36 Iconic 1980s Fashion Moments We Never Want to Forget

When it comes to '80s fashion, we have a (surprising) amount to be thankful for. While the decade previously hadn't influenced our wardrobes for a long time, in recent years, we've come to the realisation that all the most current trends today are courtesy of the '80s. Now, if you're not too familiar with the nuances of this era, there are a few standout looks we're sure you'll recognise: big shoulders, white jeans, underwear as outerwear and oversized jewellery. It was the decade of the power dresser but also of punks. It gave us Madonna, Sade, Tina Turner and Cher, plus numerous other superstars whose sense of style influences many right now.


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While Y2K might have been the top nostalgic fashion decade for the past few years, designers have clearly switched their focus to the '80s in 2024, particularly when it comes to evening wear. Whether you're looking to embrace the OTT glamour of '80s eveningwear or the power shouldered suits, we've found 36 A-list images that prove these '80s fashion looks are as current now as they were then. 

1. Madonna and Her Bodysuits


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Style Notes: This is classic '80s Madonna, but the underwear/bodysuit look is bang on the money for now. You can forgo the pearls—just wear yours with some high-waisted jeans for a night out.

2. A "Naked" Dress, as Loved by Cher


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Style Notes: As if we needed any more proof that Cher is the ultimate style queen, here was the star doing the naked dress before everyone was doing it on the red carpet.

3. Roll-Necks for Everyone, Including Brooke Shields


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Style Notes: Brooke Shields was America's number one sweetheart back in the '80s, and here, she proves exactly why.

4. See-Through Layers Were Loved by Kim Basinger

Kim Basinger

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Style Notes: The Jenner/Kardashian clan may be the current leaders of this trend, but the originator of this style? Another Kim—Kim Basinger.

5. Structured Shoulders, Styled by Courteney Cox

Courteney Cox

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Style Notes: Okay, so the term "structured shoulders" is just another way for us to say "shoulder pads" and attempt to not freak you out, but we've seen a real trend toward this look. Shout-out to Courteney Cox for wearing this on the red carpet pre–Monica Gellar days.

6. Corset Belts Were a Cyndi Lauper Essential

Cyndi Lauper

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Style Notes: A cinched waist is the ultimate styling trick, and we can't deny that Cyndi Lauper is the queen of the trend. Also: those zebra shoes.

7. Chunky Jewellery Was Joan Collins's Armour

Joan Collins

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Style Notes: Joan Collins is so incredible in this snap. Is there anything we don't love about it? Answer: No. The jacket, the simple black top, the red lippie… However, it's the gobstopper necklace our magpie eyes focus on. Joan knows the power incredible jewellery has in pulling together an outfit.

8. Checked Outerwear Was Adored by Royalty

Princess Diana and Prince Charles in the countryside

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Style Notes: There were so many incredible outfits from Princess Diana we could have included, but we settled on this "country-casual" one. The heritage check on her jacket and matching skirt are classic attire. Not only has this Harrington-style jacket made a comeback in hipster circles, but we're also seeing plaid coats everywhere. Coincidence? We think not.

9. Showing Off Your Socks Was a Meg Ryan–Approved Move

Meg Ryan

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Style Notes: Want to know the real way to update your outfit for 2024? Just add socks à la Meg Ryan. Yes, really.

10. Tailoring Made Up Grace Jones's Wardrobe

Grace Jones

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Style Notes: Grace Jones will never be anything less than fierce, but this incredible look has been seared into our minds. Who wouldn't want to look so focused in a razor-sharp piece of tailoring? (Purple makeup optional, of course.)

11. Miniskirts Were Loved by Kylie Minogue

Kylie Minogue

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Style Notes: Kylie Minogue wore a lot of high-shine minis like this. Get inspired by investing in 2024's sequinned version.

12. High-Waisted Jeans Were Worn by Models, Singers and Actresses

Tina Turner

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Style Notes: We have some serious love for high-waisted jeans. Tina Turner pulls this look off with aplomb, and we have to agree: Bauble earrings and a white vest are great accessories.

13. Baggy Cropped Trousers Were a Part of the Off-Duty Celeb Uniform

Demi Moore

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Style Notes: Well, how else do you expect to show off your socks? Thanks to Demi Moore for inspiring us all those years ago. 

14. Tights—Especially Sheer Ones—Were Loved by Sassy Ladies Like Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry

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Style Notes: Debbie Harry has brought us many a trend. But during the '80s, we got to see her in chic little black dresses, which she accessorised with a flash of low denier at most times. And in case you didn't know, that kind of hosiery is news again.

15. Bold Buttons Adorned Every Blazer

 Jerry Hall

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Style Notes: We've seen this trend start to appear on trousers, from old-school joggers to jeans with shiny gold buttons, as well as on the classic Balmain blazers that remain forever popular. Jerry Hall's gold buttons down her nautical blazer and gold bracelets made for the ultimate '80s power look. 

