'80s Fashion Trends That Are Making A Big Comeback In 2023

It's no secret that fashion trends are cyclical, and what once was considered tacky or outdated can become the latest trend. In recent years we've seen this with the return of '90s and early aughts styles. With low-rise jeans, chunky heels, and velour tracksuits coming back in style, it's more apparent than ever that fashion is constantly recycling and reimagining old trends. So, it should be no surprise that trend forecasters are predicting '80s styles coming back in 2023.

When it comes to fashion, the '80s didn't take itself too seriously. It was a time for bold prints, bright colors, big hair, and an overall attitude of "more is more." While it's doubtful that there will be a full '80s revival, you can look forward to some of your favorite nostalgic trends coming back with a modern spin. From fun accessories to splashy fabrics to bold silhouettes, 2023 fashion will definitely be taking a page or two from the decade of greed, and we can't wait.

Large and structured bangles

The '80s were full of fun and bold statement pieces in clothing and accessories. And a style that really illustrates that attitude were the large bangle bracelets that people stacked on their wrists. This fun trend is due to make a comeback in 2023, and you'll be seeing more and more of these chunky bracelets jangling on everyone's wrists.

As reported by Vogue, we've already been witnessing the return of bangles, with designers like Alexander McQueen and LaQuan Smith incorporating the trend into their runway shows. And modern style icons like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Bella Hadid, and Olivia Wilde have been seen wearing them. Although '80s bangles often included bright colors, the reinvented bangle style tends to use metallics or neutral colors like black. But that's not to say they're boring. Designers have been incorporating unique, structural shapes to make the accessory catch the eye even more.

Although it's always fun to hop on a new style, when it comes to bringing trendy pieces like bangles into your wardrobe, jewelry designer and curator Stephanie Gottlieb told StyleCaster that she recommends opting for cheaper options. Since they aren't wardrobe staples and will likely go out of style again, it's more budget-conscious to go with affordable options. "Buy costume to start and upgrade over time as the budget allows. You can sprinkle in less expensive fashion-forward trendy pieces," Gottlieb said.

Comfortable, stylish leg warmers

Nothing screams '80s fashion quite like leg warmers. Leg warmers were originally made for dancers. The snuggly fashion accessories are worn over the lower leg in an effort to keep muscles warm. But, thanks to pop culture moments like Madonna's "Hung Up On You" music video and "Flashdance," the style became a sensation that people wore as an everyday fashion accessory.

Teen Vogue predicts this trend coming back in a big way in 2023. You can already see this style taking off, with model and trendsetter Bella Hadid sharing pictures of herself in legwarmers on her Instagram and brands like Miu Miu featuring legwarmers in their Fall 2022 runway show. You can also find plenty of tips for how to style this trend on TikTok, with users pairing their legwarmers with everything from UGG boots to Mary Janes. You can find a way to incorporate this style into any aesthetic, and it's just in time to keep you warm this winter.

That said, you don't have to relegate them to the colder months. As stylist Al-Fuquan Green told Essence, "I enjoy seeing them used during the summer with athletic wear [and] during the winter as a layering component."

All things acid washed

Acid-washed denim was all the rage in the '80s and '90s, and it's a trend that is predicted to come back in 2023. This is a fun trend that you can easily add to your wardrobe in the coming seasons. You can also make the fashion statement as bold or as subtle as you like — you can dress head to toe in acid-washed denim or purchase one staple piece like an oversized denim jacket or midi denim skirt (coincidentally also predicted to be making a comeback).

Although this trend is inspired by the '80s, you'll be seeing modern takes on the style in 2023. Tim Kaeding, creative director and co-founder of MOTHER Denim, spoke to The Zoe Report about where he sees this exciting trend going. "People are wanting to have fun with the way they dress again and experimenting with washes is a great way to do that," he said. And one of the ways to have fun with this style is with bold colors. Instead of the typical indigo hue, you'll be seeing acid-washed pieces in many bright colors, especially in maximalist matching sets. When styling these bold pieces, Kaeding recommends pairing them with a white t-shirt for some contrast.

Oversized blazers and power suits

The '80s power suit was more than an iconic fashion moment — it was a statement of women's empowerment. With more and more women entering the male-dominated business world, the power suit became a staple in many wardrobes. The '80s power suit is similar to traditional men's business suits but specifically tailored for women. Its signature cut with padded shoulders and careful tailoring looked powerful while still embracing femininity. Along with the power suit taking off, oversized blazers became a fun way to incorporate the slightly masculine style into more casual everyday outfits.

