This Is What Cool Girls Were Wearing to Parties 35 Years Ago


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There's no denying the power that the '80s are having over fashion right now. Larger-than-life costume jewelry is lining the shelves at every retailer, people are constantly reposting old photos of Princess Diana, and jewel tones are everywhere we look these days. Even Google just announced that '80s fashion was the top fashion search term of the year. Since party season is officially upon us, we took a deep dive into photo archives from the decade, and we're happy to report that we found a trove of cool '80s holiday party outfits to inspire your next look.

After seeing the following outfits from It girls like Anna Wintour, Iman, and Sarah Jessica Parker, you'll realize that so many of the It trends they were wearing to parties are eerily similar to today's (think bold-shouldered frocks and a healthy dose of sequins). If you're craving some throwback style inspiration, look no further. These cool party outfits will have you instantly craving a good reason to get all dolled up your best dresses, heels, and jewelry for the occasion.


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WHO: Princess Diana

Style Notes: There are two important details that make Princess Diana's dress a winner: the velvet for obvious reasons, the ruching details, and the sweetheart neckline. Okay, so actually three details.


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WHO: Anna Wintour

Style Notes: The '80s mindset was "more is more." In this case, the more sequins the better.


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WHO: Iman and Cindy Crawford

Style Notes: Eighties girls took to throwing boxy jackets over their party dresses.


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WHO: Demi Moore

Style Notes: If Moore's crystal-embellished jacket was on sale today, 10/10 fashion girls would be all over it.


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WHO: Iman

Style Notes: Chunky gold jewelry adds a festive element to tailored black pieces. 


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WHO: Vanessa Williams

Style Notes: If you go the blazer route, make like Williams and choose one with puffy sleeves and a bold color.


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WHO: Kate Moss

Style Notes: Animal print ruled the '80s, too, if this Kate Moss look is any indication.


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WHO: Christie Brinkley

Style Notes: Brinkley's barely there sandals are a heel trend that's still very much a thing today.


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WHO: Sarah Jessica Parker

Style Notes: Leave it to SJP to make an LBD look like a novel idea.


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WHO: Janet Jackson

Style Notes: Now those are some '80s accessories we can definitely get behind.

Shop '80s-inspired party attire:

Next, see how It girls were wearing ankle boots in the '80s, '90s, and '00s


Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.