The ’80s Called, They Want Their Fashion Back: 40+ Examples Of ’80s Fashion Faux Pas

By Joyce S

Fashion is much more than what meets the eye. Sometimes, fashion is used to send a message. For example, behind Lizzo’s classic black dress that she wore to the 2020 Billboard Music Awards, there was a resounding message to American society: Vote! Department stores are packed with feminist-themed tees and rainbow accessories. They are more than just colorful or trendy clothing; they represent the social shifts societies go through every couple of decades.

Think of fashion trends as a Ferris wheel, there are its ups and downs, but it never stops spinning, and as it goes round and round, we gaze at the pretty shapes and colors, and laugh at some questionable elements, too.

TV shows and films also dictate fashion looks. Stranger Things is a big hit and brought back tons of cute ’80s trends. However, some of the stylish ’80s vibes should’ve stayed back in the ’80s. Take a look at some of the worst of these comeback trends.

Wedded Bliss

This is the kind of memory that can be either cherished for years or can bring loads of regrets for several reasons. Let’s imagine this couple is still living happily ever after since they said: “I do.” The mullets are here, and they’re proud of them.

Image courtesy of mctenold / reddit

But the combination of the classic pairs of wayfarer shades, the fitted and elegant smocking and wedding gown, along with the dashing bride’s veil stamp the “this is a hardcore 1980s photo alright” on it. Pick up some of your parent’s wedding photos and see how funky they were as well.

Too Cool

School can be tough on kids, and school kids can be the worst sometimes. But we all know that school time is when we start to understand what we like and don’t like fashion-wise. This kiddo here knew exactly what he liked.

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He feels so comfortable in his own skin. The shades, the headband, the jacket, the gloves, and his moves prove that he was feeling at his best and wasn’t afraid to show it. However, that doesn’t mean that you should rush to your closet and put all these clothing items together.

Wild Nights

As we grow older, we normalize the image of our parents as people who were always parents, but remember, there’s a lot more than what meets the eye. This gorgeous mom in the photo is having a great time with her fair hair and blue leather strapless top. 

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Photo albums are great for revisiting memories and also for noticing how much we didn’t care back then. Take a look at the guy behind her. He’s having the time of his life next to her, but they don’t know each other.


For as long as we can remember, parents have taken pride in their choice of dressing twins in similar clothes. As kids, it looks cute and confusing, and as adults, only confusing. These two girls look happy with their outfit choices, though.

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But it’d be nice if they tried to wear different clothes in order to highlight their individuality and unique personality. You don’t have to look exactly like your sibling just because you’re twins. This trend is long gone, or at least, it should be.


Some call it mushroom hair; others prefer to say bowl cut. Regardless of the name and food-related references, this haircut was a bodacious trend among kids in the 1980s, and they wore it with pride. Also, it was an eclectic hairstyle that fitted various personality types.

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Look how bubbly this kid looks in the picture. She probably just had her hair done and seemed to be over the moon with it. What she probably didn’t know was that her classmates would keep calling her “mushroom.” But she was a tough kid, though. 

Paint By Numbers

The ’80s saw artists like Jane Fonda releasing her workout routine, and it spread across the US for ladies at home to get healthier and more physically active. The bodysuits and underwear over tight and colorful pants and the fluffy workout headband made history on TV.

Image courtesy of EMS 80s Aerobics? / facebook

But the reason why the splashed paint over all of that became trendy, we just don’t know. Bright colors were the go-to coloring scheme at that time, and the gym girls in this pic didn’t disappoint. Just be careful when choosing your fitness clothing, please.

Hairsprayed Happiness

This is a great example of fashion trends that became stronger as TV became popular among kids. MTV in 1981 and VH1 in 1985 revolutionized pop culture from head to toe, and one of the effects of this change is this picture right here.

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The amount of hairspray used on these girls’ hair must have been out of proportion, and it’s likely still floating on the ozone layer. But look at their little faces; they glow with happiness. It’s just better to be safe than sorry today and avoid this look unless you’re going to a costume party.

Goth Girl

Bands like The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Joy Division represented the sad young goth kids for years. It wasn’t only their songs but also their style that printed the face and wardrobe of a generation. The black hair, pale face, and red lips were huge at that time.

