With the American economy booming and the culture wars finally dying down, the 1980s brought with it a brash, and often gaudy, new style. A renewed focus on professional success, physical appearance, and material excess created more demand for business wear and athletic attire.

The costumes of “Miami Vice” stars Philip Michael Thomas and Don Johnson—pastel shirts paired with tailored, shoulder-padded suits in white, silver, or grey—epitomized the era’s glitz as envisioned by designers like Armani, Calvin Klein, Versace, and Hugo Boss.

Some of the flashier teen trends of the '80s included acid-washed denim, slouchy MC Hammer pants, neon-colored garments, and fanny packs. Meanwhile, more conservative gentlemen were wearing boat shoes, cuffed khakis, polo shirts, and sweater vests.

On the runways, postmodern designers like Jean Paul Gaultier and Alexander McQueen created daring androgynous menswear, while Vivienne Westwood launched the Neo-Romantic vision with her 1981 “Pirate” collection, which inspired the dramatic outfits of celebrities like Adam Ant, Boy George, and Prince.

For those unable to pull off such flamboyant looks, original concert tees professed loyalty to your favorite bands, be they hair metal or New Wave. The hip-hop scene also developed its own street style, which embraced heavy gold jewelry paired with high-top shoes, track suits, and nylon jackets by sportswear brands like Adidas, Reebok, Starter, and Nike, which gave the world Air Jordans.


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