Fashion

This is What Men Looked Like In The 80s

It's a wonder the birthrate didn't decline rapidly

Ah, the 80s. Weren’t even born then? You don’t know how lucky you are.

Apparently the future was so bright we had to wear shades. I recommend very dark ones.

The Mullet

When you’re talking about men’s fashion from the 80s there’s only one place to start: with that glorious epitaph of the time – the mullet.

Saved for men (particularly footie players), it was the look of the moment. Heck, some guys even went the extra mile and had it permed.

It was a glorious thing that makes anyone over the age of 40 cringe with fear when the photo albums (they were a thing, too) are brought out of the attic.

He should be so lucky
He should be so lucky… (Credit: Getty)

Baggy Jumpers

Yes there was neon, bare chests and gigantic hair, but the 80s had its fair share of lets-look-as-bland-as-possible too. 

No more so than in the slightly baggy (and usually grey or beige) jumper that naturally tucked under at the waist. Pushed up sleeves, optional.

The classic 1908s catalogue pose
The classic 1908s catalogue pose (Credit: Getty)

Bomber Jackets

There were two different types of bomber jackets that sum up 80s fashion for men.

Most common was the usually green airforce bomber (that also came in black, blue and that shimmery maroon that was a thing back then).

But there was also the preppier version that looked like the love child of (below) bomber and a leather aviator jacket. Think Tom Cruise in, well, pretty much any movie of the 80s and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Bomber jackets of the 80s
Men looked the bomb in these (Credit: Getty)

New Romantic

The 80s, god love it was the era of the New Romantic. You can translate that to mean: let’s clobber together a mix mash of silky suit jackets (with rolled up sleeves, obv.), lots of shimmery material, the occasional sports headband and as much hairspray as possible.

Add sultry look, pirate T-shirt, a swipe of your sister’s lipgloss and voila, ready for action.

Hairspray was a thing
Excess hairspray marked the beginning of the end for the ozone layer (Credit: Getty)

Bennetton Polo Shirt and Pringle Jumper

Ah, the polo shirt, worn open neck with collars up and slim link gold chain sitting atop newly grown chest hair, these were high fashion times indeed. And let’s not forget the diamond jumper, usually Pringle or Tacchini: two brands who nobody ever hears about any more.

It was almost like being gay was coming out of its own closet and the transition stage was the 80s. Don’t believe me? Just watch Will and Grace for evidence.

Also came in a v-neck cardigan
Also came in V-neck cardi (Credit: Getty)

Hawaiian Shirts and Moustaches

Thanks to this guy (below), Australia went wild in the 80s for bold prints and facial hair.

Did Tom Selleck set a good example? I’m not sure about the shirt, but those high waist jeans never quite made a comeback. Not for men anyway.

Way before Movember was even a thing
Way before Movember was even a thing (Credit: Getty)

White Sneakers

All you gotta do is say Back To The Future and you’ll think of a Michael J Fox (that’s not him below btw) in high top sneakers, loose jeans and a baseball jacket. And that my friend was 80s fashion for men.

Way before the 2000s, white sneakers were the staple footwear of every man and boy worth his Dr Pepper who dreamed of driving a Delorian, Ferrari or Lamborghini (it was all about cars back then).

Welcome back, white sneakers, we missed you.

Must be 1980-something
Must be 1980-something (Credit: Getty/NBC)

Keeper, Sovereign and Buckle Rings

Rings for men were big time in the 80s and the chunkier the better.

Gold Sovereign and Keeper rings were good for the just-going-to-prison-for-a-while look and sat nicely alongside the snake head, square of diamonds and buckle ring (often worn on the little finger for that ultra thug effect).

Admit it. Your ex-boyfriend had one, didn’t he.

A man wearing one of these was a keeper for sure
A man wearing one of these was a keeper for sure (Credit: Instagram #keeperring)

Stonewash Denim

Stonewash was everywhere in the 80s, and if preferable for both your jeans and jacket. More was more in those days. Hems were turned up just shy of the ankle and usually by your mum. Classy didn’t become fashionable until more recently.

OK, they're not stone washed but even Brad Pitt looked questionable in the 80s
OK, his jeans aren’t stone washed but even Brad Pitt looked questionable in the 80s (Credit: Getty)

Highlights and a Pierced Ear

By the turn of the 80s frosting wasn’t just for cupcakes, it had made its way onto the heads of our brothers, uncles and male celebs, and was often used to accentuate a highly layered mullet. Yep, in the 80s it was highlights a- go-go.

As for the earring? I never quite understood why boys only ever got one ear pierced. Maybe they didn’t want to look like a girl.

(Maybe they didn’t always succeed).

If anyone can pull off the mullet, it's Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart doing a stunned mullet impression (Credit: Getty)

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