36 Iconic 1980s Fashion Moments We Never Want to Forget

When it comes to '80s fashion, we have a (surprising) amount to be thankful for. While the decade previously hadn't influenced our wardrobes for a long time, in recent years, we've come to the realisation that all the most current trends today are courtesy of the '80s. Now, if you're not too familiar with the nuances of this era, there are a few standout looks we're sure you'll recognise: big shoulders, white jeans, underwear as outerwear and oversized jewellery. It was the decade of the power dresser but also of punks. It gave us Madonna, Sade, Tina Turner and Cher, plus numerous other superstars whose sense of style influences many right now.

Eighties fashion trends: icons including Princess Diana, Sade, SJP and Daryl Hannah

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Don't believe us? From the fact that Princess Diana's archive is inspiring some of the world's most influential designers to the more basic resurgence in women wearing blazers with jeans again, we've found 36 A-list images that prove these '80s fashion looks are as current now as they were then. Keep scrolling to click through our gallery of iconic '80s outfits.

1. Madonna and Her Bodysuits
80s fashion: Madonna in the bodysuit was the pinnacle of eighties fashion

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Julian Wasser/Getty Images

Style Notes: This is classic '80s Madonna, but the underwear/bodysuit look is bang on the money for now. You can forgo the pearls—just wear yours with some high-waisted jeans for a night out.

A shaping bodysuit will smooth and sculpt your figure. 

2. A "Naked" Dress, as Loved by Cher
Eighties fashion: Cher proves she's the queen of eighties fashion in this Bob Mackie creation

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Style Notes: As if we needed any more proof that Cher is the ultimate style queen, here was the star doing the naked dress before everyone was doing it at the Met Gala (and every other awards show going).

The most daring trend has come back for 2022. Ease into it with a midi dress.

3. Roll-Necks for Everyone, Including Brooke Shields
80s fashion: Brooke Shields rocks a classic eighties fashion look with a roll neck

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Style Notes: Brooke Shields was America's number one sweetheart back in the '80s, and here, she proves exactly why.

You'll rely on this when cooler autumn days come around. 

4. See-Through Layers Were Loved by Kim Basinger
80s fashion: Kim Basinger in a sheer dress was classic eighties fashion

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Style Notes: The Jenner/Kardashian clan already has this look down. But the originator of this style? Another Kim—Kim Basinger.

Wear with a bralette and trousers, or wear open over a minidress. 

5. Structured Shoulders, Styled by Courteney Cox
Eighties fashion: Courteney Cox on the red carpet wearing oversized shoulders

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Style Notes: Okay, so the term "structured shoulders" is just another way for us to say "shoulder pads" and attempt to not freak you out, but we've seen a real trend toward this look. Shout-out to Courteney Cox for wearing this on the red carpet pre–Monica Gellar days.

6. Corset Belts Were a Cyndi Lauper Essential
80s fashion: Cyndi Lauper in a classic eighties fashion belt

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Style Notes: While Kim Kardashian West has been a major factor as to why waist belts have gotten popular again, we can't deny that Cyndi Lauper may have started the trend. Also: those zebra shoes.

7. Chunky Jewellery Was Joan Collins's Armour
80s fashion: Joan Collins wears an oversized necklace

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Style Notes: Joan Collins is so incredible in this snap. Is there anything we don't love about it? Answer: No. The jacket, the simple black top, the red lippie… However, it's the gobstopper necklace our magpie eyes focus on. Joan knows the power incredible jewellery has in pulling together an outfit.

8. Checked Outerwear Was Adored by Royalty
80s fashion: Princess Diana in a checked jacket, with Prince Charles

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Style Notes: There were so many incredible outfits from Princess Diana we could have included, but we settled on this "country-casual" one. The heritage check on her jacket and matching skirt are classic attire. Not only has this Harrington-style jacket made a comeback in hipster circles, but we're also seeing plaid coats everywhere. Coincidence? We think not.

9. Showing Off Your Socks Was a Meg Ryan–Approved Move
Eighties fashion: Meg Ryan wearing a leather jacket, slip dress, and big socks

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Style Notes: Want to know the real way to update your outfit for 2022? Just add socks à la Meg Ryan. Yes, really.

10. Tailoring Made Up Grace Jones's Wardrobe
80s fashion: Grace Jones wore masculine tailoring throughout the eighties

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Getty

Style Notes: Grace Jones will never be anything less than fierce, but this incredible look has been seared into our minds. Who wouldn't want to look so focused in a razor-sharp piece of tailoring? (Purple makeup optional, of course.)

