The Ultimate Style Guide to Looking Fab at our 80's Christmas Party

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

Photo: Vintage Dancer, Complex

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

Photo: Montse B (Pinterest), Jim Steinfeldt (Getty Images), Phyllis Hyman, FlavorWire, Whitney Houston (Vevo), Michael Jackson (Biography)

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

Photo: @partlyplant (instagram), New Light (John Mayer)

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

Photo: Kristen Altenau (Pinterest), The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (NBC), Stranger Things (Netflix)

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

Photo: Getty Images

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.