Children's Clothes of the '80s

annees 80 image by yannik LABBE from

Children's fashions in the 1980s were modeled after scaled-down versions of the outrageous fashions made popular by adults of the times. Bright colors, large accessories and big hair were popular in the 1980s and these fashions were reflected in the television programming and magazines available to children of the era. Pop stars like Madonna and Michael Jackson were popular, and many children wanted to dress like their favorite musicians.


Children of the 1980s wore overalls made by companies such as Oshkosh B'Gosh and Levi Strauss & Co. The overalls were made from cotton, denim or corduroy materials and came in a variety of different bright colors. Known for their durability during play, overall-style pants and shorts were worn by both girls and boys, and jumper overalls were made for girls.

Jelly Shoes

Jelly shoes were popular in the 1980s. These shoes, worn by women of all ages, were made from PVC plastic and came in a wide variety of colors and glitter accents. In the 1980s, a pair of jelly shoes cost on average $1 to $2. Jelly shoes were the creation of a small manufacturing company called Grendene, located in Brazil. In March of 1981, a banker named Preston Haag made a deal with the company to import the shoes to the United States. In February of 1983, the New York City department store Bloomingdale's learned of the shoes and ordered 2,400 pairs in nine styles. Jelly shoes made a comeback in 2003 and again in 2010. Various designers such as Sketchers, Burberry, Urban Outfitters and and the Disney Store have created their own lines of jelly shoes in different styles and colors.

Ankle Socks

Ankle socks were worn by girls in the 1980s. Made of thin materials, the socks were decorated with single or multiple lace ruffles at the top of the socks. Some socks were entirely made of lace with a ruffled top that was seen when the sock was folded down at the ankle. These socks were most commonly worn with party dresses and dress shoes, and became popular with older women as well as they could be worn easily with a pair of high heels.


Character, logo and band t-shirts were popular with boys in the 1980s. T-shirt designs included images of popular cartoons, movies, video games and rock bands from the 1980s. Super-hero-themed t-shirts were popular as well as shirts decorated with funny sayings.

Stirrup Pants

Stirrup pants, worn by girls in the 1980s, were made from knit materials and tapered down the legs towards the ankle, where a stirrup was attached at each side. The stirrup fit under the foot between its ball and heel, securing the pants tightly to the wearer's legs. These pants were available in a variety of colors and were generally worn with tunic-length or belted shirts and scrunchie socks with a pair of ankle boots or flat shoes.