1980s Fads

The 80s were arguably one of the most fad-filled decades of all time.

Some 1980s fads stuck around and are still a part of life today while others are stuck in the 80s until further notice.

Some of the most obvious 1980s fads were part of the 80s fashion world. One big one is shoulder pads.

The women in primetime soaps such as Dallas and Dynasty were the major enablers of this trend. Shoulder pads were in blazers, dress shirts, jackets, and even some t-shirts.

Another significant fad was jelly shoes. They were the soft, flexible plastic shoes that came in any color, including neon, and some had glitter throughout the plastic. They were also cheap enough that you could buy a few pairs and have a color for any outfit.

Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses were just as popular as jelly shoes, if not more so, because they were worn by both men and women. Plain black was mysterious and classy while zebra prints and neon were fun and trendy.

Another fad was rubber bracelets. Worn in multiples, these bracelets came in basic black and any neon colors. Like the jelly shoes, some of these bracelets had glitter. These bracelets were perfect for another fad – the fingerless lace gloves made popular by Madonna.

Creating a club that everyone wanted to be part of, Members Only jackets were also a big part of the 80s. They were a cotton/polyester blend with a nylon lining, button collar, elastic waist, and were the epitome of coolness.

Any mention of 80s fads without including leg warmers would be a travesty. Leg warmers were one of those fads that are synonymous with anything 80s. The movie Flashdance helped make legwarmers mainstream, and our calves thanked us. No matter the season, we remained nice and toasty.

The Rubik’s Cube was one of the most maddening fads of the 80s. Trying to make one side of the cube the same color was challenging enough, let alone all six sides.

Swatch Watches were also a hot fad. These plastic watches came in any color from basic black and white to bright neon, even animal print. They also had rubber guards you could add to them in any contrasting color or pattern. Part of the fad was to wear as many of these watches as you could fit on your arm.

In the 80s, color in general was a fad. Neon was everywhere; fashion, accessories, decor – even nail polish and makeup.

Boom boxes were carried around as much as the Walkman, and was a necessity for another 80s fad – break dancing. Hip-hop and pop – the fresh beats helped dancers pop and lock with yet another 80s fad – parachute pants.

Parachute pants were not made from actual parachutes. They were, however made from the same rip-stop nylon to facilitate dance moves on any smooth surface.

The 80s were possibly one of the brightest and most entertaining decades yet. Every decade has its own trends, but 1980s fads are instantly recognizable and made the 80s the totally awesome decade that they were.