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Once again, it feels like the goth-spiky hair is making its way back when we see artists like Yungblud and Måneskin performing. The Gen-Z might think they invented the style and goth/emo appeal, but it’s been here for much longer than them.

Triangle Tragedy

The triangle haircut brings mixed feelings to a lot of people. Whitney Houston rocked her triangle hair in her unforgettable performances and looked great while doing it. But this is not a haircut for everyone. Give it some thought before trying it.

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It’s risky to ask for a triangle haircut, so we advise you to consult with a hairstylist beforehand. There’s a lot to consider, from the shape of your face to the clothing style you have. When in doubt about this rad hair, please, just avoid it.

Dancing Queen

This disco-inspired picture shows another ’80s trend that tried to have a fashionable comeback in Tik Tok times, but it seems like it got trapped in the world of memes only. This trend was the photo technique of including different poses of a subject that used to be a hit.

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It showed character and style in one picture. If you’ve been on social media long enough, you might have seen tons of memes of cats or dolls’ images overlapping each other, displaying a funny sentence. They were a bit creepy. That’s what happens when we try to bring stuff back that we shouldn’t.

Macaw Mayhem

Everything feels wrong in this picture, from the checkers’ pattern to the pants’ shape (or lack thereof). The neon green, pink, and blue are enough, but the icing on the cake is the macaw on this guy’s shoulder. Look at that!

Image courtesy of – LetsGoBackToWCW / twitter

It looks like an album cover of a pop music group. You ought to avoid such mixtures for your own sake. Softer colors are much better, especially when you plan to add more details and accessories (or colored birds) to your outfit.

Itty Bitty Shorts

The heartthrobs of today, Milo Ventimiglia and Paul Nescal, shake Instagram whenever they go out for a walk wearing their tiny and tight shorts. This is another look that, combined with the right clothing style and accessories, can make you look youthful and sexy.

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But, of course, there are some setbacks to consider. We encourage everyone to feel their best with what they wear, but extravagant pieces such as this teeny tiny pair of shorts should be avoided if you’re not sure what your style really is.

The Bigger The Hair…

Hairspray companies made bucketloads of money thanks to the flashy vibe of the ’80s. Boys and girls would spray their hair with hairspray until it got high as a mountain, and then they would pour some more just in case.

Image courtesy of MarilynDenisCTV / twitter

Hair volume was a testament to good taste and style. In today’s world, it wouldn’t look so great, though. Find other ways to give your hair the volume you always wanted and stay away from the tangled nightmare this picture shows.


The 1980s were the cradle of street art and self-expression after the flower power wave of the ’60s. Designers and stores experimented with textures, fabrics, color hues, and shapes quite a lot, sometimes way too much. This lace and leather jacket definitely checks the “way too much” box.

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The sweat, along with the itchy skin resulting from the combination of the leather holding temperature and body fluids inside and the crispy texture of the lace, is just a nightmare you don’t want to have when going out with friends.

Rock On

Everything in pop culture connects with each other. The rise of the slasher movie genre combined with the power of huge metal bands like Metallica and Slayer gave birth to this dreadful trend. Metalheads in the ’80s shocked society with their style.

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From top to bottom, they’d be covered in hairspray, leather, chains, lots of makeup, and boots, regardless of the weather forecast. It was part of their identity to wear leather jackets even in the hottest season. Some kids are trying to bring this trend back, but we’re not sure they could handle it.

Just A Casual Outift

There’s an important sequence in the TV show Euphoria that shows Sydney Sweeney’s Cassie getting up at 4 a.m. to get ready for school. It looks insane, but it’s not as unusual as you might think. Take this girl’s picture, for instance.

Image courtesy of boomearlier / reddit

An internet user shared his mom’s picture back when she was a high schooler and just look at her outfit. It’s priceless. The amount of makeup and hairspray and the heavy clothing, everything just to get to school to show their cool side.

80’s Batman

Super-heroes t-shirts will never fade out as long as pop culture is alive and thriving, and, as we can see, the geek world has never been stronger. Comic-Con is a universe in itself and brings together fans from all over the planet. This Batman fan probably attended the event once or twice.

