'80s Clothes Ideas for Kids

by Nancy Hayden

Kids looking to dress in the fashions of the ‘80s have many different styles available. The decade was a prosperous and ostentatious time for many people, and fashion trends were as big and over-the-top as the people who wore them. Kids will have fun wearing these memorable styles for school, a party or to simply be retro chic.

Rocker Girls and Boys

Girls can choose from a range of styles to dress as '80s rocker girls. For hard-rock styles, wear black leggings or leather pants with layers of torn-up T-shirts and leather jackets. For more of a pop princess look, wear tutu-style skirts made of netting over colorful tights. Pair these with lace shirts worn over tank tops. Boys can dress in dark skinny jeans and leather jackets for heavy-metal looks or can go glam rock with colorful patterned leggings or acid-washed jeans worn with sleeveless rock T-shirts and bandannas tied around their heads, arms or thighs.

New Wave Styles

New wave styles, also known as alternative in the ‘80s, were based on new wave alternative pop music. The fashions were quirky and less ostentatious than glam rock. Boys and girls dress very similarly in new wave fashions. For this look, both boys and girls wear baggy jeans or black pants with the cuffs pegged and rolled up, along with high-top Chuck Taylor tennis shoes or ankle boots. Pair these with band logo T-shirts, suspenders and long duster coats. Finish off the look with a rounded black hat and round sunglasses.

Preppy Looks

Kids who are not interested in rocker or new wave styles may dress in the clean-cut preppy fashion. In the ‘80s, preppies dressed and acted like miniature versions of the adults hanging around the local country club. Girls achieve the preppy look with cotton tennis miniskirts or wool, plaid skirts. Guys wear crisp khaki pants with a cuff, and both boys and girls wear colorful, short-sleeved polo shirts with the collars turned up. On their shoulders they wear sweaters tied around their necks and they wear slip-on penny loafer shoes.

Valley Girls or Guys

Valley girls and guys with a cool California vibe were trendy in the ‘80s and had a style all their own. Valley girls wore day-glo bright shades of neon colors. For this look, girls wear one shade of neon leggings beneath leg warmers of another color. On top, they wear over-sized sweaters with necklines large enough to be worn off the shoulder. Valley guys were also known as surfer dudes. Boys achieve this look by wearing colorful Jams shorts that come to the knee paired with T-shirts or Hawaiian shirts.

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