Bring back some good or bad memories


April 10, 2017

27 Worst ’80s Fashion Trends

The ’80s were all about pushing the limits in terms of colors, prints, and geometric shapes. People weren’t afraid to mix materials, patterns, stripes, polka dots, sequins, and the list goes on!

1. Neon

Believe it or not, in the ’80s, fluorescent (or simply neon for those in the know) was a sign of good taste. We wore it from head to toe, mixing colors without shame. The most important thing was to be seen—from afar!

2. Shoulder Pads

For some unknown reason, in the ’80s this “coat-hanger” style was all the rage with men and women alike. Shoulder pads lent a broad-shoulder look to any jacket (preferably pastel), but you could also sport them under a blouse or, even worse, a sweater—neon, of course.

3. Acid-Washed Jeans

The ’80s were the glorious era of acid-washed jeans. How many of us sanded our jeans or washed them with bleach to recreate this style? This trend applied to anything denim: jeans, shorts, jackets. The rule of thumb was to wear them all at the same time. It was acid wash from head to toe.


Spandex was everywhere in the ’80s and any excuse to wear it was a good one! From rock stars (like the Scorpions or Iron Maiden) to actors who thought they were aerobics instructors, like Olivia Newton-John, to name but one.

5. The Side Ponytail

This classic ’80s look almost outdoes the perm or the mullet. A side ponytail isn’t complete without those iconic rooster bangs and mega hair spray to hold your masterpiece in place throughout the day.

6. Make-Up

Forget the natural look, when it came to make-up, the ’80s motto was the more, the merrier! Eyeshadow all the way up to the eyebrows, thick red lipstick, bright pink blush, and blue mascara were just some of the supplies required to paint—sorry, embellish—your face.

7. The Fanny Pack

An ’80s staple, the fanny pack can still be seen even today! Nobody can deny how hideous it is, but you have to admit it was pretty handy for carrying around your Pogs and Tamagotchi.

8. The Mullet

Any man alive during the ’80s surely sported this classic “business in the front, party in the back” style. Long and messy down the neck, but clean cut up front, the mullet paired perfectly with a thin moustache.

9. The Perm

Hair wasn’t just big in the ’80s, it was enormous! The bigger, the better. And who was to blame? The perm! This trend was also a “big” hit among men and women.

10. Dancewear

In the ’80s, you didn’t have to be a dancer to don dancewear. Everyone was wearing neon legwarmers, tights, and leotards at all times. Movies like Flashdance and Dirty Dancing were definitely to blame.

11. The Scrunchie

The ’80s were all about the scrunchie. This sparkly fashion faux-pas could be found in every horrendous colour, from emerald green to lavender, and crowned the heads of all young girls. Rumour has it that this trend might be making a comeback—a little hard to believe!

12. The Bucket Hat

Combine velour and a floral pattern with a floppy brim that looks a bit like a bucket and presto—you’ve got all the elements of a major fashion mistake.

13. Tracksuits

In the ’80s, tracksuits could be spotted everywhere, except the gym. Trendy and comfy, tracksuits slowly wormed their way into schoolyards and suburban streets until even our parents were wearing them to the grocery store or the office.

14. Stirrup Pants

Before leggings, there were stirrup pants. These stretchy pants with a strap under the foot lent the legs a seriously unflattering triangular shape. They made the perfect combo with your favourite Au Coton pullover—comfy, but dead ugly!

15. Futuristic Sunglasses

Just because it’s flashy, doesn’t mean it’s pretty. In the ’80s, futuristic sunglasses multiplied at lightning speed. Giant, off-the-wall, and like a sculpture straight out of the fourth dimension, these in-your-face sunglasses were a hallmark of the era.

16. Crimped Hair

You were waiting for it: the famous crimped hair look! Between 1980 and 1989, no young girl could resist this trend that involved crimping her hair with an iron designed specifically for this purpose, turning smooth, healthy hair into a big, disheveled mess.