11. Miniskirts Were Loved by Kylie Minogue
80s fashion: Kylie Mingoue wearing a sequined eighties minidress

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Style Notes: Kylie Minogue wore a lot of high-shine minidresses like this. Get inspired by investing in 2022's version with a great multicolour style. (They're selling out everywhere right now.)

12. High-Waisted Jeans Were Worn by Models, Singers and Actresses
Eighties fashion: Tina Turner in those ultimate eighties trouser--the high-waisted jeans

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Style Notes: We have some serious love for high-waisted jeans. Tina Turner pulls this look off with aplomb, and we have to agree: Bauble earrings and a white vest are great accessories.

13. Baggy Cropped Trousers Were a Part of the Off-Duty Celeb Uniform
80s fashion: Demi Moore wearing a pair of cropped baggy trousers in the eighties

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Style Notes: Well, how else do you expect to show off your socks? Thanks to Demi Moore for inspiring us all those years ago. 

With an oversized shirt and trainers, this relaxed silhouette will feel just as modern today. 

14. Tights—Especially Sheer Ones—Were Loved by Sassy Ladies Like Debbie Harry
Eighties fashion: Debbie Harry wearing tights and a LBD in the eighties

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Rex

Style Notes: Debbie Harry has brought us many a trend. But during the '80s, we got to see her in chic little black dresses, which she accessorised with a flash of low denier at most times. And in case you didn't know, that kind of hosiery is news again.

15. Bold Buttons Adorned Every Blazer
80s fashion: Jerry Hall in Cannes in the 1980s wearing a nautical blazer

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Rex

Style Notes: We've seen this trend start to appear on trousers, from old-school joggers to jeans with shiny gold buttons, as well as on the classic Balmain blazers that remain forever popular. Jerry Hall's gold buttons down her nautical blazer and gold bracelets made for the ultimate '80s power look. 

Few do classic style as well as Ralph Lauren. 

16. Off-the-Shoulder Silhouettes Really Picked Up Steam
80s fashion: Goldie Hawn in a purple off-the-shoulder eighties dress

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Rex

Style Notes: True, Goldie Hawn didn't invent the off-the-shoulder style, but she knew how to do it right

This lilac tone is perfect for summer styling. 

17. Leggings Were Worn by Rockers and Fitness Fanatics Alike
80s fashion: Joan Jett in leggings and a biker jacket

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Rex

Style Notes: Joan Jett will never be anything less than cool. Her punk-inspired ensembles often involved oversized jackets and skintight trousers. While leggings have definitely come on a bit since then, take inspo from this look and pair your leggings (or black skinny jeans) with a leather jacket this weekend.

Those leggings you lived in during lockdown just need a tee and leather jacket. 

18. No Outfit Was Complete Without Shoulder Pads Like SJP's
80s fashion: Sarah Jessica Parker in a jacket with big shoulderpads

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Style Notes: Things tended to be pretty oversized during the '80s, and no other item was as exaggerated as the blazer.

Structured blazers are a wardrobe staple that will look just as good over a dress as paired with jeans and basic white vest. 

19. Every Major Celeb Had a Sequin Moment
80s fashion: Diana ross wearing a full pink sequin dress

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Style Notes: When aren't sequins a great idea? As seen on Diana Ross, this look is making us wish the festive season were already here. 

We're finding any excuse to wear this sequin dream. With trainers and a white tee underneath? Why not. 

20. And a Tassel Moment, Too
80s fashion: pink tasselled jumpsuit from the eighties

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Style Notes: Yes, the '70s might have been the era for bodysuits, but with the '80s came extra bits like tassels. 

Fringe is a big trend for S/S 22, and we're taking it one step further with this sparkling iteration. 

21. Vinyl Jackets Were Introduced to Replace Standard Leathers
Eighties fashion: Cindy Crawford in a vinyl jacket and mini skirt

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Style Notes: The vinyl-coat trend has been everywhere for the past few years, and we see it sticking around for many more. But it was in the '80s when one of the original supermodels, Cindy Crawford, made it look iconic. 

It may still be summer, but there's no time like the present to invest in your next autumn coat.  

22. No Casual Outfit Was Complete With a Graphic Tee
80s fashion: Pat Cleveland in a graphic tee during the eighties

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Style Notes: Model Pat Cleveland knew how to make a graphic tee look chic. It's still one of our favourite outfits for the weekend.

Add a blazer, jeans and mules, and you're ready to go. 