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He looks proud of his new Batman tee and his recently done gigantic mullet hair. He probably spent hours having his hair done. This is an unnecessary effort if you ask us. Grab your coolest super-hero t-shirts, but leave the mullet at home.

Slightly Dazed

And the ’80s photoshop strikes again. Kids today can’t fathom what life was like before they arrived, and a nice way to prove this theory is to watch their reaction as they’re told how photos used to be made back when their parents were kids.

Image courtesy of awkwardfamilyphotos / ig

The idea of going to a shop to have pictures taken and going back days later to pick them up is just hard to think of, especially when you consider this kind of photo with the person’s face overlapping itself, showing different expressions.

Photoshop Wars

Special effects in a non-digital era were hard to find and get done. The photographers of that time deserve our deepest respect for being able to come up with ideas such as this one here. This boy’s pic is one of those cases. 

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Everything in this picture is a mistake, but the kid looks so happy it makes us feel bad for pointing out the flaws in it. The background with his face fading, the sparks all over it, and his pose to show his nice moves, everything just baffled us.

Through The Decades

Every decade of the 20th century was represented by different hairstyles, and it seems unfair to compare or judge them all.. However, once you put things in perspective, it makes comparisons almost inevitable, and we do know which was NOT the best one.

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The romantic wavy hair of the ’40s and the sexy and empowering hairstyles of the ’50s and ’60s went all down the drain when the ’80s came up. The rebellious ways of the ’80s youngs made history with limitless creativity. Just don’t try this at home, ok.

Tie-Dye Rocker

Another dad that seems to have built a lot of memories back in the 1980s. His DIY tie-dye pants and baggy black jacket make one of the classic ’80s outfits. What he’s playing on that guitar, we don’t know, but he does look like he’s enjoying it.

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This outfit is making its way back into the fashion world as part of sportswear, and you’ll notice some celebs displaying their exclusive looks matching the baggy jacket with biker shorts as well. Maybe this is an ’80s trend that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Popstar In The Making

Kids love to copy their idols’ styles and vibes. The glamour of old photoshoots and the drama of love rock songs summarize this pic pretty well. Look at him; there is a Bon Jovi and John Stamos vibe there, for sure.

Image courtesy of DasCold

The serious expression and the mullet that never disappoint were funky trends then but would make any 16-year-old laugh out loud today. This trend had its prime in the ’80s and ’90s, and that was it. Let bygones be bygones, and don’t bring this trend back.

Not The Regular Dad

How cool is this picture, right? The kid’s face shows that he is in complete awe at his dad’s groovy looks and funny hair. It’s adorable to go over old childhood pictures and remember how the good ol’ days felt like.

Image courtesy of jailbird / reddit

What we don’t recommend is that you reproduce the hairstyle you see here. We can’t say for sure if it was a joke or if he was really into his look, but we most def don’t recommend you adopt his hair trend. 

Hair Diaries

Going through old photos is a good way to reconnect with who you used to be. Imagine the shock of this lady when she found this picture. She sure looks happy with her looks, and that’s awesome, but you can’t deny that there’s a lot going on in this pic.

Image courtesy of Mom2EandEm / reddit

Pyramid hair is one way to put it, but it also looks like a wig on top of her actual hair. We wonder what the inspiration for the haircut was. Perhaps the inspiration for the haircut was something ridiculous, or something went terribly wrong at the hair salon.

Designer Disaster

Some people put a lot of effort and money into buying designer clothes or accessories. Brands such as Chanel, Prada, Louboutin, Muggler, Louis Vuitton, and many others became part of the collective imagination of what a successful person should wear. 

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We know those design pieces are not for everyone considering their high prices, which makes people save some cash to buy that Chanel bag one day. This girl probably loved the moment she got herself this LV jacket. The smile on her face makes the purchase worth it.

Stars In Stripes

Fitness clothing was a big deal in the ’80s, not only to go to the gym but also to run the errands of the day. Fitness clothes used to be printed with blazing neon-colored stripes. Maybe that was a bit too gaudy.

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We aren’t sure if it’s the colors or the vertical stripes, but it’s clear that something went wrong with these girls’ wardrobes. Their clothes are almost exactly the same, and there’s no need for that. If you’re going to wear leggings with such bright colors, pick something less glaring to wear them with.