17. Huge Earrings

They can always be bigger! That was the motto for earrings in the ’80s, when you could see girls (and guys!) with the equivalent of two bowling balls dangling from their earlobes. Who can forget the classic hoop earrings that almost reached your shoulders? Not to mention that “chic” plastic was a hot item at the time.

18. Cotton Sweats

It was an epidemic! Everyone was wearing sweats from head to toe in school, at work, and even in bars. At the time, Au Coton was in its full glory, only to die a natural death two decades later, once we realized that dressing exclusively in soft cottons is bad for your mental health.

19. Popped Collars

For a more serious look, nothing could beat the popped collar. A classic among preppies, this trend paired perfectly with the sweater around the neck and nonchalant medium-length hair. You glanced in the mirror before heading out, popped your collar, and proudly proclaimed: I’ve got the look.

20. Plastic Charm Necklaces

They could hear us coming a mile away, with our necklaces and bracelets jangling with plastic charms. Seriously high-class jewelery! We collected them, traded them, lost them, and bought more. This trend was truly bad for the environment and your back!

21. Mom Jeans

Worn by moms for years until the ’80s hit, and then every girl had a pair of her own. But why? With their tapered legs and high waist that made your butt and hips look bigger, a sack of potatoes would have been sexier.

22. Hypercolor

Remember this popular trend that lasted about three days in the ’80s? At first you thought it was a regular T-shirt, until, as if by magic, it suddenly changed color in the sun or from the heat of a hand touching it. But really, we all knew it was just an excuse to get free hugs.

23. The Headband

In the ’80s, everyone wore a headband—from rock stars to teenage girls. This fashion trend spread like wildfire. Admittedly, it was great for keeping all that big, permed hair out of your face.

24. The Mini Miniskirt

In the ’80s, the miniskirt reached its pinnacle in terms of mini-ness, sometimes so small that it was hardly even there, like in this photo. Made from all kinds of fabrics, like denim, vinyl, or cotton, the miniskirt was the perfect match for another ’80s classic, the off-the-shoulder oversized sweatshirt.

25. Men’s Pastel Suits

Thank you, Miami Vice, for encouraging thousands of men to don pastel suits with oversized jackets, big shoulders, and baggy pants. To complete the look, men also had to wear a tight-fitting T-shirt underneath and, above all, no socks.

26. Faux Leather Bomber Jacket

Oh, the ’80s bomber jacket! This popular item seemed to include all the fashion faux-pas: fake leather, hideous appliqués, oversized sleeves, cut above the waist, and even neon lining. If you still have one of these “gems” hiding out in your closet, please, burn it.

27. Geometric Prints

The ’80s were all about pushing the limits in terms of colors, prints, and geometric shapes. People weren’t afraid to mix materials, patterns, stripes, polka dots, sequins, and the list goes on! Why? To get attention, of course!

(via MSN)


  1. Dumbest post ever. "Mom" jeans are simply a way for idiots in the 2000's to describe normal pants when everything went ugly low rise. Also, not seeing much of a problem with most6 of your list, and NO people in the 80's did not wear sweats to work or to bars.

    1. There are definitely discrepancies in the article, but the author should be given credit for his efforts in writing for us)

  2. And quite a few of these are popular today with "the kidz" - scrunchies, neon, fanny packs, mullets, etc....

  3. Soooo...I'm to suppose by this list that what was wrong with the 1980s fashion WAS the 1980s fashion? Obviously written by someone who didn't live back then. I guess the 70s is wrong for plaid and avocado green? The biggest 80s fashion where I lived in Delaware and South Carolina was Polo shirts, jeans, Members Only style jackets and and boat shoes. Tee shirts, jeans, and white high top sneakers for casual. Neon was very late 80s into the 90s (where we can discuss Jams!).

  4. Having lived the entire decade, I've seen many of these "worst 80's fashion trends" resurface over the years. Definitely written by someone who didn't live in that decade!

  5. Fashion in the 80s was definitely horrendous. The ones that have "resurfaced" have been modernized to fit the current trends and look FAR better than the hot mess of the, worst fashion decade, the 80s. Clearly the people taking it personally grew up in the 80s and love that fashion. Probably still stuck in the 80s fashion and hairstyles up until now. Modern day fanny packs look very contemporary and fashionable and some look like actual purses you wear on your hips. 80s fashion was an eyesore. Thank God it died. Great article!

