What Did Men Wear in the 1980s?

Men's fashion in the 1980s was a reflection of the culture during the decade, and varied widely according to individual style. Pop culture and brand names became central in fashion during this time.

The 1980s saw a rise in brand consciousness. Young, affluent people, nicknamed "yuppies," sought out clothes from designer labels such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and Lacoste. Popular clothing choices for men of this generation included khakis, argyle prints, polo shirts, oxford shirts, loafers and white sneakers. Additionally, sportswear became extremely popular. Nike and Reebok dominated the market, and Air Jordan shoes were a staple among young men and boys.

Mainstream men's fashion generally included high-waisted pants and colorful "Cosby sweaters," popularized by Bill Cosby. Dress codes also became somewhat more relaxed during this decade, allowing men to wear sports coats where more formal attire would have previously been required.

Pop culture was a huge driving force for fashion in the 1980s. The TV show "Miami Vice" popularized pastel-colored suits worn with simple t-shirts, along with loafers or boat shoes without socks. MTV also had a huge influence on fashion, as young men sought to mimic the looks of their favorite music stars. Hip-Hop fans wore track suits with gold jewelry. Heavy metal, or "hair metal," brought acid-washed jeans, leather pants, mullet hairstyles and bandannas to the fashion scene. Meanwhile, New Wave's influence was seen in androgynous styles, asymmetric haircuts, blocky cuts, layers and bold fabric patterns.