Dressing up for the 80s: Unlocking Fashion’s Retro Time Capsule

What to wear with an 80s dress: Embracing Retro Fashion

The 1980s was a decade known for its bold and vibrant fashion trends. From neon colors to oversized silhouettes, 80s fashion was all about making a statement. If you’re attending an 80s themed event or party and wondering what to wear, this guide will help you embrace the retro fashion of the era and put together a standout 80s outfit.

1. Embrace the power of neon

When it comes to dressing for an 80s themed event, neon colors are an absolute must. The ’80s was a decade defined by its love of bright and bold colors. To channel this trend, opt for a neon dress or incorporate neon accents into your outfit. A fluorescent pink or electric blue dress paired with neon accessories like bangle bracelets or statement earrings will instantly transport you back to the ’80s.

If you prefer a more subtle approach, wear a neutral dress and accessorize with neon accents. A black dress with neon belts or a white dress with neon shoes can add a pop of color while maintaining a modern touch. Remember, the key is to embrace the boldness of the era, so don’t be afraid to experiment with neon hues.

2. Play with prints and patterns

The 80s was a time of experimentation with print and pattern. From geometric shapes to animal prints, this decade celebrated bold and eclectic designs. To achieve an authentic ’80s look, incorporate prints and patterns into your clothing ensemble.

Consider opting for a dress with a vibrant geometric print, such as bold, contrasting triangles or squares. Alternatively, animal prints such as zebra or leopard were also popular during this time. Look for a dress in one of these prints or add an animal print accessory like a scarf or belt to your outfit.

If you prefer a more subtle approach, you can incorporate smaller prints like polka dots or stripes. These prints were also popular in the 80s and can add a touch of retro charm to your outfit.

3. Experiment with silhouettes

The 80s was a decade of exaggerated silhouettes and oversized shapes. Embrace this trend by choosing a dress with a voluminous silhouette. Look for dresses with puffed sleeves, structured shoulders or a cinched waist to create an authentic 80s look.
An iconic silhouette from the ’80s is the “power suit” style. Opt for a dress with a structured blazer-like top and a fitted or pleated skirt to channel the power dressing trend of the era. Pair with bold accessories and high heels to complete the look.

For a more casual and relaxed outfit, consider a loose-fitting dress with dropped shoulders or a trapeze silhouette. These silhouettes were also popular in the ’80s and can add a nostalgic touch to your outfit.

4. Accessorize with bold jewelry

No 80s dress ensemble is complete without bold and statement jewelry. The ’80s was a decade of excess, and accessories were no exception. To complement your dress, opt for chunky pieces that make a statement.

Large, oversized earrings were especially popular in the ’80s. Look for geometric shapes, neon colors or metallic finishes to add an authentic touch to your outfit. Layering multiple necklaces or wearing one bold, chunky necklace can also enhance your 80s look.

Don’t forget to accessorize your wrists with stacked bangle bracelets or colorful jelly bracelets. These accessories were iconic in the 80s and will add a playful and nostalgic element to your outfit.

5. Finish with retro shoes

To complete your 80s outfit, pay attention to your choice of shoes. The ’80s saw the rise of bold and unconventional shoe styles that perfectly complemented the fashion of the era.

Consider high-top sneakers in bright colors or bold patterns. These sneakers were popular in the ’80s and can add an athletic and casual touch to your outfit. Alternatively, you can choose ankle boots with chunky heels or brightly colored pumps to add a touch of sophistication to your outfit.

Remember to have fun with your footwear choices and embrace the eclectic and daring nature of 80s fashion. Whether you opt for sneakers, boots or pumps, choose a style that reflects your personal taste and completes your 80s-inspired look.


Dressing for an 80s themed event allows you to embrace the bold and vibrant fashion trends of the era. By incorporating neon colors, playing with prints and patterns, experimenting with silhouettes, accessorizing with bold jewelry, and choosing retro footwear, you can create an authentic and standout 80s outfit. Remember to have fun, be confident and let the spirit of the 80s guide your fashion choices. By following these tips, you’ll be ready to rock the 80s look with style and flair. Enjoy your journey back in time and make a fashion statement that will stand out at any 80s dress event!


What do I wear to an 80s dress?

To dress for an 80s-themed event, you can consider the following elements:

Bright and bold colors: The 80s were known for their vibrant color palette, so opt for neon shades, hot pinks, electric blues, and bold yellows.

Leg warmers and neon tights: These were popular accessories in the 80s and can add an authentic touch to your outfit.

Acid-washed jeans: Embrace the denim trend of the 80s with a pair of acid-washed jeans. Look for high-waisted styles or opt for a denim jacket.

Shoulder pads: The 80s were all about power dressing, so consider adding shoulder pads to your outfit for a bold and structured look.

Graphic t-shirts: Look for t-shirts featuring iconic 80s bands, movies, or pop culture references.

Oversized accessories: Chunky jewelry, oversized sunglasses, and large hoop earrings were all the rage in the 80s.

Hairstyles: Consider styling your hair in a voluminous way, with crimping, teased bangs, or a side ponytail for an authentic 80s look.

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