Men's Fashion Styles in the '80s

The 1980s was a time of new and varied fashion trends for men. The early 1980s especially saw trends that catered to every type of man from every walk of life. Many of the '80s styles for men embraced a softer, more feminine color palette. Other styles were ultra-male and urban.


Men who emulated the style of urban street wear and rap music in the 1980s wore shell-toe Adidas tennis shoes, black, tight-fitting jeans, Kangol hats and gold chains. Chuck Taylor shoes by Converse also went along with this look. Berets with the Adidas logo, or hats covered in faux fur were also common. Large, gold rings were often worn on several fingers at once. Cut-off shirts with no sleeves and looser pants were popular amongst the break-dancing crowd. Legendary rap group Run DMC popularized many of these styles.


The 1980s was a time of great prosperity, and many young people became a part of the "preppy" culture, which embraced wealth and education. Members Only jackets and blazers were popular amongst this group. Many men also wore soft pastel-colored clothing. A pastel sweater wrapped across the shoulder area over a Polo shirt was common. Suits were sometimes worn with a T-shirt, rather than a formal shirt. The preppy crowd often wore sunglasses and shunned dress socks, instead slipping their bare feet into loafers or sandals with their business-casual wear. Characters from the movie "Pretty in Pink" and the TV show "Miami Vice" are good examples of a preppy look.


The early '80s embraced gender bending. It was not unusual for men to wear makeup, especially eyeliner. Many men who embraced this style could be found wearing lace gloves, multiple necklaces and tight pants. Hair was long, slightly teased and sometimes highlighted or dyed. Pop stars Prince and Boy George were examples of this style.


Punk rockers wore tight-fitting T-shirts with rock logos and graphics. Leather coats with studs were commonly worn with tight-leather pants or jeans. Hair was typically multicolored and gelled to form a sharp Mohawk style, and punk rockers often wore eyeliner. The rock icon Billy Idol was an example of this style.