23. Sunglasses Were the Biggest They've Probably Ever Been
80s fashion: Susan Sarandon in oversized sunglasses

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Style Notes: Susan Sarandon is just one of the reasons we love Alessandro Michele's oversized Gucci sunglasses.

24. Even Denim Jackets Were Supersized
80s fashion: Sarah Jessica Parker in an oversized denim jacket

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Style Notes: Before Sex and the City, SJP was already pushing the fashion boundaries. 

Go up a few sizes for an oversized fit. 

25. Geek-Chic Glasses Ruled the Celebrity Roost
80s fashion: Jane Fonda in geek chic glasses

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Getty

Style Notes: Geek-chic glasses might be commonplace now, but it was during the '80s that they really took off. Acetate frames, as seen here on Jane Fonda, have definitely made a comeback. 

Make the most of your specs with an oversized, statement-making style. 

26. It Was a Time of Over-Accessorising, so Gloves Were Key
Eighties fashion: Daryl Hannah wearing a satin dress and long white gloves

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Style Notes: Daryl Hannah's got all the accessories a decent '80s look should have, but you'll notice time and again that gloves (especially with layered jewellery) are key for this decade.

Stylish people everywhere are getting back into gloves for dressy occasions, and we plan to go all-out with this feather pair. 

27. Skirt Suits Were a Favourite for Society Girls
80s fashion: Sarah Ferguson and Princess Diana wearing skirt suits

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Style Notes: Sarah Ferguson and Diana, Princess of Wales, were both particularly keen on skirt suits for their more formal events in the '80s. The look translated quickly into offices and parties, especially in this ultra-matchy form. 

28. Aerobic Gear Wasn't a Street Trend, But It Was Essential
Eighties fashion: Jane Fonda in aerobic clothes

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Shutterstock

Style Notes: Jane Fonda started it in the 1970s, but by the time the 1980s arrived, spandex leggings, leotards and legwarmers were commonplace, and everyone was a fitness fanatic (for a time, at least).

For a more 2022 feel, style with jeans. 

29. Harem Pants Were Given the Green Light
80s fashion: Donna Summer in blue harem pants and a matching top

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Style Notes: Call them MC Hammer pants or harem pants, but never forget that drop-crotch trousers (the more draped, the better) were a key look in the '80s. Here's Donna Summer doing them justice.

We're living in these relaxed, sloughy trousers this summer. 

30. Polka Dots Kept Coming Back Through the '80s
80s fashion: Sade wearing a polka dot shirt

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Style Notes: Polka dots are back again, but one of the most current-looking ways they were worn in the '80s was thanks to singer Sade and this cool shirt.

This dress can be dressed up or down with summer sandals or heels for evening. 

31. Flouncy Sleeves Were a Princess Diana Go-To
Eighties fashion: Princess Diana in a blouson monochrome blouse

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Style Notes: Princess Diana's balloon-sleeved monochromatic blouse is too good to leave out and feels so current.

32. Beige Continued on From the '70s Well Into the '80s
80s fashion: Debbie Harry in beige

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Getty 

Style Notes: Beige really took off in the summer of 2018 (and continues still), but you need only look to Debbie Harry, who wore the trend three decades ago. 

Minimalists everywhere know how impactful beige can be. 

33. Oversize Blazers Were Best Worn With Trousers and Plenty of Jewellery
80s fashion: Cindy Lauper in an oversized blazer

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Getty

Style Notes: The oversized look was everywhere in the '80s and wasn't just limited to jackets—jewellery, too, was statement. In 2022, this is a trend that is going strong. 

34. Laura Ashley–Style Prints Looked Just as Cute Then
80s fashion: Gwyneth Paltrow in a Laura Ashley-style dress

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Getty

Style Notes: A trend that has made a surprising comeback, Laura Ashley–inspired dresses are everywhere right now. Yes, that's Gwyneth Paltrow!

The perfect throw-on dress. 

35. No Classic Wardrobe Is Ever Complete Without a Safari Jacket
Eighties fashion: Debbie Harry in a safari jacket

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Getty

Style Notes: The most timeless of jackets. Even in the '80s, it looked incredible. 

a utility-style jacket looks so good in this olive green. 

36. Green Was Often the Colour du Jour
80s fashion:  the Queen wearing green

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Getty

Style Notes: Green was very popular during the '80s, but no one wore it better than HRH.

There are lots of ways to tie the halter straps, so personalise this as you will. 

This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated. 

Next up, the biggest spring/summer 2022 fashion trends to know. 

Opening Image: Getty

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