Your retro lookbook

Words by Maggie Zhou
Photography by Maggie Zhou

Oh, the ‘80s. The decade of Pac-Man, MTV and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Of Madonna, Tetris and Ghostbusters. But, the fashion – the fashion could make you unconsciously shudder and involuntarily squirm.


Your mind might immediately jump to fluro activewear, structured shoulder pads, acid wash denim and neon makeup. And yes, Olivia Newton-John’s Physical music video usually comes to mind. My god, I wish it didn’t, because the image of oiled up bodies, magenta tights and leg warmers is slightly terrifying.

The ‘80s were an era of bold fashion – think big hair, loud prints, bright colours.  A mere 30 years or so ago, walking down the streets with slap bracelets and plastic bead necklaces would instantly earn you the nod of respect from fellow peers.

So, how the heck does this affect you? Fashion styles and trends have their way of slowly creeping up time and time again. They’re like a really needy ex you just can’t seem to shake off. So here’s a selection of ‘80s trends that have been revived in today’s mainstream fashion.


Eccentric and clashing colours scream the ‘80s – fluorescent and vibrant hues were splattered on every tulle skirt or parachute pant you could find. Nowadays, colour blocking – wearing solid shades of different colours – is fairly popular. To fit the brief, take colours that are from opposite sides of the colour wheel (contrasting colours) or colours which compliment each other. Or stick with the three primary colours for an easy, fresh and colourful ‘fit. Hot tip: coloured puffer jackets are a big yes.


Double denim, mom jeans, and overalls. Considered a fashion faux pas, double denim is a big no-no for some. If you’re just braving the waters, try different shades and textures of denim together – I mean, no one’s going to say no to black jeans and a classic blue denim jacket, right? Skinny jeans have had their time in the spotlight, but it seems that high-waisted, baggy and relaxed jeans are now all the rage. Speaking of super comfy, overalls aren’t just reserved for toddlers or farmers, they’re for all of us regular citizens too. They’re great and all, except when you need to take a piss and find yourself half-naked and shivering in the bathroom.


Thanks to Princess D’s supersized wedding gown complete with puffed sleeves and ruffles on every possible hem, frills were one of the biggest crazes to hit the ‘80s. Super feminine and romantic, ruffles have once again been resurrected. Find them on the ends of skirts and dresses, puffy sleeves, and off-the-shoulder pieces.

Power suits

Okay, so we can ditch the shoulder pads if you want – but the power suit is back. Its oversized and structured silhouette aimed to allow women to establish their power and authority in typically professional or political environments. Channel your inner Michael Pfeiffer or Grace Jones and sport a popular check blazer that’s currently doing the rounds. Pair it with some co-ord style (plaid skirt, checkered pants) and feel badass.

Love it or hate it, it’s hard to deny that the ‘80s are making a comeback. Its rad and like, totally bitchin’ styles have sneaked their way into our 2018 wardrobes. We’re still patiently waiting for Marty McFly’s self-lacing Nikes, though.


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