Chunky '80s-Inspired Jewelry Is Set To Knock The Minimalist Trend Off Of Its Throne

Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" achieved global success in 2014. In 2019, the book was adapted into a popular Netflix series, leading millions to reevaluate their possessions and ask themselves, "does this spark joy?" (via The Atlantic). The COVID-19 Pandemic launched a surge in minimalist fashion, with many opting for simple, comfortable designs for their stuck-at-home aesthetic (via L'Officiel). "To me, [minimalism] is about paring down garments to their purest form, stripping them of unnecessary embellishments, and just focusing entirely on tailoring and purpose," stylist Rachel Wang explains to Harper's Bazaar. "In a way, minimalism renders clothing nondescript, unidentifiable, and the person wearing them could be anyone, anywhere."

But fashion is cyclical. What The Conversation calls "millennial minimalism" is in the process of being overrun by Gen Z maximalism — as much of the world reopens, many are finding that the less is more approach no longer "sparks joy." According to BuzzFeed, TikTok creators like Sara Camposarcone (@saracampz) and Thalia Castro-Vega (@polychrom3) have become synonymous with maximalist fashion, incorporating voluminous fabrics, contrasting patterns, and (of course) '80s-inspired chunky jewelry into their viral style. If you're looking to part ways with a minimalistic aesthetic and embrace loud and proud '80s styles, there's no better place to start than with chunky jewelry.

The '80s were all about hoops

As Yekaterina Barbash, Curator of Egyptian art at the Brooklyn Museum, told The New York Times, that hoop earrings were first worn in Nubia, a place we now know as Sudan. By the 1980s, celebrities from Sade to Cyndi Lauper were associated with the look. L'Officiel points to Tom Ford's Spring/Summer 2023 runway show as evidence of a 2020s reimagining of hoop earrings; Gigi and Bella Hadid both sported extra-chunky accessories, completing their bedazzled fits with '80s-style teased hair. To add similar oversized earrings to your collection (without the designer price tag), look to Etsy. Alternatively, check out this collection of classic '80s neon hoops on Amazon.

Find a set of Princess Diana pearls

Throughout the 1980s, Princess Diana was known for her famous Collingwood pearl drop earrings, an accessory most recently worn by Catherine, Princess of Wales, per The Court Jeweler. To find a pair for yourself, minus the diamonds, check out the virtual shelves of Amazon. Like Diana, match your new earrings with a chunky pearl choker like this design from Urban Outfitters and an off-the-shoulder dress. Alternatively, keep it casual in an oversized blazer — don't forget the shoulder pads. 

Don't shy away from big vintage brooches

The origin of brooches can be traced back well over 3,000 years to the Bronze Age, according to Veranda. As explained by Cynthia Trope, associate curator of product design and decorative arts at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, "These expressive pieces of personal ornamentation have been used for centuries to communicate all sorts of ideas about everything from personal preferences and social status to broader political and social and cultural ideas." Brooches continued to be a fashion staple throughout the 1980s, as evidenced by Molly Ringwald's "Pretty in Pink" wardrobe, but lost steam at the turn of the century. Bring back the brooch with something like this 1980s vintage Saturn and stars pin from Free People, or adorn your collar like one of The Heathers with a bumble bee brooch from Wolf & Badger

High-rise jeans aren't complete without a chunky '80s belt

"Stranger Things" costume designer Amy Parris recommends thrifting if you're hoping to find one-of-a-kind pieces. "It's more sustainable for the environment and way more unique for your closet," she tells Harper's Bazaar. "To bring an '80s outfit into today's styles, wear a more fitted top with a baggier pant, or wear a longer baggier shirt over a legging and don't be scared to add a big belt, they loved those in the '80s!" For starters, check out Etsy to find an assortment of pre-owned (impressively chunky) vintage belts. Alternatively, although this suede square buckle belt from Wolf & Badger might be brand new, it looks right out of a John Hughes movie.

Geometric statement earrings are replacing simple studs

Neon geometric earrings were big in the '80s (literally), per Vogue. These Abcrete & Co available on Madewell come in three '80s-worthy colors: lime green, cobalt blue, and light purple. Alternatively, rummage through thrift store jewelry bins (or your mother's 1980s collection like @gracebritt) to find authentic '80s designs: drooping hearts, pointed stars, or even these abstract squiggle earrings from Asos. While you're at it, take expert style inspiration from @virgoprince_ and pair your vintage finds with color-blocked crew necks, acid-wash jeans, or even a bright vinyl skirt and knee-highs.

You can never have too many bangles

With songs like "Papa Don't Preach" and "Holiday," Madonna's music was the unofficial soundtrack of the '80s. But the pop star also made waves in the fashion world — just take a look at her larger-than-life jewelry moments in the music videos for "Material Girl" and "Like a Virgin." In 1985, Madonna starred in the movie "Desperately Seeking Susan," wearing layers upon layers of black bangle bracelets contrasted with delicate lace gloves (via Entertainment Weekly). To replicate the look, stock up on these Etsy vintage bracelets or invest in multiple edgy black leather bangles on Amazon. Complete the fit with lace opera gloves. Now, nearly 40 years later, chunky bracelets have seen an uptick in popularity. Addison Rae accessorized with weighty silver bangles at the 2022 Grammy Awards, per InStyle. Find similarly-bold bracelets at Macy's.

