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The 1980s in fashion are back (again)!

The shrill, colorful and loud 1980s: What a crazy time! Editor Lea Becker takes a look at the fashion of the 1980s and finds that much of it is part of our current fashion reality again. Find out more about Hairbands & Scrunchies, Leggings and Oversize Blazers in sisterMAG.

The 1980s are back (again)!

The style sins of the past are now the style statements of the present

The 1980s: Loud, gaudy, and shrill; like a clown on LSD. Michael Jackson and Madonna became style icons, Jane Fonda our fitness queen and androgynous Boy George, cult. The 1980s were like one nonstop party yet can also be argued to be the era of bad fashion taste. In all honesty, no-one ever really missed the trends of the 1980s. Or so we thought. As the latest catwalk shows prove, Post ’80s women and girls still want to have fun, and yes, even fashion-editors can get it wrong. The 1980s are well and truly back!

Starting with the velvet scrunchie and ending with tennis socks, your mothers’ closet relicts are now celebrating their biggest comeback. But before you panic and run for the hills, there is one consolation. Fashion designers have avoided simple reproductions of the original and have recreated designs in modern-day fabrics (bye-bye cheapo satin), casual cuts and toned down colours. There is less rave and more rara. Autumn/Winter 2020 is coming into age — minimalist, cool chic and elegant. Clothes for your everyday rockstar and not a one-hit wonder. And the best thing about it is, that anyone can be part of the revival. Just pick out your favourite retro pieces and combine them with your usual outfit, to become the ultimate trendsetter. We have come up with some inspirational ideas on how you can turn a once ridiculed fashion faux pas into a fresh and contemporary look.

Neon – Less is more

Neon is unmistakably 1980s; there is no denying it. Numerous designer labels such as Marni, Balenciaga, Valentino, Oscar de la Renta or Tom Ford have made great use of the omnipresent highlighter-pen shades, including bilious green, bright orange, magenta and neon yellow. Fancy a trouser suit in shocking pink, an ankle-length dress in glowing orange or a cascade of neon accessories from head to toe? It’s all possible, and the perfect antidote to drab autumn days. Another tip: Combine your style with denim, black or hues of grey and turn yourself into the coolest kid on the block.

Hairbands and Scrunchies

Hair accessories were all the rage in 2019, and this year is no exception. Who can resist the opportunity to spice up their crowning glory with clips, bands and bobbles and not have to worry if it makes you look fat. So, in keeping up with this hairy phenomenon, the 1980s scrunchie was reborn. Remember the »Sex and the City« episode? Scrunchies are hair-bobbles enveloped in all manner of voluminous material such as velvet, silk or chiffon. They are not only stylishly extravagant but also prevent hair breakage. The choices and styles are endless. Elegant in black velvet ala Julia Roberts in »Pretty Woman«, casual in blue denim, daring in animal print or polka dots or unavoidable in neon. Style your hair into a half-bun, ponytail, crimped or curled; it doesn’t matter. The reinvented scrunchie will accessorise any coiff completely.


Thanks to films like »Flashdance«, »Dirty Dancing« and »Footloose«, leggings were never far from the catwalk. A popular teeny combo includes an oversized cropped motto sweater and finished off with tennis socks in Adidas sandals. Not to your taste? We get it. The grownup version wears the same oversized sweater (with or without the motto), black leggings, sockless sneakers, an XL coat and a matching wooly hat. Overall, a casual and sporty look suitable for a visit to the supermarket, city shopping trips or dropping the kids off at school.


Denim is fashions’ eternal evergreen. Ultra skinny jeans have been replaced by wider legs, relaxed cuts and most importantly, room to breathe. Perfect examples of these 1980s favourites are Marlene trousers, elasticated waists and the mega hip mom-jeans (high waist, generous hip and thigh cut). Not always flattering, but comfortable and practical, nonetheless. And not forgetting, no mom-jean would be complete without a frilly blouse, a motto shirt or a cropped pullover. A sharp blazer and high heels add a touch of chic for a night out, but sneakers or edgy platform boots with a heavy-duty sole are great for during the day.


Gold and silver threads were interwoven in all manner of ’80s clothing from coats, pullovers, tops, skirts, tights and even socks. No Lurex meant »no life« for trendsetters in the 1980s. Fast forward to the 2020s and Lurex can be seen in patterned tights that team up wonderfully with your »little black number« and display those pins perfectly. Our tip? A black leather dress, Lurex tights and ladylike booties with a kitten heel. Then get your bling on with jewellery galore and you are all set up for the next party season.

Oversize Blazer

It’s no surprise that the XL blazer is an essential and multi-talented piece to own this year. A masculine cut in the style of a classic man’s jacket, this piece is still easily combined with a girly frock, jeans or a fitted full-length dress. Suit-able (get it?) for everything from business to brunch.

White-Frilly Blouse

Romance in the 1980s? Definitely! Think Boy George and the »New Romantic« subculture. Yes, his style was somewhat extravagant for a walk in the park, but with a few tweaks here and there, the white-frilly blouse has the potential to become a firm favourite. How to combine? With mom-jeans, a leather knee-length skirt, an oversized blazer or a cool trouser suit.

Puffy Sleeves

»We need volumne!« That was how most people saw the sleeve situation in the 1980s. Puffy and balloon sleeves were en vogue and, dare we say it, not always sexy. But what the heck, for the sake of style! The same goes for puff in the 2020s, and yet it’s still a difficult choice! Should it be the blouse, sweater or dress with the sleeve-extravagance? Accentuate your billowing blouse with a simple pair of tailored trousers and the dramatic contrast will be sure to turn heads.

Shoulder Pads

There was something to be said about those infamous protruding shoulders in about 100% of jackets, coats, blazers and dresses during the 1980s. Feminine fashion with a masculine touch is not new. The recent boyfriend-look is a prime example, just minus the shoulder pads — until now. As 2020 shoulders grow wider, you don’t even need a brand-new wardrobe to set this trend. Just grab a pair of removable shoulder pads and sew them on to your bra-straps. And voila — you can do the robot with revived ’80s shoulders.


Women who prefer the comfort of sneakers to sky-high Joan Collins heels will be happy to hear that the preferred shoe of comfort is back this year and next. Your money is well-spent if you stick to the high-top cult models such as Adidas Superstar and Nike Mid 77 Vintage. Combine with a black leather dress and you are ready to go.

Belt Pouch

What better way to make sure you can hold two cocktails at a party than the practical and dinky belt pouch. There will be no more lipsticks vanishing into the land of the lost and lumpy handbag. There is enough room for your essentials and no sign of neck or shoulder strain. And don’t assume that these bags are for the youngsters only. Beautiful examples can be found from renowned brands in an array of high-quality materials, including vegan.


Why be drab when you can be fab? Hello 1980s jewellery! Whichever body part could be decorated with bling; it was decorated. Golden link chains, which the US hip-hop scene made popular, were just as loved as large creoles. Funny enough, both luxury brands and fast-fashion retailers have taken to this trend right now. So, you can have the pick of both quality and fun, so why not both?

Yes, history does repeat itself and the 1980s version in 2020-21 is definitely still having fun. And it is, so, so worth it!