Black Fashion 1980s
Black Fashion Trends from 1980s
The 1980s was a decade that brought about a remarkable transformation in the world of black fashion. With its styles, black fashion 1980s trends evolved into an era that arguably became one of a kind. African-American style icons and musicians played a significant role in shaping these trends, giving rise to a distinctive trends that blended elements of streetwear, high fashion, and subcultures such as hip hop and punk. From oversized everything to flashy accessories, the fashion of the 1980s reflected the creativity of the time, leaving a mark on the industry and inspiring future generations of fashionistas.
Black Fashion 1980s
Black Fashion 1980s: Shoulder Pads
This era witnessed an emphasis on power dressing, and shoulder pads became an essential element in achieving a strong and confident look. Shoulder pads were commonly worn in both men’s and women’s fashion, but their popularity soared among black women in particular. They were often seen in blazers, jackets, dresses, and even tops, designed to create a bold silhouette with broader shoulders.
These pads were typically made of foam or other lightweight materials, and they were inserted into garments to enhance the shoulder line. The aim was to achieve a structured and angular appearance, reflecting a sense of authority and power. This trend was heavily influenced by the rise of prominent black celebrities, businesswomen, and politicians, emphasizing the strength and independence of black individuals.
Black Fashion 1980s: Colorful Tracksuits
In the 1980s, colorful tracksuits became a popular fashion trend. They were typically made from lightweight and breathable materials, such as nylon or velour, and were characterized by their vibrant and bold colors.
For men, tracksuits usually consisted of a zip-up jacket and matching relaxed-fit pants. The jackets often featured a high collar, ribbed cuffs and hem, and contrasting stripes or patterns down the arms. The pants were typically loose-fitting with an elastic waistband and had side stripes matching the jacket design.
For women, tracksuits often featured a slightly more fitted silhouette. The jackets were often cropped or had a cinched waist, adding a touch of femininity to the sporty look. The pants were generally high-waisted and snug, accentuating the curves. The vibrant color palette extended to accessories like headbands, wristbands, and sneakers, completing the overall look.
Black Fashion 1980s: Kangol Hats
Kangol is a British brand that initially gained popularity in the 1940s with their berets worn by the military. However, during the 1980s, they experienced a resurgence, primarily among black youth in the United States.
Kangol hats were known for their distinctive shape and logo, which featured a kangaroo. They were made of various materials, including wool, acrylic, and nylon, making them suitable for different seasons and occasions. The hats typically had a rounded crown with a short stiff brim. One of the most recognizable styles was the classic Kangol bucket hat, also known as the Kangol Bermuda hat or Kangol Golf hat.
Black fashion trends of the 1980s embraced Kangol hats as a fashion statement and symbol of urban style. They were often worn tilted or turned backward, adding a unique and edgy touch to outfits. Kangol hats became a prominent accessory within the emerging hip-hop culture, popularized by influential artists like LL Cool J, Run-D.M.C., and Grandmaster Flash. These artists’ fondness for Kangol hats helped propel the brand into widespread recognition.
Black Fashion 1980s: Gold Jewelry
The 1980s witnessed several black fashion trends, including the use of gold jewelry as a prominent accessory. Gold jewelry was extremely popular during this era and played a significant role in defining black fashion.
– Statement Necklaces: Chunky gold necklaces with unique designs were a staple of black fashion 1980s. These statement pieces often featured large, bold pendants or layered chains, making a powerful fashion statement.
– Earrings: Gold earrings in various forms were highly favored. Hoop earrings, especially oversized ones, were particularly popular among black women. They added a touch of glamour to any outfit, whether worn with casual attire or for special occasions.
– Gold Chains: Black men were also heavily influenced by gold jewelry trends in the 1980s. Thick gold chains, often known as “rope chains,” were commonly worn as a symbol of wealth, luxury, and style. These chains were often paired with pendants, religious symbols, or medallions, further enhancing their appeal.
– Bracelets: Gold bracelets, ranging from chunky bangles to delicate chains, were another sought-after accessory. Stacked gold bangle bracelets were stylish, while charm bracelets featuring various symbols and trinkets added a personalized touch to one’s outfit.
