The 80's- What We Wore And What We Listened To

eighties fashions eighties musical genres

Tell me if this rings a bell. Parachute pants, layered t-shirts, cuffed pants, 50 pounds of bracelets, and of course the hair and make up. Yes I am talking about the eighties fashions. For those of you who were not around, ...I mean styles that were so very hot in the eighties today would likely put you in the funny camp. Of course many of the styles that were around were a direct result of a specific genre of musical styles ranging from pop to new wave to heavy metal. I will also include a youtube video for each genre of music that showcases the fashions and music of the time.

Clothing was probably the most interesting aspect of the peoples fashion sense of theat era. Parachute pants that ranged from colors in red through black. Many of the thousands of zippers on these pants were just for decoration, but a few actually contained pockets. Many people who wore these pants were of the new wave scene, as well as the beginnings of the goth look (in black). Other pants styles included colors of every possible sort from the vivids to the pastels. One need look no further than the clothing of Duran Duran or Howard Jones for this to become evident. Shirts were also unique in that every shirt tended to be very colorful. One of my own favorite shirts of the day (I shudder remembering this) was a half shirt sleeve that was predominately turquoise with orange sleeves and a tan triangular flap of fabric at the neck. Scarry huh?. Pants had a tendency to be rolled and tucked at the cuffs, with the cuffs being generally about an inch wide. Never mastered this art form my self but hey I tried. Womens clothing was more of a ruffled layered look. This was more of a subdued and more subtle aspect of the new romantics. This became more subdued as the decade wore on.

Hairstyles were altogether a different sort of beast. You had everything from shaved heads to gravity defying styles that might make one go airborn if a stiff wind came up. Again thinking of interesting hairstles look at Duran Duran or A Flock Of Seagulls. Of course many styles were somewhat more subdued but definately an edgy take such as Spandau Ballet or ABC. Of course in order to get some of these interesting styles one needed a case of ozone depleting hairspray on a weekly basis. Thankfully nobody went WHOOSH as they walked past an open flame. Multi colored hair was the rage way back then, more so than it is now. In the early eighties especially it was not unusual for a male or female to have hair that was red, white, blue, green, orange, pink, with polka dots all at the same time. For those of you who were not around, it was an exciting yet embaressing time. For those of you that were around don't deny you had the big colorful hair, I will admit sheepishly that I did. Mine was black and silver that went to my lower back. But that is another story.

Music was by far the most defining aspect of the eighties. This is the section in which I will include some music videos that incororates all the eighties had to offer from the music to the hair to the clothes. The music of the eighties was in my opinion the best music that was ever produced. I am not only saying that cause I was a teeneager during those years, but rather it was so full of interesting different music. It was beautiful, haunting, energetic, encouraging, loving, and hateful all at the same time. Every style of music today can be directly traced back to the styles of the eighties. It was the decade in which new sounds and ideas were being experimented with, evolving as they went, the musicians and us kids were a much more innocent and optimistic population. We saw the world with different eyes. We saw all that the world was capable of through the music. Lets briefly explore the top three genres of that weird interesting decade. It will be far easier to show you that try to detail all each genre encompasses.


Here is a video of Michael Jackson with his hit Beat It. This epitomizes the area of pop music for the eighties. As you can see it coveres music and fashion of the era. This style was extremely popular through the mid eighties. It started to wane after the stirrings of rap and hip hop.


Here is A Flock Of Seagulls with their biggest hit Space Age Love Song (my personal favorite) anyway this video is a great example of the interesting hairstyles of the eighties. Check out Mike Scores style, hes the lead singer.


This is Iron Maiden with their song Flight Of Icarus. This is typical example of the heavy metal sound of the eighties. notice the long hair, and leather everywhere. But hey, this is still my favorite band from that genre.

I know I have already mentioned Duran Duran a few times, but they were a unique band that made the rare cross over from new wave to pop at the same time, so I will classify them in their own catagory.

Here is Duran Duran with their first American hit Planet Earth. As we can see in this video it has it all clothes, hair, make-up, and music. they had it all.

As you can see the eighties were an interesting time in which to grow up.


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Sam Montana
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Sabir Hussain Shah
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Posted on May 15, 2011