly became associated with a dated, uncool look. Today, fanny packs have made a bit of a comeback in the fashion world, but many people still associate them with the 80s and view them as fashion faux pas.
6. Hammer Pants – 10 Trends from the ’80s That Should Never Come Back
Hammer pants, also known as harem pants, were a favorite fashion trend in the late 1980s and early 1990s. They were characterized by their baggy, low-crotch design and were typically made of lightweight fabric like silk or rayon. While musicians like MC Hammer popularized them, they quickly became associated with a tacky, unflattering look that has not aged well. Today, hammer pants are rarely seen in fashion and are generally regarded as a trend that should stay in the past.
7. Oversized Earrings
Oversized earrings were a popular accessory in the 1980s, worn by both men and women as a way to make a statement. They were often made of plastic or metal and came in various shapes and colors. While oversized earrings were a bold fashion statement in the 80s, they often looked gaudy and unappealing. Today, many prefer more understated and elegant jewelry, and oversized earrings are rarely seen in fashion outside themed parties or retro events.
8. Permed Hair
Permed hair was a popular hairstyle trend in the 1980s, especially for women. It involved chemically treating the hair to create tight curls or waves lasting for weeks or months. While the movement was widespread, many people now view it as a regrettable fashion choice. Perms can damage the hair, and the tightly coiled curls often look outdated and unappealing. Many prefer more natural hairstyles or looser waves created with modern styling tools.
9. Neon Colors – 10 Trends from the ’80s That Should Never Come Back
Neon colors were a popular fashion trend in the 1980s, with bright shades of pink, green, yellow, and orange appearing in everything from clothing to accessories. While neon colors were eye-catching and fun, they quickly became associated with a dated, tacky look. Today, neon colors are still used in some fashion trends but are typically used sparingly and subtly. Most people prefer more classic and timeless colors for their clothing and accessories.
10. Parachute Pants
Parachute pants were a popular fashion trend in the 1980s, especially among men. These pants were made from a lightweight, synthetic fabric resembling the material used in parachute gear. They were characterized by their baggy, loose-fitting design, elastic ankle cuffs, and often had zippers or pockets on the sides. While parachute pants were popular then, they quickly became associated with a tacky, unflattering look. Today, pants are rarely seen in fashion and tend to be worn as part of a retro or vintage-inspired outfit. Most people prefer more tailored and fitted pants for their everyday wear.
The 1980s was a decade of innovation, creativity, self-expression, and fashion missteps. Although many trends from this decade have come back recently, specific trends should stay firmly in the past. From shoulder pads to Members Only jackets, there are some fashion trends we hope never come back. While it’s fun to look back on the bold and colorful styles of the 80s, it’s important to remember that not all trends are worth revisiting. Let’s leave these ten trends in the past where they belong and continue to innovate and create new trends for the future.