– Rings: Gold rings were popular for both men and women. Often African-inspired designs, such as those featuring intricate scrollwork or cultural symbols, were particularly favored. Stackable rings and oversized cocktail rings were also prevalent, reflecting the bold and extravagant styles of the time.
Black Fashion 1980s: High Top Sneakers
High top sneakers of the 80s were characterized by extending above the ankle. One of the most iconic high top sneakers of this era was the Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, commonly known as Chucks. These canvas sneakers featured a thick white rubber sole and were available in various colors, including black.
While Chucks were a classic choice, other brands like Nike, Adidas, and Reebok also gained popularity with their high top sneaker offerings, especially Nike as it began to emerge with the help of the Jordan brand. These brands incorporated innovative designs, cushioning, slick patterns, and color combinations, appealed to the black fashion scene.
Black Fashion 1980s: Oversized Suits
In the 1980s, oversized dress suits became influenced by the popular power dressing trend of the decade, especially in professional settings. These suits typically featured exaggerated proportions, with broad shoulders, boxy silhouettes, and loose-fitting jackets and trousers.
Accessories played a significant role in completing the oversized dress suit ensemble. Men often paired these suits with wide ties and dress shirts with large wing collars, while women donned statement jewelry, such as oversized earrings or chunky necklaces. Additionally, high-waisted belts were commonly worn to cinch in the waist and add definition to the loose-fitting garments.
Black Fashion 1980s: Leg Warmers
Leg warmers were knitted, tube-shaped accessories that were originally designed to keep the legs warm during exercise and dance. However, they quickly crossed over into mainstream fashion and became a popular accessory for both casual and dressed-up looks.
Leg warmers were typically worn over leggings, tights, or even bare legs. They added a layer of warmth while making a bold fashion statement. The trend extended beyond everyday wear and was frequently seen in dance and workout classes, bringing a touch of the athleisure aesthetic to the fashion world. Celebrities and pop culture icons of the time, such as Madonna, made leg warmers even more popular by wearing them in music videos and performances.
Black Fashion 1980s: Jeans
The 1980s black fashion trend of acid-washed denim and high-waisted jeans represents an iconic style that gained immense popularity during that era. Acid washing is a unique process where fabric is treated with chemicals and enzymes to create a washed-out, faded, or mottled appearance. When combined with high-waisted jeans, this created a distinct and fashionable look that became synonymous with the ’80s.
Acid-washed denim was particularly notable for its striking appearance, characterized by irregular, lighter patches or streaks against a darker background. This technique revolutionized the world of denim by infusing a grungy, rock-and-roll vibe into everyday fashion. High-waisted jeans were designed to sit higher on the waist. This style accentuated the waistline and emphasized the hourglass figure, offering a more tailored and fitted look.
This trend was highly popularized by various music icons, such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, and rock bands like Guns N’ Roses, providing a rebellious and edgy allure to the fashion scene.
Black Fashion 1980s: Puff Sleeves
In the 1980s, puff sleeves were characterized by their voluminous and exaggerated design, adding a touch of drama and flair to various garments. This trend was seen in a wide range of clothing items such as blouses, dresses, and even jumpsuits. This design element added a feminine and romantic touch to outfits.
The popularity of puff sleeves during this period was influenced by the broader 1980s fashion trends, which emphasized glamour, excess, and individuality. African American women embraced this trend, as it allowed them to express their unique style and stand out in a crowd.
Black Fashion 1980s: Bomber Jackets
Bomber jackets, also known as flight jackets, were initially designed for pilots during World War II, but they gained widespread popularity during the 1980s. The bomber jacket was predominantly worn by both men and women in urban areas. This fashion trend was heavily influenced by hip-hop and street culture, which shaped the style and attitude associated with the jackets.
Bomber jackets became an essential piece of clothing in the 1980s urban fashion scene, often paired with oversized jeans, baggy sweatshirts, or tracksuits. The loose fit of the jacket allowed for freedom of movement and a relaxed aesthetic. Additionally, the jacket’s versatility made it suitable for various occasions, from casual outings to parties or performances.