'80s Fashion: The Good, the Bad and the Downright Ridiculous

Desperately Seeking Susan/Orion Pictures

Ah, fashion in the ’80s. A time of bold colors, oversize blazers and gravity-defying hairstyles. But it wasn’t all bad—remember the power suit? Get ready for a fashion flashback as we recall some of the most hilarious looks of the decade.

joan cusack in working girl
Working Girl/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation


Supersized Hair

The general rule of ’80s hair seemed to be that if it didn’t look like a bird could land in it, then it just wasn’t big enough. Best when teamed with the aforementioned power suit and bright eyeshadow all the way up to the brow.

weird science
Weird Science/Universal Pictures


Earrings to Your Shoulders

Because when you have gigantic hair, you need your accessories to match.

girls just wanna have fun
Girls Just Want to Have Fun/New World Pictures


Neon Colors

A daring look or an attack on corneas everywhere? Tough call. (Side note: If you haven’t seen SJP wearing all the neon in Girls Just Want to Have Fun, then you haven’t lived.)

say anything boom box
Say Anything/Gracie Films


Boomboxes as Accessories

And you thought the guy listening to his Beats too loud on the subway was annoying.

can t buy me love
Can’t Buy Me Love/Apollo Pictures


Fanciful Fringe

We don’t know if it’s the boxy white jacket or memories of a nerdy Patrick Dempsey purchasing his high school popularity in Can't Buy Me Love, but we're just going to say it—these tassels aren’t terrible.

duckie from pretty in pink
Pretty In Pink/Paramount Pictures


Bolo Ties

Not-so-fun fact: Kids today have no idea what these are or why they were considered cool in the ’80s. Then again, we're not so sure that we can really explain that either.

desperately seeking susan
Desperately Seeking Susan/Orion Pictures


Lace Gloves

Madonna ruled the style stakes this decade, so much so that she managed to convince everyone that extraneous lace gloves were a must-have accessory. Note: wearing just one glove was also totally acceptable.

the breakfast club
The Breakfast Club/ Universal Pictures


Popped Collars

Best worn with an attitude problem, à la The Breakfast Club.

Flashdance/Paramount Pictures


Workout Clothes for Everyday Wear

Leg warmers and Lycra: not just for the gym. (Seems like 2017 might be taking a page from this book.)

Breakin’/Golan-Globus Productions


Parachute Pants

Admittedly not the most flattering look but on the plus side, super useful if ever required to make an emergency jump out of an airplane. And for sneaking snacks into the theater.

nightmare on elm street
Nightmare on Elm Street/New Line Cinema


Crop Tops

To be fair, this look has made a total comeback. And also, this is far from the weirdest thing that Johnny Depp has ever worn.

Heathers/New World Pictures


Shoulder Pads

If you’re wondering if shoulders and attitudes could ever be too big in the ’80s, Winona’s face has the answer.

sixteen candles
Sixteen Candles/Channel Productions


Fedoras Tilted to the Back

Priority No. 1: Never mess with the bangs.

back to the future
Back to the Future/Universal Pictures


Down Vests

Another trend that's made a serious comeback. But nobody wears this look better than Marty McFly.

the lost boys
Lost Boys/Warner Bros.



Business in the front, party in the back. Terrible all around. And yes, that’s Kiefer Sutherland in the middle.

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Executive Editor

Alexia Dellner is an executive editor at PureWow who has over ten years of experience covering a broad range of topics including health, wellness, travel, family, culture and...