Happy Perming

Perms were another trademark of the ’80s. This trend was highly sought by men and women of all ages. From A-list celebrities to the average primary school teacher, perms were as much part of everyday self-care as choosing what clothes to wear.

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But let’s be honest; it’s not for everyone. The time and effort put into having their hair curled to have a fun night out would waste away at the slightest sign of rain or humidity. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. No wonder this trend faded away after a while. 

Take A Pic

Photo booths and studios were in high demand back in the 1980s, and those who would have their shots taken by a professional photographer took preparation seriously. Photoshoots were a special occasion, so preparation was key in order to get good photos.

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That was a huge moment for young people back then, and they were really committed. This guy’s photo has got it all: the flag showing American pride, the musical instrument; after all, he’s a dedicated soon-to-be artist. Hey also has a serious face because he knows his pic will live to posterity.

Suns Out, Tums Out

Looking at how cool this guy looks, it seems like a regular day for him to water the garden on a bright sunny day, rocking his well-thought-out outfit. We can start by throwing away all the notions of proportions we have in today’s fashion.

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Actually, looking closely at kids today, the crop top, tiny shorts, and high socks are back in vogue. But let’s consider that this look was the go-to wardrobe choice for leisure time in the ’80s for both women and men. What a time!

Heart Over Head

It’s really nice to look back and observe all the changes fashion and lifestyle went through. The rebelliousness of artists breaking the mold of the status quo made way for impressive ways of expressing oneself. This boy here knew how to express his individuality.

Image courtesy of Super_Tikiguy / reddit

Not everyone can say they rocked a heart-shaped haircut, but this guy can. We don’t know if it was a prank or a joke or if this is what he was aiming at. What we do know is that he most definitely stands out among the other kids. 

Sweaty Fashions

We’re not sure what kind of exercises this lady was planning to do, but it seems obvious that she has too many layers on her. Working out should be a moment to release energy and sweat and renew our strength and physical resistance. She’s about to do the exact opposite.

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Any sweat that comes out of her body will be trapped inside her heavy clothes. Maybe the weather wasn’t so friendly for her that day. Either way, next time you go out for a run, pick some light clothing and feel the breeze on your face.

Summertime ‘Fits

Tiny shorts used to be must-haves for every man, woman, and child back in the ’80s. Monochromatic and minimalism were not even considered then, as we can see from this guy’s style. The pose was also super popular in those times.

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Nowadays, we see many elements from this pic coming back to life. We only advise that you choose your tiny shorts wisely and wear them at appropriate moments. Summer, of course, seems to be the perfect time to rock this colorful and minuscule pair of shorts.

Minimilism Who?

The hair, the glasses, the humongous belts, and the overwhelmingly colorful clothes. These outfits have got them all, and we wonder if they should. Once again, minimalism was not in vogue, and the full display of self-expression was the trendiest fashion decades ago.

Image courtesy of jimbeauphoto / flickr

We would suggest this: pick one. There’s no reason why you should go crazy and put on all these flashy clothes and accessories at once. Choose an area to highlight, for instance, a bright top or flowered bottom, and pick less extravagant pieces to complement your outfit.

Nesting Like Nicks

The great and incomparable Stevie Nicks is to blame when it comes to Volcano hair. The trend was already a hit, but Stevie’s popularity made it a huge deal among those with hair long enough to pull the hairstyle off.

Image courtesy of  deleted user / reddit

Rock bands, in general, are also to blame for this terrible trend. Imagine keeping up with hair care when you overload it with hairspray every day. The amount of shampoo and water you’d need to waste every time you take a shower is incomprehensible. 


Another blondie that was a hit back in the day was Barbie. Kids around the world dreamed of having Barbies and lots of changes of clothes for them. It was like a rite of passage for a lot of people, the time when they had their first Barbie and when they stopped playing with them.

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Sometimes, playtime with dolls would go too far, and kids would give their personal touch to the blond doll by giving them new haircuts. This picture shows one of these memories. This girl undusted some old boxes and found her Barbies matching mullet haircuts. She probably had a good laugh.


Sense of fashion moves around every single wardrobe. No matter how much you deny it, you have your own style, even if it’s the simplest one. Since fashion trends tend to move as a cycle, tiny shorts and crop tops are back by popular demand.