'80s chain necklaces are bigger than ever

The musical influence of artists like Salt-N-Pepper, N.W.A, and MC Lyte continued well beyond the '80s. In a 2015 Billboard interview with N.W.A, Kendrick Lamar discusses the group's lasting impact. "N.W.A did a lot more than entertain. They told the truth," says the rapper. Inspired by the hip-hop world, gold jewelry became a staple accessory in the '80s. Now, four decades later, bulky chains have become a go-to for celebrities like Billie Eilish, Rihanna, and Miley Cyrus, per Cosmopolitan Middle East. Anya Taylor-Joy of "The Queen's Gambit" even sported the look at the 2023 Golden Globes, per CNN Style. Buy your own Bychari gold chain or scroll through Amazon to find the chunky necklace that's right for you.

Clip-on button earrings are the way to go

For the past few years, button earrings have made a resurgence in the fashion world. They're big, they're bold, and — sometimes — you don't even need to have pierced ears to wear them. Clip-ons were popular throughout the '80s and, according to Vogue, designers like Oscar de la Renta have contributed to their recent comeback. Pair your formal wear with these classy Kenneth Jay Lane faux pearl earrings. Alternatively, try out this shell disc Karine Sultan design.

Don't forget '80s statement rings

From shoulder pads to teased hair, bigger was better in the '80s. That included rings. Though TikTok creator @sammijefcoate layers her impressive gold and diamond jewelry collection, you can opt for a few chunky statement pieces to get the job done. The summer of 2020 was all about statement pieces, per Vogue. And, if Instagram is any indication, pops of color are still very much in style. Start with this bold orange and turquoise Urban Outfitters ring and match it with a set of chunky ear cuffs for good measure. If you want to go the distance, make sure your outfit is reminiscent of Olivia Newton John's from the "Let's Get Physical" music video.

Why wear one necklace when you can layer ten?

From Cyndi Lauper and her layers upon layers of colorful beads to Madonna and her collection of crucifix chains, '80s pop stars were fans of excess. According to Vogue India, today's celebrities are also taking a "more the merrier" approach when it comes to their jewelry. At the 2023 Golden Globes, Jenny Ortega accessorized a nude Gucci gown with a collection of three Tiffany & Co. diamond necklaces (via Harper's Bazaar). To get the ball rolling, check out this triple-layer set from Anthropologie.

Combine fashion with function and wear an '80s neon watch

Like everything else – movies, clothing, music – watches were big and bright in the '80s, per Uniform Wares. According to the site, Swatch was among the most popular brands, responsible for geometric, color-blocked, and pop culture-inspired designs. Today, Swatch is still very much active — take a look at their rainbow "Let's Parade" design or even personalize your own Swatch. Alternatively, GQ advertises Kid Cudi's colorful, '80s-esque watch collaboration with G-Shock and Bape.

Make your own chunky necklaces

TikTok creator @blnjewels demonstrates how you can make your own neon decade-inspired chunky designs. At the thrift store, collect your favorite bold (and affordable) necklaces from the '80s. After deconstructing them at home, use the beads to string together a brand-new maximalist necklace, bracelet, or even a set of earrings. Alternatively, watch YouTuber Safiya Nygaard take it above and beyond and melt down her thrift store finds into something structurally new. Ultimately, maximalist principles honor individualism, per Arch Daily. What better way to show off your unique aesthetic than to make your own accessories?

Rhinestone chandelier earrings are everywhere

Recently worn by the likes of Meghan Markle and Lizzo, Bustle comments on the ubiquity of sparkling chandelier earrings. They're oversized, they're dangly, and – most importantly – they make a statement. According to Vogue, these bedazzled beauties also decorated the '80s. Buy your own H&M pair to wear with anything from an oversized blazer to an evening gown. If you're looking for something with a bit more color, add these Target earrings to your cart. They're worthy of Taylor Swift's "Bejeweled" music video.

Go bold with oversized gemstones

In 2022, '80s supermodel Linda Evangelista made her official comeback, partnering with Fendi Baguette to advertise their newest handbag collection. Of course, it wouldn't be a Linda Evangelista photoshoot without bold colors and chunky '80s accessories (via Design Scene). Long before her Fendi partnership, the supermodel was making waves with her larger-than-life gemstones, a must-have in fashion circles 40 years ago, per Vinty. Say goodbye to minimalist jewelry, and make a statement with your own oversized gemstones. Start with this Boden jeweled bracelet and move on to a Princess Diana-inspired sapphire choker available on Etsy.

Dresses can be jewelry too

The '80s helped define today's trending maximalist aesthetic. "Growing up I detested the '80s, and now I love it. It was an era so over the top. The silhouettes, the self-confidence of that period — a lot of our contemporary understanding of maximalism stems from this decade," fashion curator Valerie Steele tells Vogue India. In 1986, Cher hit the Academy Awards red carpet in a cut-out black beaded gown, per Marie Claire. Almost 40 years later, Liza Koshy debuted a similarly-sparkling fit at the 2023 Golden Globes, wearing a layered necklace that continued down her back (via People). Look to Anthropologie to try out the '80s-meets-2020s beaded clothing trend for yourself.