What are some notable fashions of the 1980s?


Quick Answer

Distinctive 1980s fashion trends included neon colors, athletic wear, shoulder pads and stirrup pants. Many women looked to the music scene for inspiration, while men's fashion often found inspiration in popular television shows.

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Full Answer

Fashion in the early 1980s more closely resembled the 1970s, but the mid-80s brought the trends many associate with the decade: bright colors, aerobic gear and plenty of spandex. By the end of the 1980s, baggier clothes became in-style, including "Cosby sweaters," although women still paired these tops with short skirts and tight stirrup pants.

Aerobic gear became streetwear in the 1980s, with fashionistas taking their cue from fitness videos and movies such as "Flashdance." Legwarmers, often worn over spandex leggings, exploded in popularity, while Nike and Reebok high-tops were the most favored footwear brands.

Popular artists, such as Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Debbie Gibson, inspired women's fashion. Fingerless gloves, giant earrings and mini skirts all became popular. More professional looks were often popularized by television shows, such as the shoulder pads and oversized jackets featured on "Designing Women."

Men, too, took cues from television, wearing pastel t-shirts and pushing up their jacket sleeves like the actors on "Miami Vice." Both men and women wore baggy tops resembling those seen on "The Cosby Show," leading them to be called "Cosby sweaters."

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