Wondering how you’re going to time travel and pull off an 80s outfit in time for this year’s Christmas bash celebrations? I hear ya. But not to worry, we’ve got you covered with a style guide that will ensure you’re dressed to the nines… or at least, to the 80s.
The 80s was a time of BIG fashion
Think bright colours, bold silhouettes, and an eclectic mix of funky prints and costume jewelry. And I mean big. The loudest, most outrageous outfit you could think of? The 80s probably had it. And let’s not forget the voluminous, spray-laced hair — for both the girls and the guys.
But whether shoulder pads and mom jeans are your thing, there seemed to be something in the 80s for everybody. If you’ve done a quick, desperate Google for 80s-inspired outfits like I have, you’ll probably realize that there isn’t a single, distinct look that could define the decade. That’s because it was, by many parts, a convergence of styles; a mish-mash of 70s hippie funk and old-world designer opulence, contrasted by rising punk countercultures at the time.
Aerobics was in, and by default, so were lycra bodysuits, leggings and activewear in near-neon shades.
Music inspired fashion and vice versa
The advent of MTV and music videos also played a big part in altering how music inspired fashion, and vice versa. Prince, Bowie, Madonna, and of course, Whitney, set the tone for this with their iconic bop and flair.
But seriously, can we talk about that hair? For the ladies, a great cheat sheet to achieving a quick 80s do is to tousle or curl your hair to add volume (ahem friends with Dyson airwraps, time to share!). Then, pop on a hair scarf, scrunchie or bow in a half-updo, and you’re good to go! This works even for those with shorter hair.
Oversized, baggy, bright and colourful
You can’t go wrong with an oversized track jacket either; preferably oversized and over baggy mom jeans, which are cuffed just enough to show off your brightly coloured socks and sneakers. Color blocking was all the rage in the 80s, so the more, the better! And for the fellas, the same rule applies — just channel John Mayer’s cover art in New Light.
Don’t be afraid to go all out and obnoxious with clashing prints and textures
The trick here is to stick to a few colours throughout your outfit — this helps to maintain some form of consistency (and sanity?), without being too overbearing on the eyes. And don’t forget to accessorize! Funky hats, suspenders, tinted sunglasses and huge earrings are all welcome, but if you don’t have that, simple hoops will do, too.
Channel Princess Diana vibes
But if subtlety is more your flavour, take a page out of Princess Diana’s book for a lesson on modest 80s dressing — she pulled off bold, clashing colours and prints well, while keeping it classy.
Or take it up a notch with a power suit
Alternatively, opt for an oversized blazer and turtleneck with mom-fit jeans or pants. Strong shoulder silhouettes evoke the ‘power suit’ vibe of the 80s, and are a simple way to ‘retro-fy’ your look. A denim-on-denim outfit is another option, and can easily be jazzed up with a bright, solid-coloured t-shirt underneath.
Guys, we haven't forgotten about you
As for the guys, outerwear is key! Sweaters, letterman jackets, bombers, outer shirts and oversized blazers are all fair game. Just make sure you keep your shirts tucked into a belted pair of jeans. You can also zhng your outfit with a fanny pack, sunglasses if you have them, and chunky white sneakers. And wrap a bandana or sweatband around your forehead, if you dare!
Most importantly, however you’re dressing up for our 80s bash, HAVE FUN! Start brainstorming and sharing outfit ideas with your lifegroup members, dig up old photos of your parents for extra inspo, and groove together as you get ready to the sound of some top 80s hits. I know I will! And if you’re shy about getting funky with your outfits — don’t be. We’re all going to be within the safe confines of home, anyway ;)