20 Embarrassing 80s Fashion Crazes That Will Give You Terrible Flashbacks

20 Embarrassing 80s Fashion Crazes That Will Give You Terrible Flashbacks

You owned a pair of acid washed jeans. Admit it. 

The ’80s were all about pushing the limits in terms of colors, prints, and geometric shapes. We would confidently mix materials, patterns, stripes and polka dots. We weren’t afraid of being overdressed (the more sequins the better) and we also weren’t afraid to make ourselves look like upside down triangles with the help of HUGE shoulder pads.

The 80s were bright, bold, vibrant and like nothing fashion had ever seen before. Personally, I LOVE 80s fashion- I think it’s absolutely iconic, but I’ll admit that there were a few fashion crazes which make me look back and think WTF was that all about?! 

You’ve got to give it to us- we had balls to go out in a high-rise leotard and neon leggings…

1) Shoulder pads

The decade’s most prominent silhouette was the one that turned your body into a very flattering, feminine upside-down triangle. Add a couple GIANT earrings and an oversized belt, and you’ve got yourself an office power suit.

2) Sweat bands

Perhaps one of the 80s most instantly recognisable fashion statements- the sweatband. The brighter the better and they were commonly worn right across our foreheads. We know it was a pretty hectic, manic decade, but were sweat bands really that necessary?!

3) Members Only Jackets

Members Only jackets: even cooler if worn in trios. Wear one of these babies teamed with a pair of sunglasses for your night out and you’d be guaranteed to make the girls swoon. (well, that was the aim anyway)

4) Acid washed denim

If you say you didn’t have at least 4 pairs of acid washed denim jeans in your closet, then you’re a liar. How many of us sanded our jeans or washed them with bleach to recreate this gorgeous style? This trend applied to absolutely anything denim: jeans, shorts, jackets. The general rule was to wear them all at the same time- an acid wash dream from head-to-toe.

5) Leg Warmers

Dressing like a dancer felt perfectly normal at the time, but now you look back at photos and wonder why you ever deemed it acceptable to wear so much banana yellow and Pepto pink. We blame Dirty Dancing.

6) Iron-On Patches

So cool. Grab your favourite acid-washed denim jacket and start ironing on ‘Vanilla Ice’ patches- that’s sure to turn some heads.

7) Fanny packs

’80s logic: Why keep your purse hung on your shoulder or held in your hand when you can simply wrap it around your waist? The fanny pack has came back into trend recently for ‘festival’ wear. You can’t deny how hideous they are, but you have to admit- they are pretty freakin’ handy.

8) The mullet

Every man alive sported this classic “business in the front, party in the back” 80’s hairstyle. It was long and messy down the neck, but clean cut and smart up front. Is anyone else extremely glad that this hasn’t creeped it’s way back into fashion?

9) The perm

Does anything scream 80’s more than a huge perm? Hair wasn’t just big in the ’80s, it was enormous!

10) Neon

Don’t get us wrong- everyone loves a splash of color, but the 80s really took the cake. Glowing in the dark isn’t exactly everybody’s idea of fashion. Though if you’re going to do it, you might as well go all out and wear it head-to-toe!

11) Big plastic earrings

Matching your neon leotard to your neon earrings was all the rage in the 80s. Paired with feathered bangs, this was the quintessential ’80s beauty look for teens. So elegant.

12) Parachute Pants

We blame MC Hammer. Sure, he made these look extra-comfortable and super cool, but if you’re an international 80s star on stage, a crotch that sagged all the way to your shins was probably not the way to go. Hindsight is such a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

13) Geometric Patterned Shirts

We told you we were confident. Guys were definitely not exempt from wacky clothing- so many men in the 80s were guilty of wearing these crazy, geometric patterned shirts.

14) Tulle Appliques

If you’re a ballerina, feel free to wear all the tulle you like. However, it is a dangerous thing to add to a random outfit- so of course we did it anyway in the 80s. It had the power to turn a beautiful dress into a craft store monstrosity. What was wrong with us?!

15) Popped Collars

You can thank bad boy Judd Nelson from The Breakfast Club for this one. Every girl had a crush on him and every guy wanted to be him. His popped collar was part of his signature look.

16) Sweaters draped over your shoulders

Want to instantly look like you’re the smug jerk in an ’80s movie? Simply tie a bright sweater around your shoulders (and feather your bangs for good measure)

17) Shell suits

Tracksuits could be spotted everywhere in the 80s, except the gym. Trendy and super comfortable, tracksuits slowly wormed their way into schoolyards and suburban streets until even our parents were wearing them to the grocery store or the office. Classy!

18) The Scrunchie

The ’80s were all over the scrunchie. This sparkly fashion faux-pas could be found in every colour imaginable, from neon green to lavender. They’ve recently made their way back to the high street, and to be honest- we could not be happier.

19) Bright make-up

Fan of the natural look? You wouldn’t have survived a day in the 80s. Make-up’s motto in the 80s was ‘the more the merrier’. Blue mascara? Check. Pink eyeshadow right up to the brow bone? Check. Heaps of purple blush? Check.

20) T-shirt clips

It’s not like any ’80s accessory served much of a purpose, but a T-shirt clip? That’s just totally weird and random. This hopefully won’t be making a comeback any time soon.


What do you think is the most embarrassing fashion craze from the 80s? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to share this with your friends!