16. Off-the-Shoulder Silhouettes Really Picked Up Steam

Goldie Hawn

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Style Notes: True, Goldie Hawn didn't invent the off-the-shoulder style, but she knew how to do it right

17. Leggings Were Worn by Rockers and Fitness Fanatics Alike

Joan jett

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Style Notes: Joan Jett will never be anything less than cool. Her punk-inspired ensembles often involved oversized jackets and skintight trousers. While leggings have definitely come on a bit since then, take inspo from this look and pair your leggings (or black skinny jeans) with a leather jacket this weekend.

18. No Outfit Was Complete Without Shoulder Pads Like SJP's

Sarah Jessica Parker

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Style Notes: Things tended to be pretty oversized during the '80s, and no other item was as exaggerated as the blazer.

19. Every Major Celeb Had a Sequin Moment

Diana Ross

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Style Notes: When aren't sequins a great idea? As seen on Diana Ross, this look is making us long for an excuse to dress up.

20. And a Tassel Moment, Too

sequin bodysuit

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Style Notes: Yes, the '70s might have been the era for bodysuits, but with the '80s came extra bits like tassels. 

21. Vinyl Jackets Were Introduced to Replace Standard Leathers

Cindy Crawford

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Style Notes: The vinyl-coat trend has been everywhere for the past few years, and we see it sticking around for many more. But it was in the '80s when one of the original supermodels, Cindy Crawford, made it look iconic. 

22. No Casual Outfit Was Complete With a Graphic Tee

Pat Cleveland

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Style Notes: Model Pat Cleveland knew how to make a graphic tee look chic. It's still one of our favourite outfits for the weekend.

23. Sunglasses Were the Biggest They've Probably Ever Been

Susan Sarandon

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Style Notes: Susan Sarandon is just one of the reasons we love oversized sunglasses.

24. Even Denim Jackets Were Supersized

Sarah Jessica Parker

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Style Notes: Before Sex and the City, SJP was already pushing the fashion boundaries. 

25. Geek-Chic Glasses Ruled the Celebrity Roost

Jane Fonda

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Style Notes: Geek-chic glasses might be commonplace now, but it was during the '80s that they really took off. Acetate frames, as seen here on Jane Fonda, have definitely made a comeback. 

26. It Was a Time of Over-Accessorising, so Gloves Were Key

Daryl Hannah

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Style Notes: Daryl Hannah's got all the accessories a decent '80s look should have, but you'll notice time and again that gloves (especially with layered jewellery) are key for this decade.

27. Skirt Suits Were a Favourite for Society Girls

Sarah Ferguson and Diana, Princess of Wales

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Style Notes: Sarah Ferguson and Diana, Princess of Wales, were both particularly keen on skirt suits for their more formal events in the '80s. The look translated quickly into offices and parties, especially in this ultra-matchy form. 

28. Aerobic Gear Wasn't a Street Trend, But It Was Essential

Jane Fonda

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Style Notes: Jane Fonda started it in the 1970s, but by the time the 1980s arrived, spandex leggings, leotards and legwarmers were commonplace, and everyone was a fitness fanatic (for a time, at least).

29. Harem Pants Were Given the Green Light

Donna Summer

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Style Notes: Call them MC Hammer pants or harem pants, but never forget that drop-crotch trousers (the more draped, the better) were a key look in the '80s. Here's Donna Summer doing them justice.

30. Polka Dots Kept Coming Back Through the '80s


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Style Notes: Polka dots are back again, but one of the most current-looking ways they were worn in the '80s was thanks to singer Sade and this cool shirt.

31. Flouncy Sleeves Were a Princess Diana Go-To

Princess Diana

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Style Notes: Princess Diana's balloon-sleeved monochromatic blouse is too good to leave out and feels so current.

32. Beige Continued on From the '70s Well Into the '80s

Debbie Harry

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Style Notes: Beige really took off in the summer of 2018 (and continues still), but you need only look to Debbie Harry, who wore the trend three decades ago. 

33. Oversize Blazers Were Best Worn With Plenty of Jewellery

singer in blazer.

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Style Notes: The oversized look was everywhere in the '80s and wasn't just limited to jackets—jewellery, too, was statement. In 2024, this is a trend that is making a big comeback. 

34. Laura Ashley–Style Prints Looked Just as Cute Then

young Gwyneth Paltrow

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Style Notes: A trend that has made a surprising comeback, Laura Ashley–inspired dresses are everywhere right now. Yes, that's Gwyneth Paltrow!

35. No Classic Wardrobe Is Ever Complete Without a Safari Jacket

woman in safari jacket

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Style Notes: The most timeless of jackets. Even in the '80s, it looked incredible. 

36. Green Was Often the Colour du Jour

Queen Elizabeth in green skirt suit.

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Style Notes: Green was very popular during the '80s, but no one wore it better than HRH.

This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated. 

Opening Image: Getty

Elinor Block