10 WORST 80s Fashion Disasters

Written by Eleanor | 06/07/2016



The 1980s saw huge changes for Britain, Europe and the rest of the world. The Cold War was in full swing, the Berlin Wall came down towards the end of the decade and Michael Jackson was taking the music industry by storm. But perhaps one of the most notable things about the 80s was the fashion, and the wonderful and ridiculous trends it brought it with. At Mainline Menswear, we’ve had a look through the history books and have brought you the ten WORST fashion trends of the 1980s.

  1. Hairstyles. Whether it was a perm, a rattail or a full-on mullet, the 80s wasn’t lacking for stupid hairstyles. Everyone had one, and everyone looked ridiculous. The only benefit is now we can look back through family photo-albums and laugh at how stupid your Uncle Chris looked with his six-inch mullet.
  2. Fringe. Fringe managed to find its way onto everything in the 80s. Jeans, tshirts, jackets, you name it, you could find it with added fringe. Men could raise up their arms displaying fringe sometimes reaching nearly a foot in length dangling from their jacket sleeves – whether this fashion trend was taken from birds, or whether the manufacturers just had a bit of extra material left over, either way, you wouldn’t be caught dead in it now.
  3. Acid wash jeans. If fringe wasn’t bad enough on your denim jacket you could also have it in acid wash. Just in case you didn’t already stand out enough.
  4. Neon. Everything was available in neon. Jackets, shirts, trousers. Take your pick – you could have it in neon. On the plus side, at least it made people more visible when they were crossing the street.
  5. Parachute pants. These broke into fashion along with breakdancing as the material stood the test of time and didn’t rip or tear. Unfortunately – or fortunately – the test of time only lasted about two years, as parachute pants went out of fashion almost as quickly as they went in.
  6. Shoulder pads. Designed to give the look of broader shoulders, jackets with shoulder pads swept the nation in the 80s. Unfortunately for the wearers, the illusion of broader shoulders was quickly destroyed if anyone brushed up against you and felt the plushy layers of fabric you were hiding.
  7. Full body tracksuits. Tracksuits were a massive trend in the 1980s, and if you didn’t have matching top and bottoms then you simply weren’t stylish. Originally designed for sport, full body tracksuits quickly took hold of the fashion industry and became a staple item for men and women alike.
  8. Velour. These tracksuits were more often than not available in velour. A fabric similar to velvet which you’re now more likely to find on your grandmothers curtains than in your wardrobe, but even still – a huge fashion trend in the 80s golden years.
  9. Fanny packs. Bum bags. Whatever you want to call them, you can guarantee that at least one person you knew had one. But why? Pockets were a lot bigger back then, so there was no shortage of space for carrying your belongings around. Maybe, like many more of the 80s fashion trends, people just thought they looked good.
  10. Keyboard neckties. Possibly something that came into fashion as a gag gift somehow managed to take off as a signature accessory. We don’t know how but the keyboard tie was definitely one of the biggest 80s hits.



So there you have it. The 80s were full of horrible fashion disasters – looking back we can hardly believe we wore some of those things. What’s perhaps even more shocking, is that in 30-40 years’ time people will probably be writing similar articles about what we wear now! Better just enjoy being fashionable while it lasts…

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