How To Dress 80s

Whether you grew up under the Reagan administration and crushed on Molly Ringwald all through high school or you were born too late to understand the big deal about Michael Jackson, learning how to dress 1980s is all about flaunting your inner preppy. Details matter. Everything from your choice of denim wash to the color of your t-shirt helps create an authentic 80s preppy look.

  1. Join the Vice Squad: Don a white blazer ala Don Johnson, pair it with a pastel t-shirt, and you have instant 1980s appeal. Score points for choosing baby pink. Don't worry about looking too feminine; anyone who watched "Miami Vice"–before every episode was a rerun–will recognize your 1980s flair.
  2. Pretty Boy in a Popped Collar: When you're not wearing your vice squad blazer, choose a pastel polo shirt. Pop the collar for a hard-core 1980s preppy look, and wear a sweater tied loosely over your shoulders. Extra points for a cable-knit style with contrast stripes at the collar and wrist.
  3. Embrace Tapered Jeans: Comb vintage and thrift shops for acid-washed jeans, because plain old denim will not cut it for dressing 1980s. Avoid boot-cut styles. The 1980s were all about tapered fits.
  4. Loaf in your Penny Loafers: Ratchet up your 1980s street cred by pairing your blazer with penny loafers–and forget socks, because this look is all about looking laid-back and preppy. Think yacht party, and let that be your guide.
  5. Power Mullet: You cannot dress 1980s without big hair, so embrace the mullet and work it into your preppy style. Let your hair down in the back, and cut it shorter up front–but not too short. Blow-dry and feather the front like James Spader in "Pretty in Pink" to keep the look more "prep school" than "shop class."


  • To pull off a 1980s hairstyle, you need some serious hair spray. While you might feel a bit girly, don't forget that the idea is to look slick, polished and larger than life. If you just can't bring yourself to use hairspray, try hair gel or mousse instead. No matter what, that mullet will need serious holding power.
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