Fashion In The 1980S: What Women Wore In The 80S

Music in the 80s ran the gamut from pop to new wave and everything in between. With that came an evolution in women's clothing. What did women wear in the 80s?

Oh, what a time the 80s were for women's fashion! Madonna and Cyndi Lauper were coming onto the scene with their out-there fashions at a time when bell bottoms, corduroy pants and Farrah Fawcett hair were beginning to fade. It was a new era of rebellion and independence, reminiscent of the strong feminine movement of the 60s but with a more glamorous flair. Women holed up in their bathrooms crimping their hair to Madonna's "Lucky Star" or feathering their bangs to Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer." The style of clothes women wore in the 80s depended largely on the type of music they listened to, whether it was glam rock, pop, or new wave.

Glam Rock

Glam Rock or "Hair" bands like Bon Jovi and Poison with their big hair and overdone makeup inspired women across the nation. Jeans were not merely fitting, they were tight with a capital "T." If they were not strangling your waistline, these jeans were ripped along the leg seams and pinned back together with safety pins or had a large ripped hole in the knee. Of course, these jeans were not the flared or boot-cut dark jeans of today. They were acid-washed (read: bleached) and were almost always accompanied with a matching jean jacket. Leather sleeves or vest were optional. As if the jeans were not form-fitting enough, a silver studded belt was a must-have accessory. Stiletto boots and a tight halter top or t-shirt completed the look. As for hair, the rule of thumb was the higher it went the better. You were guaranteed to be the most popular girl in school if you managed to use enough hair products to get your bangs to stick straight up. The hair MUST be massive to go with the attire.



Pop Rock

If Madonna was more your cup of tea then sleazy your clothes must be. Lace was THE fabric of choice. In one fell swoop, Madonna made it fashionable to turn lingerie into outerwear. People during this time would hardly give a second glance to a girl wearing a lace corset as a top. Mini-skirts were the definite bottoms of choice. They looked even better when paired with colorful spandex leggings and frilly socks or two pairs of different colored socks layered one on top of the other. Adding to the look were lace gloves and black rubber or silver bracelets galore. The more bracelets you had on and the more noise you made as they jangled against each other was directly related to how cool you would be considered. Necklaces and earrings displaying crosses were no longer limited for demonstrations of religious belief...they were the style of the time. As for hair, if your dark roots showed, you were that much cooler.

New Wave

The 80s version of teenage angst was epitomized in the music of The Cure and Depeche Mode. Similar to the styles of glam rock, the hair may be large; however, there was no rhyme or reason to its volume and overall styling. Just pour some gel or mousse into your hand, rub it into the hair and go to town. Shaving half the head or coloring the hair outrageous colors was not considered unusual. For a visual representation of this, just take a look at pictures of Cure's lead singer, Robert Smith or any member of A Flock Of Seagulls. Perhaps a predecessor to today's Goth style, black was the color of choice. Jeans, concert shirts and converse may be appropriate attire for an 80s new waver, but the attitude was "anything goes." From mesh shirts worn over tank tops to vests and multiple layers of clothing, new wave was merely up to an individual's interpretation.

© High Speed Ventures 2011