1980’s style is back in fashion — & it’s thanks to Trump

Marc Jacobs.
Image: Supplied

Sew your shoulder pads back in, dig out those high-waisted mommy jeans, dust off your jazz shoes and reach for the hairspray – 1980s style is making a comeback.

Think Dirty Dancing, MC Hammer, Jamie Lee Curtis in aerobics gear, Prince in Purple Rain, Madonna when she was a material girl, pleather, metallics, power suits complete with said shoulder pads and leg warmers.

Some fashion commentators have credited Donald Trump’s arrival at the White House for the focus on 80s style.

According to fashion site popsugar.com, the new US president has both a look and policy agenda that seem more suited to the 1980s.

Rise of the anti-Trump hairstyle

A number of international designers have looked to the 1980s as inspiration for their 2017 spring/summer ranges, including Isabel Marant with ruffles, floras and pinstripes, Balenciaga with shoulder pads and Marc Jacobs, who had models sporting crimped hair, shiny metallic and over-sized sweatshirts.

Locally, Jenny le Roux showed velvet suits in jewel colours with big shoulder pads at her label Habits’ last show and Rich Mnisi brought back boxy silhouettes from the decade.

The fashion items currently featuring on catwalks and on celebrities are crop tops, power suits, customised denim jackets with patches, drop-crotch pants, fanny packs, neon leotards and scrunchies.

A report published by international retail analysts Edited agrees that the 1980s is going to be huge.

”Everything from power suits and slouchy tailored trousers for office wear, to off-the-shoulder looks, active wear and over-the-top ruffles,” the report stated, having analysed what’s trending based on insights from its data scientists.

(Edited bases its analysis on more than 520million global apparel, accessory and footwear products, as well as its work with retailers that include Asos, Net-a-Porter and Topshop.)

Isabel Marant. Image: Supplied

Jenny Le Roux. Image: Supplied

According to Timeout Magazine, there are six tribes of 80s fashion:

New Romantic: characterised by Adam Ant and Madonna – back-combed hair, pale complexion and lashings of make-up, layers of lace, string over string of pearls, tulle skirts, hairspray.

Goth: personified by Robert Smith from The Cure – plenty of dark make-up on pale skin, all- black clothing, stovepipe jeans, bird’s nest hair, crosses and pentagrams.

Buffalo: characterised by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley in their Wham days – ripped jeans, oversized white T shirts, vests, white takkies, leather jackets and big hair.

Glam fetish: style gurus Boy George and Cindy Lauper – anything goes, riotous colour clashing, oversized peak caps, wildly dyed hair, layers.

High camp: personified by drag queen RuPaul – fashion as performance art, extravagance, body paint and clownish make-up, platform heels and latex bodysuits.


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