7 Mar

1980s fashion history is memorable and quite distinctive. A variety of fashion looks ran parallel to each other in the 1980s. Women of this era began to feel they that really could at last choose from one of the many contrasting looks available. The fashion look that was the most powerful over the decade was the wide shoulder.   Fashion history reveals that the 80s fashion look was a tailored look. It was hard to go anywhere without at least a jacket, but preferably a complete suit. This was influenced by several movements including media influence on 1980s fashion through the popularity of TV dramas like ‘Dynasty’ and ‘Dallas’. Costume dramas brought fashion into real everyday eighties life.

Corporate business suit dressing, Margaret Thatcher in tailored evening suits, Yuppies and the copying of styles worn by  Diana princess of Wales, all contributed to stamping the period with a style that now seems to shriek vulgarity quite simply because Laver’s law is operating.

Power dressing,  New Romantics, stretch dressing and sportswear all lent a significant feeling that a woman could be anybody she chose to be.

These four looks are influence in the fashion and costume history of the 1980s.

Influence of Television Soap Series ‘Dynasty’ and ‘Dallas’

‘Dynasty’ the 1980s television fantasy soap series promoted fashions which enlarged the shoulder. One of the main characters was played by the naturally broad shouldered film star Linda Evans.


The ultimate fashion list

  • Acid wash jean

  • Shoulder pads

  • Legs warmer

  • Mini skirt

  • Fingerless glove

  • Huge earrings

  • Parachute pants

  • Members Only Jacket

  • Jelly shoes


Yuppie was a 1980s acronym for ‘Young Upwardly Mobile Professional Person’.

The book is called The Yuppie Handbook: The State-of-the-Art Manual for Young Urban Professionals.The handbook includes sections like: Yuppie: A Dictionary Definition; Yuppie Role Models; Some Essential Vocabulary Words; Yup and Away: A Yuppie Vacation Guide; What Shall We Name the Baby Yuppie?; Yuppie Backlash: A Case Study.

The fashion icon in 80’s

Princess Diana

As the 1980s progressed she gained confidence in her own fashion style and became more and more elegant as she began to understand what suited her.  Diana became an icon in fashion history.

Diana started to wear clothes by international designers of her own choice including Versace, Christian Lacroix, Ungaro and Chanel. Within 5 years of her engagement she had developed the Dallas factor with big hair, big shoulder pads and big name glitzy outfits. By the time of Diana’s death in 1997 she was a world renowned fashion icon with her place ensured in fashion history.

Diana in the puff sleeves that mark the big shouldered evening fashion look of the 1980s.



The pop icon was discovered and elevated to her most popular days in the 1980’s.  Her style was the most copied and sought after look. After all, Madonna was omnipresent in 80s culture, appearing on TV in many music videos, on the big screen in movies, on cassettes in every home and car, and in concert.  One was her most iconic looks from the 80s was the wavy hair with highlights.She started the layered look, with shirts and coats and more shirts. A lace shirt was often worn over another shirt. Or a sweatshirt with an oversized neck or cut off sleeves was worn over a smaller shirt or bra.


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