How Did Teenagers Dress in the 80s?

It is often said that the 1980s were a time of crazy fashion when fashion icons like Madonna and Jennifer Beal’s character in Flashdance reigned supreme.

A precipice was also reached during this decade by more elevated fashion by designers such as Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, and Giorgio Armani.

The casual, “street” style of these designers made them popular.

How Did Teenagers Dress in the 80s?

In the 1980s, several fashion trends became popular, including:

  • Jean jackets, stonewashed clothing, and oversized clothing are more casual clothes.
  • The importance of bright, neon clothing was also paramount
  • Accessorize with jelly shoes, bracelets, and other jelly-inspired clothing
  • Clothing for working out, such as sports bras, jumpers, and trainers
  • Wearing leggings
  • Padding for the shoulders
  • Jackets made of bomber material
  • Sneakers made of white

Casual Styles

With more relaxed denim being worn by designers on runways and in stores, denim became more popular. The denim jean jacket became the quintessential accessory of the decade, and many teens found it to be comfortable and weather-friendly.

More styles of stonewashed denim blends became available, such as the relaxed boyfriend fit that grew in popularity over the decade. During the 1980s, teens also started wearing faded or ripped denim blues.

These styles, however, were made by hand rather than bought from a store, as opposed to earlier decades. It was common for teens to scuff up their jeans with razor blades.

Neon Colors

As big and bright as possible was one of the biggest color trends of the decade. It was not only popular to dye one’s hair neon colors like purple, pink, and green! It was common to see plaid designs using these colors in clothing with a variety of patterns and colors.

As for jelly jewelry, which often came in bright colors, bright colors complemented other form styles of the decade.

What Did Girls Wear in the 80s?

In the 1980s, teenage girls’ fashion reached its peak. There was not only big hair and colorful makeup in the 80s, but also styles for girls.

Jelly Styles

There was a time when jelly was popular because it was transparent and plastic. In addition to thick bracelets and bubbly necklaces, the style was known for its shoe stylings. Women’s jelly shoes often had a flat bottom and supported the arc of their feet. 

To accommodate other 1980s trends, it was often available in bright neon colors.

Workout Clothes

What teenagers wore in the 80s can be largely attributed to the movie Flashdance if you’re wondering how they dressed. Throughout the film, the main character works out frequently.

As a result, her style became a marker for teens of the time. For teens, oversized sweaters with the neck stretched out so that it only fit on one shoulder, legwarmers, wristbands, cotton workout headbands, and spandex became acceptable styles. 

The outfit was completed with tight leggings and sneakers.


Do you remember those tight and colored tights teens wore under just-too-short dresses in the 2000s? Leggings were first introduced as part of popular clothing in the 1980s.

Wearing leggings as pants and accessorizing them with strong jewelry choices was acceptable in bright colors.

Leggings and bold, curly hair were popular styles among teens in the 1980s.

Shoulder Pads

Even though we may now disdain shoulder pads, they were popular in many silhouettes at the time. Boxy styles were developed thanks to the padding, which complemented other trends like jean jackets and sweaters that showed off the shoulders.

Teenagers might wear it to work, then wear it out with friends when they get home, as well as in more formal work ensembles.

80s Teen Boy Fashions

In addition to their love for denim and neon, boys also had their own distinctive style. There were not only t-shirts that reigned supreme, but jackets and sneakers as well.

Bomber Jackets

In the 80s, a Bomber jacket over a white t-shirt was a must-have. Would it be possible to get any more Top Gun? They might wear a leather jacket or windbreaker if they weren’t wearing a bomber jacket. You could also wear sweaters if you wanted to look slightly preppy.


It’s important to make a statement with your sneakers. Whether they were high tops or low tops, white was the color of choice for teen boys in the 80s. Put these on with stonewashed, pegged jeans and you’re ready to go. Converse are always a good choice.

White Suit

If you were a fan of Miami Vice, you couldn’t go wrong with a white suit like Crockett’s. You were a hit when you paired this with a bright shirt and slamming shades. But the look wouldn’t be complete without loafers. Many 80s boys wore this look, whether they were preppy or just too cool for school.

80s Teen Fashion

Fashion changes as time passes. There are always going to be new styles. It is very common for fads to rise and then die very quickly. Numerous fads dominated the 1980s, but those fads have continued to influence our fashion lexicon as a part of the decade.

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