Remember the 80s Men’s Fashion? If you grew up during that totally tubular decade, you rocked some seriously bold and brash styles. Neon colors, loud prints, and big logos were the name of the game for 80s men’s fashion. You lived in your Members only jacket, popped the collar on your polo shirt, and weren’t caught dead without your Ray-Bans. Miami Vice inspired pastel suits and espadrilles while Top Gun had you reaching for the bomber jacket. Every guy wanted to emulate their favorite band, whether it was Bon Jovi’s leather and denim or Wham’s short shorts and mesh tops. The 80s were all about excess and pushing boundaries. Looking back, some of the trends were cringe worthy but you’ve got to admit, they had a certain charm and originality about them. Fashion was fun, flashy, and made a statement.
The Rise of Preppy Style in 80s Menswear Fashion
The 80s saw the rise of preppy fashion dominating menswear. Pastel colors, polo shirts, and tennis skirts – this Ivy League-inspired look was totally rad.
Polo shirts and pastels
Preppy style centered around crisp polo shirts, often in shades of pink, yellow, and light blue. Paired with khaki pants or light-wash jeans, this look screamed leisure and old money. Don’t forget the popped collar for extra sass.
The tennis skirt
Another essential preppy item was the tennis skirt. Not just for the court, these short pleated skirts were perfect for any casual occasion. Wear them with a polo or button-down shirt, belt, and loafers for a put-together yet laid-back style.
Accessories that mattered
No preppy outfit was complete without key accessories like boat shoes, loafers, sunglasses, and belts. Belts were often embroidered or came in bright colors. And you needed multiple watches – one for day and one for night. Designer logos on everything also became popular, turning brands like Izod and Lacoste into status symbols.
The new moneyed class
The rise of preppy fashion reflected the nouveau riche in the 80s acquiring new money and status. This bold yet polished style allowed them to flaunt their wealth and social standing in a way that seemed effortless. Love it or hate it, preppy fashion made a statement that resonated throughout the 80s. Totally rad, man!
Big and Bold: Shoulder Pads, Miami Vice Style and Power Dressing
The 80s were all about excess, and men’s fashion was no exception. Power dressing and bold style choices were the norm.
Nothing said “power” like a sharp suit with massive shoulder pads. These exaggerated shoulders dominated menswear and gave the impression of authority and status. Brands like Armani and Versace popularized this trend, making the “linebacker” shoulder pad a must-have for any self-respecting 80s businessman.
Miami Vice Style
The hit show Miami Vice influenced an entire generation of men with its pastel colors and casual-yet-expensive vibe. Rayon shirts, linen pants and loafers without socks were hallmarks of this trend. Men strove to emulate Don Johnson’s laid-back cool and lavish lifestyle. The Miami Vice style even inspired men to adopt the “designer stubble” – a carefully manicured five o’clock shadow.
For a night out, men got decked out in their flashiest duds. Bright colors, shiny fabrics and loud prints were all the rage. Sequins, anyone? The 80s were a time of ostentatious displays of wealth and status, so the flashier your outfit, the better. Think pastel suits, patterned shirts with spread collars, and skinny ties – the more colors and patterns crammed into one outfit, the more fashion-forward you are.
The 80s were a time when more was definitely more when it came to menswear. Loud, proud and not afraid to take up space, the 80s style set the template for bold fashion choices and has inspired many revivals. Those exaggerated shoulders, bright colors and casual-meets-formal style came to define an era where it was good to be bad.
Gnarly! Skater Culture and 80s Street Style for Men
The 80s were all about excess, and nowhere was this more apparent than in the totally radical street styles of skater culture. Skating exploded into the mainstream, and with it came the baggy pants, bright colors, and funky skate shoes that defined the era.
Gnarly Skater Style
Skateboarders in the 80s personalized their style to express their free-wheeling lifestyle. They crafted a laid-back look from comfortable, durable clothing that could withstand hours at the skate park. Think loose-fitting jeans, t-shirts, and hoodies featuring skate brands like Vans, Air Walk and Vision Street Wear. Bright neon colors were hugely popular, as were prints featuring skulls, surfers or the skate brands themselves.
No skater’s outfit was complete without a pair of high-top sneakers, preferably in a bold color and covered in skate brand logos. The iconic Vans shoes were must-haves, with their waffle soles perfect for gripping skateboard decks. Brands like Air Walk and Vision also made high-top skate shoes that provided ankle support and lots of padding.
Skater style incorporated a sense of rebellion with touches of punk rock. Spiky hair, sleeveless denim jackets, and wallet chains were popular accessories, as were the ubiquitous snapback caps. This fusion of skate and punk culture created an iconic 80s look that influenced mainstream street fashion and still inspires modern skate, surf and hip-hop styles today.
Radical, dude! Skater fashion in the 80s was totally gnarly. Loud, brash and made to get noticed, it embodied the energy and individuality of skate culture. Next time you see a kid in baggy jeans and Vans, give thanks to the skaters of the 80s who crafted an enduring sense of cool.
So there you have it, the totally tubular and bodacious world of 80s men’s fashion. The era was all about excess and pushing boundaries. Looking back now, some of the styles seem completely over the top and even comical. But at that moment, those fashion trends represented an attitude of daring and not caring what anyone thought. The 80s were a time of big personalities, big dreams and even bigger shoulder pads. While the 90s and 2000s toned things down, the 80s will always remain an iconic period of bold prints, bright colors and brash style. If you didn’t live through it yourself, at least now you’ve gotten a glimpse into the loud and proud world of 80s men’s fashion. Cowabunga dudes!