”Power Dressing” of the 1980s

6 Mar

  • 1980 – London became the center of the club and youth scene.
  • Face and ID magazine became very influential, combining the club culture, street fashion and designer fashion.
  • Yuppie (Young Urban Professional) increased men’s fashion market.

  • Men started to become more aware of fashion and started to dress better and take care of his looks.
  • It became fashionable to show off wearing high-cost designer clothes and accessories such as Louis Vuitton’s luggage and bags, Chanel’s jewelry and handbags, Moschino’s belt buckles and buttons, Mont Blanc’s pens, and Rolex’s watches.
  • Showing stockbrokers’ huge salaries in the news pushed people to want to be stockbrokers and company CEOs both for men and women.
  • This era of the Yuppie pushed the price up on real estate and development of everything in America and later the whole world.
  • Greed and pushy ambition became the key ways of looking at life.
  • Late 1960s through 1970s gay trend was much copied by the straight community even till today in 2012.

  • Gay lifestyle – earrings, black leather jackets, bandanas – began to loose their original meaning.
  • Former gay homes were redecorated by the new generation of gay Yuppies.
  • 1970s lycra creations were used for gym wear and active sportswear.
  • Sports shoes became essential shoes for lots of activities.

  • John Travolta’s gym toned body in the movie “Staying Alive” (1983) took the fans to the 1980s gym life.
  • Jane Fonda and other actresses started their own keep fit programs on television. Jane Fonda also created her own Aerobics system.

  • Showing off their body paralleled to the Yuppie era to show off not only wealth but also body. Also originated from the late 1970s Gay Super Bod buffed and toned to look beautiful in disco.
  • Donna Karan offered the top executive women flexibility in her wardrobe. Coats were worn over knitted or lycra blended turtle necks or black blouses that fitted over the body. Skirt could be rolled up or down to the wearer’s needs.
  • Yuppies began to find new hangout places since all the clubs are closing down because people were dying of AIDS.
  • Power Dressing – early half of 1980s – soap series on television showed woman’s hard rounded shoulder looks. The power suit showed gave women a new symbol of position in society over their male counterparts; it also represented a kind of sex symbol and power.

Influence of Television Soap Series ‘Dynasty’

Shoulder Power

The famous ‘Soap’ series on TV “Dynasty” echoed women’s hard “rounded” shouldered looks.

THE POWER SUIT began to give women a new symbol of position in society parallel and as well as over their male counterparts. The suit began to also represent a new kind of ‘sex’ symbol or underlying position and “power”

  • The main icon of this period was Princess Diana who married Prince Charles in 1981.

  • For the next 16 years she acted as a figure head for the British industry and commissioned designers to make her wardrobe such as Caroline Charles, Bellville Sassoon, Arabella Pollen, Bruce Oldfield, Catherine Walker, Hachi, and Jasper Conran. Her hats were made by John Boyd and Graham Smith.
  • Couture was expensive and very few women could afford it so it was necessary to make profit for the design houses so they sold perfumes.
  • David Bowie continued his style of music seen in his videos; Annie Lennox with her incredible voice; Boy George began his Karma Chameleon image with his pretty boy face; Kid Creole and the Coconuts’ brought back the old 1940s Zoot suit into fashion.

  David Bowie

  • Financial crash of 1987 – the overspending of everything came to a halt. People started to dress in somber dark colors. AIDS killed celebrities – Tina Chow and Antonio Lopez.
  • Late 1980s Jasper Conran organized huge fashion shows to celebrate fashion and for AIDS charities.

Acronym Table for 1980s Fashion and Marketing Terms


♥ Top Ten * 80’s Fashion Trends ♥

Shoulder Pads

80s Shoulder Pads


Mini Skirts

80s Mini Skirts


Leg Warmers

80s Leg Warmers


Huge Earrings

Huge 80s Earrings


Fingerless Gloves

80s Fingerless Gloves


Parachute Pants

80s Parachute Pants


Members Only Jackets

80s Members Only Jackets



80s UNITS clothing


Stretch-Stirrup Pants

80s Stretch-Stirrup Pants


Oversized Tops

80s Oversized Tops


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