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Retro Revival: the eighties are back. And that's okay

How to wear the eighties without looking like a bad eighties sitcom.

Rejoice for the eighties have once again returned. That might give most people anxiety remembering all those years past where they wore shoulder pads threatening to knock down walls. Or neck-breaking earrings or neon sweatpants that they promised to get married in - this is good news however. 

 Once where fashion - ever the temperamental mistress - shifted her foot, shook her head and dismissed all notions of eighties-anything, this isn't the case this time 'round. This might've seen everyone swearing that they wouldn't be caught dead in those kind of gaudy/tasteless/tacky outfits. But look now. The eighties have been resuscitated from that place that trends go to die. (Do trends ever really die? We should probably think of them as reincarnating.) From designers like Marc Jacobs, Versace and Gucci last season to Saint Laurent and Balmain this spring 2018 season the eighties were everyone's tastebuds. And television screens. Thank you Pose and glow. Fret not because we at ELLE have put together a little guide to make it easier to ride this trend in a way that makes you look less bad sitcom to more Dominique Deveraux.


Neon can be daunting, loud and unflinching in its intention to grab attention but a great way to wear it is to simmer it down with an item that isn't a zesty bright. Muted trousers or a tailored jacket are great. Add a much-loved accessory to complete the look. If that's not your M.O wear head-to-toe.

Clashing prints

The 80's were an era extravagance if anything else and with their return means that  once rigidly followed rules go out the window. Embrace clashing prints and think out he box. Pairing dresses with tinted trousers or tops with printed hats. Follow style sage Leandro Medine's moto of "if it feels wrong, it probably looks right" in this regard.


It's not the 80's without a little power suiting. Overzised or playful, approaches to dressing in bold tailoring is varied. A simple trick is to wear a vintage tailored garment borrowed from a parent or partner to give it that lived-in vintage feel. Don't forget to add modern details in shoes or other pieces to make more 2018.

Big accessories

Drama, drama, drama. That's the crucial thing to remember when searching for accessories to celebrate the eighties. Take inspiration from retro divas and style icons of the era to give credence to your look. Think Madonna, Grace Jones, Janet Jackson or Alexis Colby from Dynasty

Bold shoulders

Want to embody 1980's glamour in one look? Focus on a great big shoulder. The shoulder pad is is synonymous with the era just as the mullet and 'beauty pageant' 'dos. For those sceptics dress down the look by keeping the focus on the dramatic detail. 


We have 1980's hip hop tastemakers to thank for this one. Expand those athleisure horizons by accesorizing your look with gold jewellery, bucket hats or oversized tees.

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