Do You Remember These 10 1980s Fashion Disasters?

Top Ten Fashion Disasters Of The 1980s

Some fashion trends have come around again as the years have worn on, while others still have retro appeal. Many more have been given modern twists by contemporary designers. Yet there are some fads which definitely need to stay back where they belong. Many of those unappealing looks date back to the 1980s – the decade that fashion forgot! Whether you remember the fashion fails of the 80s or whether you’ve only laughed at photos from back in the day, here are ten of the worst fashion faux pas of the 1980s that should never be repeated.

1. A Fixation With Lycra

Perhaps the biggest fashion faux pas of the 1980s was the fixation with workout gear. Lycra leggings and leotards were all the rage thanks to video fitness icons like Jane Fonda, and leg warmers went mainstream when The Kids From Fame hit TV screens. Sweatbands worn around the head and wrists were an absolute must in the style of Flashdance, and they weren’t only worn in the gym. Oh no! People were seen sporting the look everywhere, even in the supermarket!

2. Rocking Neon

One of the hottest looks during the 1980s was neon – the brighter the better. From luminous greens and yellows to bright blues and oranges, the neon trend was everywhere. T-shirts, sunglasses, leggings and hair accessories were just some of the articles which were given an 80s neon overhaul. There’s one thing for sure – it may not have been tasteful but it was certainly eye-catching!

3. Enormous Hair

One of the most iconic sights in the 1980s was enormous hair, sported by men and women alike. Perms were a la mode, and crimping and backcombing were commonplace. Everyone would go to enormous lengths to achieve the biggest possible bouffant hairdo, using gels, mousses and hairsprays to get the volume that was so in vogue. For men, there was no look quite so fashionable as the mullet, although even some women went for this look. Probably all part of the power dressing trend inspired by American soaps like Dynasty and Dallas.

4. Power Dressing

While we’re talking about power dressing, it would be impossible to remember the 80s without looking back fondly on the shoulder pad trend. Again, this was popular with men and women alike, but it was women in business who really took the power suit to an extreme degree. The bigger the shoulders the better, helping to achieve the ideal silhouette of a triangle from shoulder to waist!

5. Double Denim

Some of the hottest denim looks of the 1980s have come back around again, however the double denim trend still hasn’t found its way back onto the catwalk and it’s not hard to see why. Denim from head to toe may not be a desirable look right now, but just a few decades ago it was the ultimate in high fashion, with high waist stonewashed denim jeans being paired with matching shirts and jackets on both men and women alike.

6. Crazy Makeup

The 80s was an era of extreme makeup. Not just for women, but for men too. Who could forget Adam Ant and David Bowie rocking bizarre eye makeup? However, women seemed to spend an indecent amount of money on painting their faces an array of unusual colours. Pink, blue and green eye shadows were fashion itself – preferably painted out towards the hairline in a cats-eye shape. Hot pink lipstick would be paired with streaks of unblended rouge over the cheekbones. And that would be just to go to work! Imagine the effort that went into preparing for a big night out!

7. The Everyday Ski Jacket

These days, ski jackets stay where they belong – on the piste. However, in the 1980s they found their way into everyday city wear. Women and men alike would wear them regardless of the activity they were enjoying. Whether they were rollerskating, shopping or doing aerobics, a ski jacket was the ultimate accessory – preferably a neon one!

8. Mesh Shirts

If you weren’t wearing a mesh shirt during the 1980s, you just weren’t cool! They may look vulgar and unattractive now, but back in the day, they were a huge style trend. Men wearing mesh shirts were drooled over by ladies everywhere, especially when they had tattoos sneakily peeping out from beneath! Women too were rocking the mesh trend thanks to Madonna and other icons of the era. The more flesh showing, the better!

9. Hot Pants On Men

Hot pants are still big news today, but among teenage girls and beautiful young women. In the 1980s, it was men who were rocking this hot trend. The shorter the shorts, the better. Men everywhere were sporting tiny shorts no matter what activity they were doing. Riding a bike? Rollerskating? Shopping? Going to a disco? All of the above were perfectly acceptable activities to do wearing the smallest pair of shorts imaginable.

10. Fingerless Gloves

The whole point of wearing gloves is to keep your hands warm, yet in the 1980s, gloves were purely a fashion accessory – staying warm had nothing to do with it! Fingerless gloves, preferably made from lace, were seen everywhere thanks to Madonna, and while they may have been totally pointless it was just as well that they didn’t hold in too much warmth since they were worn indoors just as often as outdoors!

Forget The Throwback!

As you can see, the 1980s was a time when fashion was in the doldrums! Perhaps you remember wearing some of these yourself, or perhaps you just like to laugh at photos of your family from back in the day. 

However,  from double denim and humongous hair to mesh shorts and hot pants that showed off way too much flesh to be decent, it was an era forgotten by taste and style. 

While some eras have seen their clothing styles return time and again in an attempt to recreate retro and vintage chic, the chances of these ten hideous looks ever coming back around again are pretty low! And we can all say thank goodness for that!

Flush the Fashion

Editor of Flush the Fashion and Flush Magazine. I love music, art, film, travel, food, tech and cars. Basically, everything this site is about.