These styles have been reentering mainstream fashion for a time, but in 2023 their significance has changed slightly. As Elle pointed out, we're now seeing power suits and blazers worn more androgynously by all genders. Both power suits and blazers were featured heavily in Fall 2022 fashion week, so you can expect to see more of them in Spring 2023. Gucci's runway show, in particular, featured boldly colored power suits and supersized blazers.

The great thing about the blazers is that you can wear them over a wide range of styles. A large blazer can be worn into the office, be used to elevate jeans and a t-shirt, or add an unexpected twist worn over a mini dress.

Bright, bold colors

While '80s fashion was many things, it definitely wasn't subtle. When it came to color, brights and neons reigned supreme, and it looks like some of those bold color trends are returning in 2023. We'll be seeing more and more eye-catching colors, not just as small color pops but often in the whole outfit (via Elle). We've seen the monochromatic trend on the runway for a few years now, and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

Pantone Color Institute has forecasted that color trends in spring 2023 will emphasize individualism. Some of the bold hues they predict taking over the season are Beetroot Purple (a deep fuchsia), Tangelo (a rich orange), and Empire Yellow (a bright and vibrant yellow). It's the perfect year to experiment with colors and try something new and exciting.

Fashion psychologist Shakaila Forbes-Bell told The Zoe Report that we'll be seeing an increase in happy hues with bold patterns to match the bright colors. Explaining this trend, Forbes-Bell said, "With an uptick in individualism, it can be expected that, in 2023, fashion will rise as one of the leading vehicles for self-expression and experimentation. Many consumers have had their fill of functional fashion since the pandemic and are now looking at their fashion finds as more of a treat."

Sharp shoulder pads

The '80s experimented with silhouettes by adding shoulder pads to blazers, blouses, and more casual tops. Shoulder pads have gone in and out of fashion for many decades. They are heavily associated with the '80s but also made appearances in the '30s and '60s.

Reflecting on times when this trend took off, Elle Canada tracked how the raised shoulders coincided with significant moments in the feminist movement. Elsa Schiaparelli, a fashion designer who incorporated shoulder pads into her '30s designs, once said of the look, "In difficult times, fashion is always outrageous." And this "outrageous" look is coming back in vogue with designers like Rick Owens and Demna Gvasalia reimaging the style for today.

In 2023, you'll see severe shoulder pads in blazers, padded tops, and crop tops. Vejas Kruszewski, creative director and founder of Vejas, told The Zoe Report, "The exaggerated and body-conscious silhouettes suggest some idea of mastery and control over ourselves and our bodies, which I can sense is desirable given the general complete uncertainty and anxieties of the moment today."

Ethereal lace ensembles

According to Elle, lace was initially popularized in the '80s by pop stars and took off in mainstream fashion. We'll be seeing more of this feminine and whimsical fabric in 2023. Runway designs included lace dresses and sets. Some models showed off head-to-toe lace looks, while other designs embraced lace in smaller details throughout the outfit. You'll be seeing both versions show up in 2023.

Pinterest has predicted that 2023 will bring in more airy styles, including lace, ruffles, and tulle. "Combining ethereal sensuality with the dreamlike quality of ballet, this trend is a gender-agnostic expression of femininity and strength," Pinterest wrote (via Glamour). Long-sleeved lace tops have been heavily searched on Pinterest and will likely be a staple piece for layering and wearing on their own. Retailers such as Urban Outfitters and Reformation have already made their own spins on the lacy trend.

Polka dots

The '80s were all about bold patterns — and one that pop artists, royalty, and the public couldn't get enough of were polka dots. According to The Vou, this trend really took off in 1985 when French fashion house Emanuel Ungaro featured it in its ready-to-wear collection. Princess Dianna was often seen wearing polka-dot dresses, which further popularized the look — and now her daughter-in-law, Catherine, Princess of Wales, is embracing the trend.

Though polka dots were considered dated for after the '80s came and went, Who What Wear predicted they'd be showing up in sophisticated ways throughout 2023. You'll be seeing more and more polka dot skirts, slip dresses, and tops. Vogue also reported that this '80s trend is making a resurgence, with many designers bringing the print back into their collections.

When it comes to styling polka dot looks, Vogue recommends sticking to black and white polka dots for a timeless and safe look. But, if you want to go for a bolder look, you can try brighter colors like pink, blues, and red, which will play up the fun '80s feel of any look.

