How to Do the 1980s Trend: From Shoulder Pads to Clip-On Earrings

Let's not beat around the bush: 1980s fashion trends, in general, have a pretty bad rep. But after more than three decades in style Siberia, all signs now point towards the decade that time forgot making a genuine comeback—one that you can actually introduce into your wardrobe without the fear of looking fancy-dress or pastiche. 

The '80s were about excess and so are the A/W 16 runways. The new season is all about getting dressed up and indulging in every kind of sartorial razzmatazz—a concept that's been given the double thumbs-up by the likes of Saint Laurent, Balmain and Moschino. More casual takes on the '80s have also been reinterpreted by other commercially influential brands such as Isabel Marant and Topshop Unique.

So could you be persuaded? We think when you look at how the trends are being adopted by the coolest street stylers already, it's surprisingly easy to see that key fashion moments from the '80s can be taken apart and used to powerful effect.

Go through the gallery to see the 10 revamped '80s fashion trends we believe in, plus tips on how to wear them now, with the addition of where to buy these key pieces today…

#1: The Shoulder-Pad Jacket

Photo:

Sandra Semburg

Where 1980s styles would've poked your eyes out, the 2016 update can be found in a more deconstructed, far softer cut—imagine you're wearing a loose-fitting men's blazer and simply throwing it on over something feminine.

Double breasted? Consider the two main jacket trends ticked.

#2: Clip-On Earrings

Photo:

Sandra Semburg

Earrings were the jewellery choice of any self-aware fashionista in the 1980s—the main difference in how you'll wear your jumbo clip-ons lies in hair and makeup choices. Ditch the hairspray and don't go anywhere near blue eye shadow.

H&M have become a secret earrings stash for us.

#3: Big Boilersuits

Photo:

Sandra Semburg

You're perhaps no stranger to the boilersuit, but one this baggy and belted with a thick waist-cincher? Well now, it could take a little time to transition. With a heel (any height will do), however, this can actually be one of the most flattering and comfortable ensembles we know of.

From sofa to slinky night out.

#4: Stirrup Leggings

Photo:

@pernilleteisbaek

No only are leggings back as a category across the fashion landscape, it's the '80s-infused stirrup versions that will really bring your style kudos. Make like a dedicated decade-dipper and wear with heels that are authentically glitzy—this is not a casual option.

Yes, your mum probably has a pair of these at the back of her closet.

#5: Low-Denier Tights

Photo:

@thestyleograph

Whether fishnet, polka-dotted or simply plain, you're going to need to stock up on low-denier tights soon enough. The sweet-spot is 10 denier—if you can brave it. But if the trend feels too sassy for day, save these for nights out.

You know you can rely on Wolford for flattering low-denier hosiery that lasts.

#6: Giant Denim Jackets

Photo:

@thestyleograph

Kendall and Gigi have already been backing this jean-jacket trend and why not? A supersize denim cover-up is a fast-track way to looking laid-back, like an off-duty-model.

Don't be afraid to do double denim with this and some skinnies in a clashing wash.

#7: Puffball Skirts

Photo:

@thestyleograph

Thought Madonna was the last person to be seen in one of these in public? Think again. If Christine Centenera—aka Kim and Kanye's creative source—is wearing them, they are back on the menu. Go the distance and team with a blouson top, keeping the accessorising to a minimum.

Surely puffball skirts provide a trick of the eye to make your legs look slimmer?

#8: Concert Tees

Photo:

@theurbanspotter

Tour merchandise has been finding a new footing among girls like Selena Gomez, but it's also the quickest and easiest way to tap into the 1980s trend in real life. Please choose something really niche—like Bruce Springsteen.

#9: Spiky Stilettos

Photo:

Christian Vierig/Getty Images

The kind of heels that could smash through glass ceilings and be considered dangerous on planes, these stilettos should come with a warning. Buyers have reportedly been upping their requests for very high, spiked heels, so better refresh your memory on how to walk gracefully in them.

Now all you need is a lipstick to match…

#10: One-Shoulder Dresses

Photo:

Sandra Semburg

This frock will no doubt be your party go-to come Christmas, but months before that (exciting) stage, you can get plenty of use from a cocktail number such as this. Layer over a tee and wear with flats, à la Patricia Manfield.

Whip off that T-shirt and you've got an instant after-dark look.

Will you give the '80s a try? Check out the other key trends for autumn/winter if you're game for more.