How to Dress in 80s Fashion: Rocking the Retro Look

How to Dress in 80s Fashion: Rocking the Retro Look

The 1980s brought us bold colors, big hair, and many unique fashion trends that continue to inspire us today. Known for its eclectic mix of styles, 80s fashion is all about expressing individuality and having fun with your wardrobe.

Whether you’re prepping for a themed party or want to add a retro twist to your everyday look, understanding the key elements of 80s fashion is essential. From neon colors to acid-wash jeans, let’s take a closer look at how to channel that iconic 80s vibe.

Key Takeaways

  • Incorporate vibrant neon colors like pink, blue, and yellow into your outfits.
  • Choose oversized clothing items such as blazers, sweaters, and jackets for an authentic 80s look.
  • Emphasize high-waisted styles with mom jeans, skirts, or shorts for a retro vibe.
  • Pair off-the-shoulder tops with ripped jeans and chunky jewelry for edgy flair.
  • Complete your ensemble with bold accessories, statement belts, and voluminous hairstyles.

How to Dress in 80s Fashion: 7 Practical Tips

To nail that 80s look, here are some practical and trendy tips to help you get classic 80s looks.

1. Bright Colors

How to Dress in 80s FashionEmbrace the vibrant essence of the 80s by incorporating neon pinks, electric blues, and vibrant yellows into your wardrobe. These bright colors are the hallmark of the decade’s fashion and instantly add a playful edge to any outfit.

Don’t shy away from mixing and matching these bold hues for a truly dynamic look. Pair a neon pink top with electric blue pants or a vibrant yellow jacket to stand out.

2. Oversized Clothing

How to Dress in 80s Fashion

Another tip to elevate your 80s look is to opt for oversized clothing like roomy blazers, sweaters, and jackets. This era’s fashion embraced exaggerated shapes, so don’t be afraid to go big.

Pair an oversized blazer with wide-leg pants for a truly authentic vibe. Incorporate power shoulders to give your silhouette that iconic 80s edge. Mix and match bold colors and different textures like denim, leather, and velvet to create a dynamic and eye-catching ensemble.

3. High-Waisted Trend

How to Dress in 80s Fashion

High-waisted jeans and skirts instantly give your outfit that unmistakable 80s vibe. To channel this trend, start with a pair of high-waisted mom jeans. Pair them with a bold graphic tee tucked in to showcase the high waist. Complete your look with trendy sneakers for a casual yet stylish finish.

Opt for high-waisted skirts as well. They can be paired with fitted tops to emphasize your waistline, creating a flattering and authentic retro style.

4. Off-the-Shoulder Tops

How to Dress in 80s FashionOff-the-shoulder tops capture the playful spirit of 80s fashion. They’re a must-have for any retro-inspired wardrobe.

To nail this look, pair your off-the-shoulder tops with ripped jeans for an edgy, casual vibe. Layering a denim jacket over the top adds a versatile and stylish touch. Complete your ensemble with chunky jewelry to add that extra flair and authenticity.

5. Leather Pieces

How to Dress in 80s Fashion

Embrace the bold spirit of the 80s by incorporating leather pieces into your wardrobe. For a daring look, start with a statement leather dress paired with fishnet tights.

A leather jacket is essential for that rockstar edge, adding a rebellious flair effortlessly. Don’t shy away from leather blazers. They bring a polished yet punk vibe, especially with edgy embellishments.

6. Layer with Denim

How to Dress in 80s Fashion

Start your 80s look by experimenting with different denim washes and textures, such as acid wash or distressed styles. Layer your denim pieces to create depth and variety in your ensemble.

Try pairing an oversized jacket with high-waisted jeans for an authentic retro vibe. The oversized jacket, especially with power shoulders, captures the true essence of 80s fashion.

Mix and match denim items like skirts and vests to keep your look fresh and versatile. Tuck a blouse or cropped top with your high-waisted jeans to enhance that flattering retro silhouette.

7. 80s Prints

How to Dress in 80s Fashion

Adding to your 80s denim layers, incorporate bold and graphic prints like geometric shapes and animal prints to capture the era’s vibrant essence. Look for vibrant colors and patterns such as polka dots, stripes, and checkerboard motifs.

Mixing and matching different prints in the same color palette or contrasting colors creates a visually dynamic outfit. To make a statement, opt for oversized prints on tops, dresses, or bottoms.

Retro-inspired prints like houndstooth, paisley, or floral patterns add a nostalgic touch to your modern 80s look.

Essential Items for Creating an 80s Look

To truly capture the essence of the 1980s, it’s important to focus on the essential items that defined the decade’s iconic style. Let’s explore the must-have items for crafting an authentic 80s look.


For an authentic 80s look, embrace off-the-shoulder tops and oversized graphic tees as wardrobe essentials. These pieces radiate casual yet stylish vibes. Bold-colored blouses with shoulder pads are perfect for adding that iconic 80s power silhouette. Don’t shy away from cropped sweatshirts either; they’re great for a sporty, carefree style.

Pair your choices with vibrant colors and patterns to truly capture the decade’s essence. Mix and match these tops to create a versatile, eye-catching 80s-inspired wardrobe.


Pairing your 80s-inspired tops with the right bottoms is key to achieving that authentic retro look. Start with high-waisted pants, a quintessential 80s staple that flatters your waistline. High-waisted mom jeans are perfect for a casual vibe.