Slouch boots

Princess Diana did a great job styling is slouch boots — another beloved '80s trend. According to Elle, we'll be seeing more outfits paired with this boot style in 2023. The shoe style gets its name because of how the material is relaxed enough to scrunch in some areas, adding texture to any outfit. They're a versatile fashion piece that can be dressy, casual, and everything in between. Princess Diana would pair these boots with laidback, sporty style, as well as wearing them for more official occasions, giving her classic ensembles a youthful and approachable feel.

Slouch boots can be heeled or flat. As Who What Wear has predicted that small kitten heels will be quite popular in 2023, a kitten-heeled slouchy boot will surely be a wardrobe staple that can take you through multiple seasons and styles. Free People's Sloane Slouch Boot in gold is a great option for a more formal look, or try something like the Remy Knee Boot for a more versatile black option.

Moto jackets

Moto jackets are an edgier take on classic leather jackets inspired by motorcycle or racing outfits. These leather jackets typically include hardware like large zippers and other details. Though the look never went fully out of style, it definitely had its biggest moment in the '80s, and now the trend is growing again.

More motor and racing-inspired looks have been appearing on the runway, and consumers are loving the return of the moto look. "In 2022, leather biker and moto jackets surged in popularity ... we saw a 61% increase in search demand for moto jackets," The RealReal senior fashion lead Noelle Sciacca told The Zoe Report.

And that trend only seems to be growing going into 2023. Stella McCartney's Spring 2023 show featured a number of motocross-inspired jackets and styles, pushing this trend forward even further. When it comes to buying and styling your own moto jacket, Elle recommends leaning into the oversized like to combine '80s nostalgia with a more modern feel.

The bubble hem

Bubble hems were another fun and girly style embraced wholeheartedly in the '80s. The hem of a bubble skirt is tucked under at the bottom, creating — as the name suggests — a voluminous, bubble-like effect. The style was actually first seen in the '50s, and according to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising Museum, it was a popular choice for evening, cocktail, and prom wear. The '80s picked up the '50s trend again, using the hemline in formal looks as well as incorporating it into more casual designs. Once again, Princess Diana was at the forefront of the trend and often spotted wearing the '80s take on the style.

For years the bubble hemline has been notably out of style, but Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at Matches Fashion, told The Zoe Report, "The bubble hem made a triumphant return for spring." Khaite was one designer to reimagine the hemline into sophisticated looks for the Spring 2023 runway. And Proenza Schouler played with proportions by pairing a voluminous bubble skirt with small tops in their Spring Collection.

Barbie pink everything

Various shades of pink have been popular for a few seasons now, and that's not going away any time soon. Kate Bellman, Nordstrom's senior managing fashion editor, commented on the trend to The Zoe Report saying, "We're all thinking pink as it emerges in all shades as the standout color of the season." From light pink to almost purple, this color trend goes hand in hand with Barbiecore, an '80s and '90s-inspired aesthetic. As you can probably guess from the name, Barbiecore is a style that incorporates shades of pink, bold styles, and lots of feminine elements.

"Barbiecore fashion is anything that references the fabulous world of Barbie," fashion stylist Samantha Brown told CNN of this emerging nostalgic trend. "Particularly in hot pink and bubblegum." Going beyond just the color, stylist Britt Theodora said, "[This look is] embracing, as Barbie would, a 'more is more' energy. Matching your shoes, bag, jewelry and accessories is imperative."

The Barbiecore style has blown up on TikTok, with users showing off their favorite all-pink looks. And with the "Barbie" movie set to be released in summer 2023, you'll likely only see this trend growing.

Metallic fabrics

Of the many flashy looks that trended in the '80s were metallic fashion pieces. These futuristic, almost robotic-like styles called for small metallic details and entirely silver looks. As Popsugar noted, metallic has been trending again for a few seasons, with TikTok styles particularly pushing it forward.

Speaking to The Zoe Report, Liane Wiggins, head of womenswear at Matchesfashion, predicted, "Strong statement metallics will be a standout trend of the season." You can incorporate the trend into your own wardrobe with strong statement pieces like silver pants or metallic boots.

Going into 2023, you will also see the metallic trend reimagined with flowy skirts, silver sequins, and innovative fabrics like metallic chenille. We've seen the return of this shimmery style in Spring 2023 lines from designers like Jil Sander and Brandon Maxwell. Sander's line included new takes on the '80s trend with textured gold pants and feathered silver skirts. Additionally, Maxwell used more colorful and patterned metallics.