The ‘80s left us with fashion trends we’ll never forget. People replicate some of the most iconic looks every Halloween. As a fabric store, we love to look out for our customers and let them in on our favorite fashions that have come and gone. And today, you guessed it—we’ll be taking a look at our favorite spandex fashions from the ‘80s. We’ve also thrown in a few fun other trends from the ‘80s.
All About Spandex
Spandex, spandex, spandex. It was the preferred fabric of the 1980s. If you wanted to be cool, you had to wear this light and stretchy material. You couldn’t watch a movie or a television program without running into someone wearing spandex. People wanted to show off their youthful bodies and energy, and spandex was the perfect fabric.
Aerobics was the game; spandex was the name. Many individuals began exercising regularly to stay in shape. Celebrities like Richard Simmons, Jane Fonda, and Suzanne Somers released workout videos for men and women to utilize at home. More importantly, they were wearing spandex.
Spandex is an anagram of the word “expands.” If you rearrange the letters of each word, you can spell the other word.
The ’80s really took athletic wear to a whole other level. One of our favorite looks was the stylish sweatshirt with a pair of spandex leggings or tights. People were cutting the sweatshirts in ways that they enjoyed—for example, cutting off the bottom to create more movement and flow, making a wider neckline, and turning the sweatshirt into a one-shoulder look. Removing the arm cuffs and rolling the sleeves was another hot look for sweatshirts.
This look became incredibly popular after the movie “Flashdance” premiered. People didn’t want the sweatshirts to constrict their movements while enjoying an afternoon jazzercise class. If you’re going to rock this style, ensure you pay attention to the details. Add the sweatband, hair scrunchie, and giant, boldly colored earrings to complete the outfit.
No blog post about ‘80s fashion would be complete without discussing the iconic leotard. This tight, form-fitting fashion piece can be seen in almost every exercise video of the ‘80s. It was everywhere.
Leotards came in every color, print, and design imaginable. The leotard is easy to work out in and allows your body to move and flow freely while attending a step-aerobics class.
Jane Fonda and Oliva Newton-John were HUGE lovers of the ‘80s leotard look. If you’re going to complete this look, you can’t forget the leg warmers and sneakers.
Behold—the Spandex Tights
If your outfit wasn’t “spandexy” enough already, you could wear a pair of spandex tights under—you guessed it, the spandex LEOTARD! You’d also find people wearing them with a custom, stylish sweatshirt, which we discussed above. These famous “pants” were also available in every color under the sun, and you could find them everywhere.
One rule to live by in the ‘80s: the brighter the spandex, the better. This philosophy meant pairing a bright pink leotard with fluorescent yellow spandex tights. Then, you’d always, always, always finish off the look with a pair of white sneakers. You couldn’t take away from the vibrancy of your incredibly fashionable outfit. This look was a staple in almost every single exercise class across the globe.
Animal Print Spandex
Besides vivid and bright colors, animal prints took the fashion world by storm in the 1980s. You could find everything from zebra to cheetah and leopard to giraffe. This trend was the go-to luxury look during this time.
You could also find colors mixed in with the animal print. The trend didn’t stop at spandex, though. During the ‘80s, you could find safari designs on everything from underwear and outerwear to furniture and artwork. The 1980s were an animal print crazy time.
One example of this trend stuck in our mind is the gorgeous Peggy Bundy with her big hair, tight black blouse, and cheetah print spandex leggings. Peggy loved animal print! She even famously wore a cheetah print spandex leotard.
Other Great ‘80s Trends
The 1980s were an excellent time for fashion. I mean, isn’t that why so many people embody the 80s style every Halloween? We’ve covered some incredible spandex fashions from the 80s, but what about the other trends? Let’s get into it!
All About Big Hair
There is a saying, “The higher the hair, the closer to heaven,” and ‘80s hair took this quite literally. Teasing was the way, and hairspray was the weapon of choice. You didn’t need your hair to go flat throughout the day. That was a colossal crime—and a gigantic fashion no-no!
Crimping, perms, and curls were all the rage. And if you felt like a ponytail, the whale spout or a side-pony were the way to go.
Acid Wash Jeans
Denim is a versatile material that’s been around for many years. The ‘80s changed the game with acid-washed jeans! This trend failed to last the test of time, but this experimental style boomed big in the 1980s. There were even matching acid-washed jean jackets! Who doesn’t love some denim on denim?
Who can forget the iconic pants worn by MC Hammer? The pillowy, baggy pants were first made famous later in the decade and quickly became all the rage! They’re similar to fashion found on the Arabian Peninsula.
The pants are incredibly comfortable, and I can understand why everyone was obsessed with them. They’re the perfect thing to lounge in all day long.
Oh, the Shoulder Pads
The hair wasn’t the only thing getting bigger in the ‘80s. You’d be hard-pressed to find a blazer or dress that didn’t have shoulder pads. If you ask me, it looks like someone decided women needed to look like they had football pads under their suits. But, alas, this trend has come and gone. Apparently, women look better with broad shoulders? They’re almost as useless as the sport bra pads. Hashtag, remove unnecessary bulk.
Are you feeling energized to sew your own ‘80s-inspired leotard? We sure do hope so! Express Knit carries incredible fabrics you’ll need for your creation. Shop our selection of cotton spandex fabric at wholesale prices. You’ll love the prices and quality our business strives to offer.