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Throwback Trends: A Look Back at Men’s Fashion in the 80s

Throwback Trends: A Look Back at Men’s Fashion in the 80s

The 1980s were a decade marked by bold fashion choices, bright colors, and experimental styles. Men’s fashion during this time was no exception, with trends that continue to influence modern fashion today. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and explore some of the most iconic and enduring trends from the 80s.

The Rise of Preppy Style

One of the defining trends of men’s fashion in the 80s was the rise of preppy style. Inspired by Ivy League fashion, preppy style was characterized by clean-cut silhouettes, traditional patterns, and a classic color palette of blues, whites, and greens. Brands like Ralph Lauren and Brooks Brothers became synonymous with this timeless look.

  • Key elements of preppy style included:
  • Button-down shirts
  • Cable knit sweaters
  • Chino pants
  • Penny loafers

The Influence of Hip-Hop

Simultaneously, the 80s also saw the emergence of hip-hop culture, which had a significant impact on men’s fashion. Rappers like Run-D.M.C. and LL Cool J became style icons, popularizing streetwear brands like Adidas and Kangol hats. Baggy jeans, oversized graphic tees, and gold chains were all staples of the hip-hop fashion aesthetic.

  • Key elements of hip-hop fashion included:
  • Tracksuits
  • Bucket hats
  • Sneakers
  • Doorknocker earrings

The Power Suit Phenomenon

In contrast to the casual styles of preppy and hip-hop fashion, the 80s also saw the rise of the power suit. Popularized by corporate executives and Wall Street bankers, the power suit was a symbol of success and wealth. These suits were characterized by shoulder pads, pinstripes, and bold colors.

  • Key elements of the power suit included:
  • Double-breasted blazers
  • Pleated trousers
  • Silk ties
  • Wingtip shoes

Revival of Western Wear

Another trend that gained popularity in the 80s was western wear. Inspired by cowboy culture, western wear featured elements like cowboy boots, denim jackets, and bolo ties. Musicians like George Strait and actors like Clint Eastwood helped popularize this rugged and masculine look.

  • Key elements of western wear included:
  • Leather vests
  • Embroidered shirts
  • Stetson hats
  • Concho belts


Men’s fashion in the 80s was a diverse and dynamic landscape, influenced by a wide range of cultural movements and subcultures. From preppy style to hip-hop fashion, power suits to western wear, the 80s offered a smorgasbord of sartorial choices for men to express themselves.

While some of these trends have made a comeback in recent years, others remain firmly rooted in the past. Regardless, the enduring legacy of 80s fashion is a testament to its lasting impact on men’s style.

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