1980s Clothes

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Characteristic 1980 clothing and Trends

There are many items and fashions that characterize 1980 clothing. Some of them still remain, others have worked as influences to new trends and many have disappeared but are still classics of the time we like to remember.

Some of the most distinguishing items of 1980 clothing are gloves. Gloves disappeared in the 60's when the swinging movement and the hippies revealed against the established fashions that were so characteristic of the 50's. In the 50’s, gloves were worn by every woman. In fact gloves were a very important accessory that completed a woman’s outfit. They were a symbol of elegancy and tidiness. After 30 years without gloves, they reappeared in the 80’s as a symbol of youth and coolness. This time gloves had nothing to do with elegancy and tidiness, but with pop music and fun. They were still an old-fashioned garment that was completely different from the fashion of the time. Gloves looked so strange that they came into fashion again immediately. To wear something that looked old-fashionable and that did not match? No adult could understand that fashion, and that felt great. There were different gloves models: fishnet gloves, fingerless gloves, and different fabric gloves. They were used by both men and women, no matter the type of fabric. Everyone who wore gloves would look cool.

It was Madonna the one that popularized gloves and made them an important item of the 1980 clothing. She was so cool, energetic and free to express herself that every girl in the world wanted to be just like her. She could have worn a clown outfit and it would have come into fashion immediately. She put lacy gloves into fashion. These types of gloves were extremely sexy and original. But Madonna also came up with the famous fingerless gloves. Her inventions made a great contribution to the 1980 clothing and this is why she is today considered a diva and a fashion icon. She also invented other trends such as, lace tops, fishnet stockings, heavy jewelry and chains with the Christian cross and a Marilyn Monroe hairstyle. Many female artists find inspiration in her looks, such as Britney Spears, Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera.

Wide shoulder pads were important accessories that were characteristic of 1980 clothing fashion. It is said that this fashion emerged as a way for women to convey their power. Women in the 80's were part of the working class and had to show that they were as powerful and essential to an enterprise as men can be. For this reason they widened their shoulder to resemble a man’s back. This new 1980 clothing fashion was called “Power Dressing”. Many women at the White House and the Parliament of England wore wide shoulder pads and helped this fashion expand all around the world. Shoulder pads got to be so fashionable that everybody wore them at night clubs and as everyday wear.

Because shoulder pads made people’s backs look wider, hairdos had to be bigger too so that your head didn’t look small. Wild and voluminous hairstyles were in vogue for both men and women. Spray and mouse consumption increased drastically as this fashion evolved into more sophisticated hairdos.

With the appearance of MTV in 1981, many pop music bands gained great popularity all around the world. Video clips showed a lot of people dancing and wearing cool 1980 clothing that were comfortable for dancing, such as tights and legwarmers. The young generation wanted to be just like their idols on television, and soon the dancewear fashion was in vogue. Soon women appeared with mini skits, shiny stockings, legwarmers and high-heeled shoes. Other items of 1980 clothing that came into fashion were hair and waist bands. Although these were gym and dance wear, they soon became items of everyday and night wear.

In the 80’s, hoop earrings became the perfect accessory for 1980 clothing. Both men and women were seen wearing big, shiny hoop earrings everywhere. Jewelry was supposed to be heavy and exaggerated, and for this reason, young boys and girls wore these earrings with lots of chains that sometimes bore a Christ crucifix.

The way women wore make up was also different in the 80’s. In the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, make up trends were completely different. In 50's, women wore heavy lip stick, generally dark red, and used eye pencil to accentuate the shape of the eyes and make them look much more feminine. The eyebrows were thin to make the whole face look doll-like. In the 60’s, eyebrows got thinner, and make-up got lighter. After feminist movements, make up consumption decreased and the aim was to accentuate women’s natural features. However, at the beginning of the decade, before the hippies and feminists, eye make up was very heavy. Women only accentuated their eyes and, most of the time, wore false eyelashes. During the 70’s, most women wore no make up just as at the end of the 60's. But the 1980 clothing and fashion was about going against what was established. Women wore great quantities of make up in the 80s’. The idea was to emphasize everything: mouth, eyes, cheeks, eyebrows. Everything was exaggerated: the size of the mouth, the shape of the eyes and the thickness of the eyebrows. If you happen to see any picture of Madonna in the 80’s, you’ll see a clear example of this trend.

Leather jackets were also a hit in the 80’s and one of the most representative items of 1980 clothing. It was probably Michael Jackson the one who implemented this fashion. As soon as his video clips appeared on MTV, every young girl and boy wanted to wear the same leather jackets he wore everyday. Women wore feminine mini skirts with wide leather jackets, a lot of make up, and a wild and voluminous hairdo. Men wore tight pants and wide leather jackets too. Most of them wore an earring on one ear to complete the look.

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