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 oversize 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.
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
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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.
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 award show going).
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.
Style Notes: Avid readers of this site will know that we've already tried out this corset-type look. And while Kim Kardashian West has been a major factor as to why it's gotten popular again, we can't deny that Cyndi Lauper may have started the trend. Also: those zebra shoes.
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.
Style Notes: There were so many incredible outfits we could have included from Princess Diana, 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.
Style Notes: Grace Jones will never be anything less than fierce, but this incredible look has been seared onto our minds. Who wouldn't want to look so focused in a razor-sharp piece of tailoring? (Purple makeup optional, of course.)
14. Tights—Especially Sheer Ones—Were Loved by Sassy Ladies Like Debbie Harry
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 a flash of low denier at most times. And in case you didn't know, that kind of hosiery is news again.
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 accessorised with gold bracelets made for the ultimate '80s power look.
17. Leggings Were Worn by Rockers and Fitness Fanatics Alike
Style Notes: Joan Jett will never be anything less than cool. Her punk-inspired ensembles often involved oversize 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.
21. Vinyl Jackets Were Introduced to Replace Standard Leathers
Style Notes: The vinyl coat trend has been everywhere in 2020 (and will continue the rest of the year). But it was in the '80s when one of the original supermodels, Cindy Crawford, made it look iconic.
Style Notes: Geek-chic glasses might be commonplace now, but it was during the '80s that they really took off. While we might all be into metal frames right now, we predict that coloured frames, as seen here on Jane Fonda, will be making a comeback.
27. Skirt Suits Were a Favourite for Society Girls
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. One of the biggest trends for autumn/winter 2020.
28. Aerobic Gear Wasn't a Street Trend, But It Was Essential
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).