    1. It is possible to have both disdained some of the fashions of the times and to criticize the takes here. Neon was very late 80s/early 90s. The 80s preppy look was common for day to day style. Someone cited topsiders, polos, members only jackets--that was, in fact, the most common look going. Shoulder pads were there for sure--I always cut them out of anything I bought with them, because they looked ridiculous. That was part of the 'new wave' influence--the bright colors, chunky plastic jewelry, wide belts, capris, scrunchy socks, flat ankle booties. There was acid wash denim for sure, but it wasn't like everyone was decked out in it all over. Another look was ruffled front shirts and puffy shoulders--a bit Victorian, really. And big floppy bow ties on women's blouses. My standard for the day in high school? Regular wash button fly 501 Levis, a t-shirt, and Vans deck shoes...pretty classic. The worst of the 80s was really the garish blue eye-shadow, which I definitely used, and lots of girls cutting their hair short in a style that made their heads look like mushrooms, which I definitely did not participate in. I thought they were nuts at the time...took years for their hair to grow back. Fanny packs were also later 80s and early 90s, btw. The wrap up? A lot of the styles from back then were pretty awful, especially with the big hair and/or weird haircuts. But as with all eras--there's what was pushed as fashion, and then there was what most people wore. Not always the same.

    2. Oh my God it was the worst. and I loved clothes too, but there was nothing to wear. I would look at that early 60s mod style, so cool, or the 70s flowing sleeves and bellbottoms, or the smart suits of the 30s...every decade looked good, but not when I was a teen, I had to be a teen in that horror era. Only 2-Tone had style, and the New Romantics was just about ok, but nothing had the fit and femininity of earlier decades. I used to watch married With |Children to marvel over Kelly's clothes: where did she get those slim minis and fringed jackets? She was a 90s girl in the 80s...funnily enough a guy once told me Kelly was supposed to be considered a tramp because of her clothes "but now its fashion', he said. I just thought it looked great because it fitted. Any teenage fashion that puts a young slender girl in a calf-length skirt and a blazer with shoulder pads, drowning her figure, should have been set on fire.

    3. Most of the stuff listed is from the 90's.

    4. Louis Vuitton has a "fanny" pack by the way...called a bum bag ($1800)...and North Face has $25 dollar fanny pack for hiking/attaching it to a D-Ring hook. ....Honestly, everything cycles around. I literally saw a boombox and CD player in Walmart the other day. I also see younger teens and some professional basketball players with high top fades and deep side parts....I'm late 80s so when these things were hot, I was young kid/teen watching them on Save by the Bell. Mom jeans have also recycled. Old Navy and Gap sell "Mom jeans" which are basically high rise jeans that accentuates/pull in the waist. When I was younger low rise jeans became a things and I argues with my mom about "your ass crack is showing." However now, as fully...FULLY...developed woman...I'm loving the high rise that prevents my belly spillage. Big curly hair is back, hence the rapid selling of texturizes and diffusers..just look on youtube..Ya'll really need to chill. No one "era" has it all. This is just a matrix cycle on repeat....Me...personally, I would draw the line at that I think about it....probably not...

  6. Mullets were 70's although they did extend in the 80's.

  7. ah,,, ALL of this is "back in fashion"
    much to my horror and dismay... hehe

  8. The 80s were ugly as hell

  9. This is literally the dumbest article ever . At least in the 80’s we didn’t have our crusty cheese cutters on show because the jeans were so low. Honestly.

  10. I don't agree. All this 80s trends look great (especially I love mullets, big hair and acid washed denim), in my opinion present fashion is total disaster and there is much more than 27 worst fashion trends... just look the people on the streets today.

  11. With only a few exceptions, these were great! People seemed to enjoy themselves more...

  12. Trends come and go and will repeat themselves eventually in a different fashion. It was an era, it was fun.




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