Big Big Hair And Bright Bold Patterns Of The 80’s Are Back And Thriving On Instagram 

by Rachel Sanoff

A Delorean needs to travel back in time 40 years to arrive at the dawn of the 1980s, but a quick Instagram scroll proves the decade’s style is here and now. From ’80s babies to Gen Z, a community of fashion archivists is searching for LA Gear on, teasing their hair every morning, and exclusively wearing acid-wash denim, slouch socks, and pastel shades on a daily basis.

Violet Sky

Seven years ago, 22-year-old Violet Sky (@glitterwave80s) watched the 1985 film, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, and was struck by the movie’s costume design (by Betty Pecha Madden.) “I didn’t really have a personal style yet, but I saw all the bold colors, and how outrageous everything was,” Sky says. “Nothing was too big or too crazy to wear.” Now Sky’s wardrobe is made up solely of ’80s vintage finds. She also drives a 1992 Camaro. “I consider this lifestyle to be an art form.”

Violet Sky
Grace Chan

Grace Chan (@gracemarian) calls herself an ’80s kid who never grew up, and as an adult, she can now express herself with fashion she couldn’t access as a child of the era. “There’s a certain pride and satisfaction I get from buying a vintage Esprit or Benetton sweatshirt, or a vintage Guess denim jacket,” Chan says. “There was no way my hard-working immigrant parents would’ve bought such frivolously expensive clothes for me back in the day.”

Grace Chan and Violet Sky

Local thrift stores, Depop, and eBay are prime places for scoring vintage 1980s clothing, according to these experts. But you can even shop for new pieces, too: Iconic ’80s brands are relaunching collections from their heyday, Sky says—including Body Glove, Swatch, and Gecko Hawaii. And good news for Chan, fashion retailer Esprit is also making a comeback. Jordan Rumsey, 20, (@cantbuyme80s) also points to newer companies like Vacation, a sun-care brand that’s so devoted to ’80s authenticity, its receipts are printed on dot matrix paper.

Jordan Rumsey

While Stranger Thingscostume design has been credited with re-popularizing the style of the decade, Chan also considers this resurgence in the traumatic context of the Covid-19 pandemic. “People yearned for a more comforting, colorful, safe world,” she says, “one where everything was vivid, bold, and beautiful.”

Jordan Rumsey

“When I go out to do normal errands casually dressed in ’80s attire, people always stop me to say how much they love my look,” says Adrianne Avery, a fashion designer born in 1985 (@adrianneavery1985). “It brings smiles to people’s faces. I can’t think of anything that honors the ’80s more than that.”

Adrianne Avery

Top Photo: Adrianne Avery


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