From SJP's to Diana's, These Are the 1980s Outfits Worth Copying

Ah, the 1980s. The decade of shoulder pads wider than doorways and hairstyles dependent on whole cans of hair spray was not an easy time for minimalists or shy and retiring types. Many people who lived through the extreme fashions of the day recoil in horror now at the thought of them returning. Eighties outfits were all about ultra-conspicuousness and being noticed. From meringue dresses and rah-rah skirts to leg warmers and stilettos, Spandex and lamé to door-knocker earrings and giant sunglasses, this was the era of OTT style, and the '90s took a sharp about-turn following the visual overload.

Now, with time and distance from this wild fashion period, not all 1980s ensembles seem quite as hideous as they once did. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that if you look closely, you'll find many key looks from the ostentatious epoch cropping up in today's coolest trends. Puffball dresses and puff sleeves are certainly back. Just think of the cloud-like frocks bouncing all over IG. Cut-outs and tight LBDs are popular once more—the S/S 21 runways say so. Oversize suiting is in, as are "mom" jeans, loafers and baseball caps. Together, they were the power combo of the 1980s, and today they're looking just as great in influencer circles.

80s outfits

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Where does one find authentic inspiration for vintage fashion trends all these years later? Well, you're still best off digging into the archives, but rather than focusing on the more attention-grabbing looks from the period, it's worth cherry-picking some more wearable outfits from the biggest celebrities of the time. For all of Princess Diana's fancy gowns and prim skirt suits, there were some cool, casual moments too. Every barely there outfit Cher wore was counterbalanced with something more approachable for an average human without a stadium audience to entertain. So from Iman's slick, white trouser suit to Sarah Jessica Parker's perfect blazer-and-scrunchie pairing, keep scrolling for the '80s outfits that made the decade look cool and are worth copying in 2021.

80s outfits: Sarah Jessica Parker in a blazer, scrunchie, jeans and clutch bag

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Style Notes: From the diamanté sunnies to the pink clutch bag, I adore everything about this smart-casual vibe from SJP. 

80s outfits: Iman in a white suit

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Style Notes: We've noticed girls all over Instagram wearing bra tops with blazers, but Iman was doing it before all of us in this cool white ensemble. The oversize cut, flat pumps and long necklace are so sophisticated that it just works.

80s outfits: Kim Basinger in a black sheer dress

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Style Notes: There were plenty of daring looks coming from celebrities back in the '80s, but this sassy lingerie-under-chiffon number from Kim Basinger was the most elegant. 

80s outfits: Anna Wintour in a skirt suit

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Style Notes: She loved skirt suits then, and she still loves them now. Anna Wintour has been wearing these neat little numbers for many decades now. They're back on the trend map for spring 2021, so who better to look to?

80s outfits: Grace Jones in a leopard dress and matching shoes

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Style Notes: Sure, Grace Jones's outfits will always veer into costume territory, but this leopard-on-leopard-on-leopard look she wore for a Dior show is inspired and well worth bookmarking for a milestone birthday party.

80s outfits: Princess Diana in a baseball cap, blazer, sweatshirt and jeans

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Style Notes: The iconic sweatshirt/blazer/jeans/boots/cap look from Princess Diana has been emulated by many and remains one of her coolest get-ups of all time.

80s outfits: Brooke Shields in a green dress

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Style Notes: Brooke Shields celebrated her 21st birthday party in this Kermit-green puffball dress. We're seeing this colour filter into stores right now, and this kind of voluminous silhouette is also trending again.

80s outfits: Cher in a cut-out skirt and white T-shirt

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Style Notes: Is this Cher in the '80s or a cool influencer in 2021? From the shag 'do to the cut-out leather skirt paired with a plain white tee, this has all the hallmarks of a great look we'd save on IG right now.

80s outfits: Bianca Jagger wearing a white blazer and slip skirt

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Style Notes: Bianca Jagger's love of tailoring is well documented, but have you ever seen this pic of her before? I love the linen jacket with a satin slip skirt and the kooky accessories.

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