Bringing Retro Back: ’80s and ’90s Styles Then and Now

Today's retro-inspired styles make it easy to relive '80s and '90s fashions with more flare and less teen angst  

There’s no need to attend a retro party to reminisce about your favourite ’80s or ’90s fashions. Just head to the mall for a blast from the past and you’ll be the bombdigity

While the slang terms and colloquialismsare probably better left in the past, some of the most memorable fashion trends from the ’80s and ’90s have returned, and they’re hot.

But while fashion tends to repeat itself, you certainly don’t have to – especially when it comes to styles you’d prefer to leave behind (shoulder pads come to mind).

Here’s a look at how to incorporate the best of each decade into today’s wardrobe without sacrificing the soshistication you’ve gained along the way.

Animal Prints

Snakeskin, zebra, and leopard prints were popular in both the ’80s and ’90s, appearing on pants, jackets, and accessories.

Mayim Bialik, who played Blossom on the show of the same name, was a poster child for wild ’80s patterns, mixing and matching animal prints with floral and tribal designs for a fun yet sophisticated-beyond-her-years effect.

With animal prints roaring back to popularity, you can take a walk on the wild side once again with this sleek Leopard Print Utility Jacket from Forever 21.

Drainpipe Jeans and Plaid Flannel Shirts

Drainpipe jeans, now known as skinny jeans, were originally made popular by ’80s and ’90s heavy metal and glam metal bands (not to mention Blossom’s sidekick Six, played by Jenna von Oÿ). Today they’re a wardrobe staple.

The 90s added plaid flannel shirts to the mix, always tied around the waist. Today, fitted plaid shirts like this one fromLevi’sand dark skinny jeans bring a touch of class to a casual outfit. Pull on a leather jacket, and you’re good to go.

Canvas Footwear

Full House’s Stephanie Tanner would have adored today’s floral canvas sneakers, straight out of the ’80s. And sometimes there’s nothing sweeter than stepping out of the pumps or stilettos and into something a little more comfortable.

Enter canvas footwear. This blast from the past is back and super easy to slip on with a cute spring outfit like capris (or skinny jeans) and a tank top, or even a summer dress. Grab yourself a snazzy pair or two, like the vibrant Women’s Rio Sneaker from Payless.

Cuffed Blazers and Boyfriend Jeans

Modified men’s garments, like blazers and jeans, gained popularity in the ’80s, as exemplified by Saved by the Bell’s Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani Thiessen), who routinely paired boyfriend jeans and suspenders with midriff-baring tops and cuffed blazers.

While today’s tops mercifully offer a lot more coverage, ’80s-style blazers have become a women’s work essential.

Try a three-quarter cuffed blazer like thisCrested Button Blazerfrom Forever 21with dress shorts or pants for a professional look, or go more casual with a pair ofBoyfriend Jeansfrom Gap.

Metallic Makeup and Neon Colours

As Cyndi Lauper once said, “Girls just wanna have fun,” and the adage holds true today. And what could be more fun than adding flare to your get-up with sparkly metallic makeup and vibrant neon accessories?

Create a look that lasts Time after Time with metallic eyeshadow like Outrageous Prisma Chrome from Sephora, and bright neon Catmaster Sunglasses from Urban Outfitters.

Printed Leggings

Madonna mastered the leggings-under-mini-skirt look in the ’80s, but today, you can skip the skirt and wear printed leggings on their own or with a tunic.

Only Leggingsoffers hundreds of different styles from basic solid colours, to dressier formal leggings, to wild ’80s-inspired patterns that come in full-length, knee-length, or boy shorts.

Platform Sandals

An iconic symbol of the disco era, platform shoes regained popularity in the ’90s, as any self-respecting Spice Girls fan would know. Today they’re called wedges, and they’re back in a big way.

This spring, complement your dresses or capris in a posh wedge like the Natalia Wedge Sandal from Payless.

Bringing Retro Back