Image courtesy of TerryDonahue / ig

Lots of brands and department stores are also tuned with the spread of gender-neutral clothing, and we can say that the ’80s are also responsible for this shift in the status quo. Just make sure you come up with a neat combination of a crop top, mini shorts, and sneakers, and forget about the mullet hair.

Model Behavior

How sweet does she look in this sparkly, colorful jacket, star earrings, and hair so well done? Even though it looks a bit too old-fashioned for a little girl, her confidence is just impressive. The pose is another key element here. 

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Unfortunately, this is not something we’d suggest today. As time goes by, so does the sense of what’s fashion and what looks appropriate for the little ones, and her hair filled with hairspray doesn’t look like a wise choice for such an adorable girl.

Sweater Weather

This one goes out to the book lovers of the world. The ’80s and ’90s were delightful to those who enjoy a warm and fluffy sweater in cold and snowy seasons. Check this woman out and how satisfied she seems to be with her brand-new book-themed sweater.

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It’s a fun way to express your love for literature, but please, think twice before going out with this kind of sweater. We wouldn’t recommend it. This is definitely an ’80s trend that should stay in the ’80s. Don’t bring it back; we beg of you.


Before any harsh criticism, we have to remember these were different times, and as in life, fashion is flexible and an ongoing organism. That said, the twin-wearing-the-same-clothes trope was a valuable one in the 1980s, whether for kids or adults.

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The couples in the picture follow the trope and go far and beyond with the outfits. It’s not only a colorful mess but also an outrageous mix of fabrics, patterns, and textures. The designers probably thought of all the material they had and how they could mix everything up. Well, it was a mistake.


This kid gets the award for the cutest kid in this article. How precious does this kid look? Photoshoots back then were not as trivial as they are today. People didn’t have smartphones to take selfies whenever they felt like it.

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It used to be a day to remember in every sense of the sentence. Schools had special days to take students’ pictures for the yearbook or any other special occasion. This kid was dressed to impress, we’re sure of it, and the smile is the ultimate proof of that.

Streetstyle Goddess

Baggy clothes are trendy, regardless of the decade. This girl seems to be feeling her best in her streetstyle outfit, and, nowadays, almost every garment we see in this picture is worn by young people as well. There’s one exception, though.

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The denim skirt is just tragic. Combining this skirt, which doesn’t match anything at all, with the fancy boots, loose tee, and big earrings was a huge mistake. This skirt should never have seen the light of day, not in the ’80s, not ever. The rest of the outfit is awesome!

Fashion Baby

Take a look around your house and see if you can find old fashion magazines. The pictures will be just like this one. Fashion photoshoots and ads in the ’80s were mostly over the top and extreme in many ways.

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The stunning women portrayed in this pic look fierce and powerful in their ski outfits, and they should. Maybe the poses were a bit exaggerated from our point of view, but we have to remind ourselves that this was common when the photo was taken. Just try some other poses today.

He’s Been Framed!

She’s striking her cute pose here, but back in the day, posing for photos was a well-rehearsed exercise. From the fist on the chin to the elbow meeting the knee, the ’80s didn’t cease to disappoint when it comes to photos.

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This girl glows in her picture not only because of her outfit choice and pose but also due to her John Stamos picture that she shows off full of pride. The picture is well protected in a frame. We bet you’ve never framed a picture of your favorite artist.

Is It Christmas Yet?

Ugly and embarrassing sweaters are the highlight of the winter season in many countries. It’s a running joke welcomed by family and friends, especially during the Christmas season. However, we recommend this trend stays as it is: a fun joke.

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It’s not only a trend of the ’80s. It’s also common in our day and age. If you doubt us, Google the iconic Ryan Reynolds Christmas prank played by his friends, Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman. It’s a timeless photo.

Guess Who’s Back?

Business on the front, fun on the back. This could be the perfect Instagram caption for this guy’s look. Before you laugh at him, look around you and notice how many young people have adopted this look, although they probably shouldn’t have.

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It’s a mystery how mullets became such a hit between boys and girls back in the day, but we can’t deny that they are back and back for good, as it seems. It’s a haircut style that serves all types of hair, from coily hair to straight ones.