10 Street Style Signs That Prove the '80s Trend Is Really Happening

We predicted way back at the start of 2016 that the time to forgo flares and say buh-bye to boho was coming. Now, it has dominated autumn/winter 2018 and is set to be just as prolific in 2019, too. It seemed like the stronghold the 1970s had maintained over this fine fashion kingdom for more than three seasons appeared to be waning—and we were right. The style elite's most forward-thinking influencers are spinning into the following decade's aesthetic instead. Yes, you read correctly—this means the '80s are back in vogue, and it will affect your closet.

Rather than rah-rah skirts, Madonna-esque basques and cutoff gloves—or the kind of power-tailored shoulder pads that could jab a co-worker's eye out at 50 paces—'80s 2.0 truly can be a more casual affair, even when the runway's offering is unashamedly outré (see how popular Saint Laurent's eveningwear is with celebs right now).

Thanks to the deft street stylers and Instagrammers pictured below, we can deduce that the success rate is down to something very simple: Wear only one '80s throwback piece at a time, unless you are truly brave and/or majorly into this trend.

So here are the 10 fashionable flashback items genuinely in action. And if you’re feeling inspired, we have also selected the best options to shop the look…


1. Big Shoulders Replace Statement Sleeves
(Image credit: @hannahlewisstylist)

From "leg of mutton"-sleeve blouses like this elaborate one on Ece Sükan through to sharp tailoring, shoulders are the new focal point in fashion. 


2. Designer Logos on Everything
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Belts, bags, earrings, shoes, sunglasses, T-shirts, sweaters, leggings… Right now you'll find the power branding of the world's biggest fashion houses all over every possible surface. Not brash—just of-the-moment.


3. Visor Sunglasses Are the New Oversized Shades
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you aren't on board with the skinnier, more '90s/Matrix-esque sunglasses trend, then perhaps bigger, visor-style shades will be your thing. 


4. Leggings Are Now a Night-Out Option
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Spandex was ultra popular during the '80s thanks to a rise in exercise classes, but now you'll find this stretchy, shiny new collection from Versace making its way into the going-out wardrobes of fashion girls.


5. Power Suits Don't Need an Office
(Image credit: @tineandreaa)

The strong-shouldered, neutral-coloured trouser suit was a favourite of working girls in the 1980s, but now they're a strong street style option—especially when worn with a roll-neck and big earrings.


6. Gold Earrings Need to Be Big
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Talking of big gold earrings, they were an essential part of the '80s look—and we've noticed clip-ons creeping back into stores and the streets yet again.


7. Boilersuits Are the Jumpsuit du Jour
(Image credit: The Style Stalker)

Utility-style, slouchy jumpsuits were popular when our mums were fully into '80s casual: Instead of wearing them with flats or sneakers as before, we'd recommend adding heels and a waist-belt.


8. Trousers Are Being Tucked Into Boots
(Image credit: The Style Stalker)

Slouchy and mid-calf boots are now ripe for the classic 1980s styling trick of tucking in loose-fit trousers—surprisingly good for a leg-lengthening effect.


9. Purple Is the Power Colour
(Image credit: The Style Stalker)

As predicted by Pantone and brought to life by the streets of fashion month, purple is trending—and you probably haven't seen it around this much since the '80s.


10. Tiger Proves Just As Powerful As Leopard
(Image credit: @rixo)

The '80s served up a menagerie of prints, but none feel more of the era than tiger motifs. Look for slinky fabrics to up the Dynasty-esque ante. 

Hannah Almassi
Editor in Chief

Hannah Almassi is the Editor in Chief of Who What Wear UK. Hannah has been part of the the Who What Wear brand since 2015, when she was headhunted to launch the UK sister site and social channels, implement a localised content strategy and build out the editorial team. She joined following a seven-year tenure at Grazia magazine, where she led front-of-book news, fashion features and shopping specials as fashion news and features editor. With experience in both print and digital across fashion and beauty, Hannah has over 16 years in the field as a journalist, editor, content strategist and brand consultant. Hannah has interviewed industry heavyweights such as designers including Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Anderson through to arbiters of taste including Katie Grand and Anna Dello Russo. A skilled moderator and lecturer specialising in the shift to digital media and e-commerce, Hannah’s opinion and work has been sought by the likes of CNBC, BBC, The Sunday Times Style, The Times, The Telegraph and MatchesFashion.com, among many others. Hannah is often called upon for her take on trends, becoming known as a person with their finger of the pulse of what’s happening in the fashion space for stylish Brits. Hannah currently resides in Eastbourne with her photographer husband, incredibly busy son and highly Instagrammable cat.