What Did Men Wear In The 80s?

The 1980s is considered an iconic decade thanks to its incredible culture. The decade is known for its phenomenal pop and rock music as well as its fantastic fashion. 

What Did Men Wear In The 80s?

Filled with vibrant colors, striking patterns, and unique styles, the ‘80s was an amazing time for men’s fashion. It’s much more noteworthy than the following decades, in which men’s fashion became much more muted.

So if you are interested in vintage clothing, you can use this guide to mimic men’s fashion of the ‘80s! 

What Did Men Wear In The 1980s?

Formal Outfits

On the face of it, men’s formal clothing of the 1980s might not look that different from the formal fashion of today. After all, men used to wear a shirt, suit, and tie to formal occasions.

Some men even wore these clothes to work.

But there are subtle differences in the types of suits that were worn. Men’s suits of the ‘80s tended to be oversized, especially the blazers.

These blazers usually had broad shoulders, which contrasts with the more slim and skinny formal attire that is popular today. These broad shoulders were achieved by shoulder pads, resulting in a more intimidating figure.

Pinstripe suits were especially popular in business settings. They gave men a bolder and more eye-catching look that ensured that they would be noticed.

These suits would often be paired with suspenders, which were a fashionable way of keeping pants stable.

For a slightly less formal look, some men would pair their suits with t-shirts. This look went out of fashion but has recently been revitalized in men’s fashion.

Pastel-colored suits worked particularly well with t-shirts

Casual Outfits

In terms of more casual clothing of the 80s, men gravitated to wearing plain t-shirts and lots of denim. This would include denim jeans and denim jackets.

Denim was simply one of the most popular fabrics in the ‘80s.

Aside from denim jackets, leather and bomber jackets were also widespread in the decade. These jackets would be matched with baggy or oversized shirts and t-shirts.

Sports jerseys were also an iconic part of men’s fashion. Tops were often tucked into the pants.

In terms of pants, cuffed jeans were favored. Alternatively, khakis were popular pants. Usually, either of these pants was worn with perfectly white sneakers. 

Rock Outfits

Music was an influential part of culture in the 1980s. Rock and roll was a particularly popular genre thanks to bands like Queen, Metallica, Bon Jovi, Guns ‘N Roses, and AC/DC.

These bands had a significant impact on men’s fashion over the decade.

As a result, leather was a popular material used in the fashion of the 80s. Leather biker jackets were especially common. These jackets were often oversized and studded.

They would commonly be worn with t-shirts and a pair of jeans, which could be torn. Men’s leather jackets of the ‘80s could also be accompanied by studded combat boots.

The rock genre also inspired me to wear accessories like headbands, which would usually be accompanied by long teased hair. Some men in the ‘80s even wore leather pants.

Hip-Hop Outfits

Another genre that was big in the ‘80s was hip-hop, which originated from African American communities. Hip-hop also influenced the pop music of the era.

Hip-hop-inspired outfits emerged, namely in the form of streetwear.

Inspired by their favorite hip hop stars, men started to wear baggy pants. Known as hammer pants, these excessively baggy pants were inspired by hip-hop and rap musician MC Hammer.

These pants were not only considered cool, but they were easier to dance in.

Hip-hop also encouraged men to wear thick gold chains around their necks and other forms of jewelry, such as rings. Moreover, designer white sneakers and caps were an important part of the hip-hop wardrobe of the ‘80s.

Punk Outfits

Punk music first started to become popular during the 1970s. The popularity of this genre continued into the 80s, though arguably it was not as influential as rock or hip-hop.

As with rock-inspired clothing, male punks tended to wear lots of leather. Yet, punks had an edgier aesthetic than rock and roll fans. Instead of studs, punks tended to opt for spikes on their clothing.

These punk outfits were often worn with rebellious hairstyles like mohawks.

Sports Outfits

Sports Outfits

The 1980s are heavily linked to sportswear. When many people think of the ‘80s, one of the first things that will come into their heads is the sportswear of the decade.

Sportswear took numerous forms, including tracksuits. It was around the mid-1970s and into the ‘80s that tracksuits first became popular.

In contrast to these tracksuits, athletic shorts could be worn when the weather was warmer. These shorts would be paired with tank tops.

Additionally, brightly colored windbreakers were commonly worn when men participated in sports. Nowadays, these windbreakers are incredibly popular in the vintage clothing community.

Moreover, chunky trainers and sneakers were regularly used in men’s sporting outfits of the period.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Men’s Hairstyles Were Popular In The ‘80s?

If you want to complete your 80’s inspired look (Check out How To Recreate Glamorous 80s Looks), you will also have to consider your hairstyle.

In the 1980s, there were lots of different styles that were popular among men, such as:

  • Mullets
  • Perms
  • Jheri curls
  • Flat tops
  • Mohawks (especially among punk fans)
  • Slicked back hair
  • Buzz cuts
  • Quiffs

What Should I Wear To An ‘80s-Themed Party?

If you have been invited to a party that’s inspired by the 1980s, it’s important to nail the right clothing. To find the right clothes, you may want to visit a vintage store, shop online, or go to a thrift store.

For men, we recommend wearing a leather jacket or an aviator jacket on top of a plain t-shirt and jeans or parachute pants. To get the ‘80s look, you should opt for a hairstyle that was popular in the period, like a mullet.

If you don’t have hair long enough, consider purchasing a wig.

Final Thoughts

Do you have a fashion for vintage clothing? If so, the 1980s is one of the best decades for men and women alike. This period is renowned for its bold outfits. 

Clothing inspired by the ‘80s is becoming increasingly popular today. So if any of these outfits have inspired you, why not put together an outfit influenced by the 1980s?!

Willa Price
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