For an edgier look, slip into leather pants with a high waist and tapered legs. Acid-wash jeans or skirts add that iconic 80s texture to your outfit. If you want a more polished appearance, opt for pleated trousers in bold colors or funky patterns.


Embrace mini dresses that show off your legs and pair them with statement belts to accentuate your waist. Oversized shirt dresses are another 80s-inspired option. They offer a relaxed yet fashionable vibe.

For a more daring look, opt for bodycon styles that hug your curves and showcase the bold patterns typical of the era, such as geometric shapes or animal prints.


To nail the 80s look, start with an oversized blazer featuring padded shoulders for that iconic power silhouette. Opt for leather jackets to add an edgy vibe, and don’t shy away from bold colors. A bright leather jacket can be a powerful statement piece.

For a more sporty style, try brightly colored windbreakers or varsity jackets. If you prefer a classic touch, a statement trench coat in a bold color or classic neutral will do the trick.

Denim jackets, especially those with acid wash or oversized silhouettes, are essential for layering and achieving a true 80s feel. Mix and match these outerwear pieces to create a versatile and authentic 80s wardrobe.


When creating an 80s look, start with chunky heels or platform shoes to instantly add height and a retro flair.

For a sporty touch, opt for bold sneakers in vibrant colors or classic high-tops. Ankle boots with metallic finishes or striking patterns can elevate your outfit, making a bold statement.

Don’t forget slouch boots, which add a chic and effortlessly cool vibe with their relaxed fit and low heels.


Accessories are the key to nailing an authentic 80s look. Opt for oversized, bold earrings to make a strong impact, and pair them with layered necklaces for added flair.

Neon accessories are a must. Think bright belts, jewelry, and even sunglasses to capture that vibrant 80s vibe. Don’t forget bold belts to cinch your waist and add structure to your outfit. Chunky jewelry, such as large bangles and big rings, can elevate your ensemble even more.


Tease your hair and embrace the big, voluminous styles that defined 80s fashion. Start by using a comb and hairspray to tease your hair, creating that iconic, exaggerated volume.

For a stylish twist, consider crimped hairstyles. Use a crimper or curling iron to achieve those fun, retro-inspired waves. Don’t forget to experiment with big hair—think teased roots and lots of texture.

Adding a sweatband can be a stylish way to complement your 80s hair look, making it both practical and fashionable.


To nail the 80s makeup look, start with bold and vibrant eyeshadow shades like blue, pink, and purple. These colors will instantly transport you back to the era.

Don’t be shy about using eyeliner—apply it thickly along your upper and lower lash lines for a dramatic effect.

Layered makeup is vital, so move on to blush after your eyes are done. Apply a generous amount of bright blush on the apples of your cheeks to achieve that iconic flushed look.

Finish your ensemble with colorful lipstick choices, such as a striking red or hot pink. By combining these tips, you’ll perfectly capture the classic 80s makeup style.

Example 80s Outfit Ideas

Now that you know the essentials, let’s explore some example 80s outfit ideas.

Casual Look

How to Dress in 80s Fashion

Dive into the casual side of 80s fashion with high-waisted acid-wash jeans paired with a cropped band tee and colorful sneakers. This casual look captures the essence of 80s fashion with its bold and relaxed vibe.

Another great outfit idea is to opt for an oversized graphic sweatshirt tucked into denim shorts. Accessorize with scrunchie hair ties and hoop earrings for that laid-back 80s feel.

You can also combine a slouchy off-the-shoulder sweater with leggings, high-top sneakers, and a fanny pack for a comfortable yet trendy ensemble.

Party Look

How to Dress in 80s Fashion

An 80s theme party look is all about embracing bold colors and statement pieces. Start with neon colors—think bright greens, pinks, and oranges. Pair an oversized top with fitted bottoms like leggings or skinny jeans to nail that 80s party vibe. Don’t forget shoulder pads in your blazers or tops for that signature strong silhouette.

For a bit of edge, wear a punk-inspired outfit by mixing black clothing with denim and adding edgy accessories like spiked bracelets or chokers. Acid-washed jeans, jumpsuits, and denim jackets are your go-to staples.

Mix and match these elements, and you’ll be ready to rock any 80s party with confidence.

Workout Wear

How to Dress in 80s Fashion

Start an authentic 80s workout look with high-cut one-pieces or crop tops paired with leggings or biker shorts.

Don’t avoid bright colors like hot pink, electric blue, and neon green. Complete your outfit with accessories such as headbands, wristbands, and colorful sneakers to add that essential 80s flair.

For a casual yet stylish touch, throw on oversized sweatshirts or off-the-shoulder tops.


Embracing 80s fashion is all about having fun and expressing yourself boldly. Mix and match vibrant colors, oversized pieces, and edgy accessories to create a dynamic look.

Don’t forget those high-waisted jeans, leather jackets, and statement jewelry to truly capture the era. Finish your outfit with voluminous hair and retro footwear, and you’ll be ready to rock that classic 80s style with confidence and flair.

So go ahead, dive into your wardrobe, and start creating your own 80s-inspired looks!

Learn more fashion tips from the Longan Craft Blog, and dive into the fabric world with Longancraft

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