Help for African American Teens embracing 80s fashion

They will be ok, as long as they stay away from biking shorts. Lord please!

The post I did on black youth and 80s fashion has been very popular. The comments are interesting to say the least. Well, there is nothing like BAD RETRO. You know, when people think they are representing a period in history, but just look like a modern interpretation. If you are going to do 80s, you need to know 80s, youngin (DC slang…sorry). actually has a great database of clothing styles that could serve as a guide for all you wanna be preppies and jocks.

Here are some 80s fashion staples…

  • Wearing a sweater tied around your neck – ” Often worn over an Izod button down oxford, over an Izod polo shirt with the collar turned up”
  • Satin Jackets – Shiny jackets that buttoned down the front. Collar and wristbands always had two stripes
  • WigWams/Slouch Socks Baggy socks worn by females, worn layered in various colors
  • Adidas – White, always high-tops. Shell toed Adidas were popular with the hip hop community (See Run DMC)
  • Hair Bows – “A headband with a big bow on it worn to the side like Madonna in the Material Girl video. Girls usually made their hair big and frizzy to cover up the strap so that only the bow would stick out.”
  • Asymmetrical Haircuts – (See “Mushroom cut” and Salt n’ Peppa, Push it Era)
  • Name Earrings – Big earrings worn with your name or boyfriends name in them. (See Door Knockers)

What 80s fashions do you love???


Filed under african american, black, change, children, clothing, culture, history, opinion, washington dc, youth

16 Responses to Help for African American Teens embracing 80s fashion

  1. FoxyScholar

    **reaches for 1987 high school yearbook**
    –asymmetric bobs
    –side crew cuts (??)

    –designer gym shoes
    –Guess overalls
    –Forenza T-shirts (??)
    –Roots sweatshirts
    –mock turtleneck sweaters

    Also: double belts, leggings

  2. I want a Members Only jacket. Other than that, I don’t care for 80s fashion.

  3. yvonnjanae

    I gotta admit, I loved me some shoulder pads (I have NO shoulders) I know they looked crazy but they made me feel all powerful or something.

    And Karl Kani kente outfits, for fun.

  4. Thanks Foxy Scholar, I forgot about “lines”. Lines in your fade. Lines in your eyebrows. Oh, who can forget that.

  5. ce89

    i knw same here those styles before was great fantastic

  6. i think retro…makes da black community show who they r…..
    makes the youth have a voice..
    ilove retro…..
    i really wanna kno wer to find outfits like that coz der sho sho…der doin aloot..

  7. phntsticpeg

    We were able to pull off those styles because the 80’s was about the turn of the millenium. We were on the verge of the technology boom. Everything was futuristic…it was an exciting time. We knew it was coming.

    We were creating hip hop on street corners with mixed tapes in big ass boom boxes. Graffiti was art in the street, breakdancing and rapping was a way to settle scores without guns.

    And the styles were AWFUL! But we didn’t know any better. We could experiment because everybody was experimenting. Everything in that era followed a post modern, brightly colored, simple graphic design. You couldn’t help it.

    You could have different styles and still be “down”. I did the “Salt N Pepa” look, the “preppy” look, the “NYC Webo girl” look (the spanish ghetto style – hoodie or Le Tigre shirt, Serucci jeans, name belt, shell top adidas and a DA haircut with a blond tipped tail and LOTS of black eyeliner. Think Lisa Lisa and the Cult Jam) amongst others. We had hand painted jeans (esp. two toned denim) and jackets, name plates – all that. I remember Lisa Bonet being my style icon on the Cosby show.

    Now, I don’t see that kind of creatively flowing. It’s great copying of a style but no understanding of why it mattered.

    The funny part in all this is our influence – I think our generation created the name brand fever that persist today with our youth. Had to have Lees, BK’s, Cazelle’s, Member’s Only, Le Tigre…drove my parents crazy.

    The only pluses to this 80’s revival is that we’re going to hear a lot more old school music, graffiti art will make a return and the young boys will now pull their damn pants up!

    Btw, want to see more 80’s images? Get the book “A Time Before Crack” by Jamel Shabazz. He’s got the all the old school street poses in it, plus the styles. Amazing stuff.

  8. mimi

    can anybody tell me where i can get a jacket like salt&pepa wore in the push it video or tell me a good idea what i should wear to an 80’s throw back party? i was born in 80 but it was the mid so im lost. somebody pls help me

  9. Ok this site was ok but im a teen and teens are dressing 80’s but were not wearing the big hoops nor the addidas.

    -skinny jeans
    -nike dunks,SBs,Vans,Pennyloafers

    -skinny jeans
    -gladiator sandals
    -sun dresses

  10. i like the 80s fashions featured in jet and ebony magazines. also, i love those in “coming to america (1988),” “strictly business (1991),” “the last dragon (1985),” and, yes, i even like the fashion in “purple rain.” i also like those old 80s high school movies with little white girls running around the locker rooms dancing. i like “the breakfast club,” “teen witch!!!,” “pretty in pink,” “sweet 16,” “one of the guys,” etc.

    im actually on here looking for help in Black 80s fashions. i used to love to look at my mom’s old jet magazines and dream of growing up and looking like those fashionable ladies. someone give me some pointers, please. and i know ebony fashion fair cosmetic line is a must.

  11. ok i forgot to mention “rhythm of the night,” lionel richie music videos, and all freddy jackson music videos. i love 80s music videos. i know i left some stuff out but, hey.

  12. ok i know y’all are getting tired of me writing. but i also look at the first seasons of “the cosby show” and “a different world”

  13. Hi I sumbled upon your article by accident, I was surfing around Bing for Designer Fashion when I came upon your website, I must say your webpage is very cool I just love the content, its astounding!. I’m in a bit of a rush at the moment to fully read your webpage but I have favorited it and also subscribed for your RSS feeds. I will be back in a day or two. Thanks for a great site.

  14. Now THAT’S what I call an interesting take on this subject. What I would advise perhaps is talking to other people actively involved in the scene and bring to day any other points of view and then update your site or create a new article for us to read. I hope you’ll take my advice, I’m looking forward to it! Try to cover off on some graffiti characters as well if you can, they’re quite popular at the moment.

  15. Lisa

    The African leather necklace pouches with the tri-colors. I owned 3. The Malcolm X shorts outfits. Door knocker earrings. Them stretchy plastic bracelets in all colors.

    Overalls in crazy colors (I recall Yellow drenched dark denims, turquoise and red, there was even the pink for girls)) that the guys wore with one shoulder off and one shoulder up.

    Layering the really short minis over biker shorts or leggings. Belts worn low off the waist and down on the hips, slung. The Forenzia shirts with the stripes. Coca cola shirts/sweatshirts. Boatshoes and no socks. Name plate everything. Gold teeth caps you could buy at a local store in the hood. The chicks were doing salon finger waves, s-curls and hair volume was Queen for the ladies. Stacks of curls, sides shaved low and the top full. Or long and teased

    Something you all suburban types don’t know about the youth in the cities – Using the oil based incense stuff they sold in little tubes as cologne. Lasted forever and the guys that didn’t shop at malls used it for long lasting cologne.

  16. Jezzaci

    Thanks You really help me I was doing a national history day project. Its the reaction of 70’s and 80’s style. I needed to know what black people wore in the 80’s Thanks again. I will let you know if I win

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