My mom and her friend wearing Laura Ashley dresses to a wedding in 1984.
Not too long ago, Urban Outfitters came out with its collaboration with iconic ’80s brand Laura Ashley. I’ll be completely honest, it wasn’t until I showed the pieces to my mom and aunt that I realized just how iconic the brand was—especially to my mom and her stylish group of friends. Immediately my mom showed me the photo above of her and one of her best friends wearing Laura Ashley dresses to a wedding in 1984. How did I respond? By looking up Laura Ashley dresses on Etsy and ordering one for myself, of course.
The runways are always nodding to the festive time that was the ’80s, and if the return of the decade is anything like the ’90s have been, the resurgence of trends from this time are only just starting to gain steam. While the runways are definitely a place I get forward-thinking inspiration from, I decided when it came to the ’80s fashion trend, I was going to go back to the queen of fashion during her time—my mother. She and my aunt were called “the Vogue sisters” back in high school, so I guess I have to give them a little credit.
My mom and aunt with matching perms and wild jumpsuits.
I asked my mom to list off all the trends from the ’80s that she thought I might still be into today. Some of the styles that made her list quickly got cut from mine including sweatbands, colored plastic beads, and a few others I’d rather not mention. But as for the rest of her selects, I’d say they are pretty spot-on. Ahead, shop nine of the ’80s fashion trends my mom wore back in the day—the ones that are still somehow cool in 2020.
“Shoulder pads and boxy shoulders, in general, were the staple of the ’80s, and I was totally okay with that. The structure they gave a shirt or blazer was the look you had to have. I think they are weirdly flattering, as they make your shoulders wider than your hips, which is never a bad thing. If you threw on a blazer with shoulder pads over a dress or any bottom, you knew you were good to go.”
Here are my mom and my aunt in their jumpsuits and oversize belts.
“Jumpsuits were my favorites in the ’80s. They made getting dressed so easy, and I always felt so fashionable wearing them. I loved how tall they made me look too. The ones with big shoulder pads were even more flattering.”
“As I started working in the ’80s, wearing suits and pumps was a given. To make the stiff look more fashion-forward, one trend was to match from head to toe, including your shoe color. I must have had low-heel pumps in every color. Neutrals were not a thing. And of course, the pumps matched the hose, which matched the suit and so on.”
Okay, so this isn’t a prairie dress, but it’s a photo that needs to be seen.
“Another trend I really loved. These dresses of the ’80s were what we wore when we dressed up for any special event. They were feminine, pretty, and flattering. They made your waist look small too.”
“The colored and patterned hose really made an outfit looked finished. If you took the time to perfectly match the color of your hose to your outfit or wear hose with tiny polka dots to match the print in your dress, you were happening.”
“So scrunchies were the other accessory of the ’80s that you could match to your outfit. I had them in every color, because you had to. We needed them to put our big permed hair into a thick ponytail. We would wear them on our wrists too for the impromptu hairstyle change, and we could do that because they, of course, matched our outfit.”
“We all wore pleated, high-waisted, acid-washed jeans in the ’80s. This trend still baffles me. It was not flattering, but I guess it proves we were loyal to the trends. The big pockets were a perk though.”
“The key to a stylish denim jacket in the ’80s was the wash and the shape. If it wasn’t acid or light wash, with big dolman sleeve and covered your butt, it was not going to impress anyone.”
This is my mom and dad wearing acid-wash denim. Not quite sure I’m ready for this one to come back.
“Every item in the ’80s was designed to make a big statement. Therefore, I wore ginormous glasses as well. Everything, including accessories, had to be big or would be drowned by the size of our big permed hair.”