’80s Fashion Trivia


By: Dustyn Deerman

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd / amdandy / Wavebreak Media / Getty Images Plus / DigitalVision Vectors / Getty Images

About This Quiz

In the age of excess, the fashion that was prevalent in the '80s reflected the spirit perfectly. From power suits and sequins to big hair and neon make-up, this decade was truly for the bold. Whether you enjoy the daring patterns, bright colors, and flashy accessories or you appreciate the emergence of the punk movement and the style that came with it, you can't deny that the '80s were monumental for fashion.

Those who grew up during the '80s or those who are looking for some inspiration for the next '80s-themed party will love this blast from the past of fanny packs, denim and hair spray. Take in the days of New Wave, Madonna and The Sex Pistols and how they shaped the trends of the decade and beyond. The '80s may be long gone, but the decade's effect on fashion will never cease.

So here's your challenge — turn on your favorite '80s jams and give this quiz a try! Can you recognize and name every fashion movement and trend that was packed into this decade? If you ace it, you'll be awarded a pair of over-sized shoulder pads!

What jacket carried the slogan "When you put it on, something happens" with it?

Member's jackets still appear every-so-often today, but they likely don't have the same "feel" that they did in the '80s. These were the jackets for the people "in the know;" even young actors were in on the trend. Corey Feldman can be seen wearing one as 'The Mouth' in "The Goonies".


The '80s were all about leg warmers and off-the-shoulder sweatshirts. What movie actually made this look popular?

This look was ubiquitous in the 1980s, but what started it all was the movie "Flashdance." Who can forget the infamous scene where Jennifer Beals drops water on herself during her show-stopping dance performance in the film?


What accessory did most youngsters who aspired to look cool never leave the house without?

Swatch watches were one of the ultimate "it" items for kids growing up in the 1980s. They were first introduced in 1983 and were an instant hit; kids would buy multiples of these in every color and pattern they could.


Which of these classic '80s bags is making quite the comeback right now in fashion?

In the '80s, fanny packs became super popular among American tourists of a certain age, but have since regained some popularity in both high and street fashion. If you didn't know, the fanny pack got its name because it actually used to be worn facing the rear above the buttocks.


What music genre made a huge impact on both street and high fashion in this decade?

Hip-hop became super intertwined with fashion in the 1980s because of superstars like Run-DMC, LL Cool J, and Salt-N-Pepa. Artists like these had unique styles that fans all over adopted as their own. This level of influence carried on into the '90s with hip-hop artists like Kriss Kross.


What style dominated both music and fashion in the late '70s and early '80s, with bands like The Sex Pistols having great influence over it?

Before there was grunge, there was punk. This was a rebellious response to both the decade's over-the-top fashion as well as the metal music that had emerged during this time. The punk of the '80s was intense and edgy, always clad in studded leather jackets, ripped jeans, heavy-duty boots, and endless band t-shirts.


Which famous designer's underwear became all the rage during the 1980s?

We've all seen the 'Calvins' ads featuring our favorite hard-bodied men, but their prevalence started well before Mark Wahlberg did that famous shoot in 1992. In the '80s, this design's popularity had soared so high that they reached over $600 million in sales by 1984.


Whether it was at a prom or a family member's block party, what fabric was everywhere in the '80s?

Lamé was seriously apart of every look imaginable during the '80s. Think about all of the shiny, colorful dresses that were adorned with sequins and ruffles — that was lamé!


Can't touch this! What piece of clothing did MC Hammer make wildly popular in the '80s?

Also known as "Hammer pants," parachute pants were made extremely popular by MC Hammer in the '80s. The name "parachute" referred to the pants' nylon material, which is similar to that of an actual parachute.


From the gym to the club, what accessory was worn by most men and women alike?

Headbands got their start with the fitness movement (think Olivia Newton-John), but soon found their way to everyday wear no matter what the occasion was. One fashionable look featured headbands with large bows attached to them.


If a woman went out in a mini skirt, what did she likely pair with it?

Sheer tights were a new thing in the '80s; up until this point, most pantyhose and tights were a specific shade of nude and very apparent when worn. Sheer tights offered just the right amount of sheen but were not as visible.


If your family could afford a sweet ski vacation in the '80s, what brand of jacket were you likely sporting on the slopes?

Triple F.A.T. is still around today slinging their high-end, super comfy coats, but back in the '80s, they were a highly-sought-after brand. One of their most popular looks was their down-filled leather jacket.


What company collaborated with Jordache and as a result made branded clothing popular in the '80s?

That's right, Coca-Cola was the company to really kick off the trend of branded clothing. This came after they and the parent company of Jordache came to a merchandising agreement.


Slogan tees really made their mark in the '80s. Can you name one of the more recognizable sayings found on a tee back then?

If you were a fan of the popular 1985 film "Teen Wolf," then you surely remember seeing this slogan appear on Stiles' (argued to be one of the best '80s comedy sidekicks) t-shirt.


What look is Don Johnson credited with making popular?

Don Johnson's "Miami Vice" character Sonny Crockett was the first to usher in this trendy '80s look. Fun fact — the show's executive producer Michael Mann once said it was a trip he took to a paint store that actually inspired the show's heavy use of pastel.


These may not have helped much in the winter, but you would have looked good wearing them in the '80s. What accessory is this?

The fingerless glove of the '80s was a culmination of a few different influences. There was Madonna who made the lace fingerless glove popular, punks who wore their own version of them, and the fact that people just seemed to love cutting the ends off of their garments.


When it came to "power dressing," what item had to be a part of the outfit?

For men and women alike, shoulder pads became the defining fashion statement of the '80s. It was all about the perception of power and status when it came to dressing this way. Every type of garment from jackets to dresses and even undergarments came with its own set of shoulder pads.


Thanks to the 1986 release of "Top Gun," what article of clothing reached the height of fashion?

Are you more of a Maverick or a Goose? Bomber jackets may have reached the height of the popularity with the release of "Top Gun," but before that many people would buy and wear leftover jackets from actual military service.


If you started wearing make-up in the '80s, what did you likely store your collection in?

Caboodles has an interesting story — it was launched back in 1986 after an interview Vanna White did which featured her showing off a fishing tackle box that she used as a make-up kit. Very creative!


What style of shoe became the go-to for men in the '80s?

Thanks in part to shows like "Miami Vice," penny loafers became a hit for men in the '80s. What was especially popular during this time was wearing penny loafers without socks.


What name was used to describe girls who were seen as spoiled, ditzy, and only interested in shopping and appearances?

The term "Valley Girl" did originate in the '70s but hit its peak in the '80s. It originally was used to refer to white women of the middle and upper-class living in the San Fernando Valley. It became the phenomenon we know today during the '80s.


What style of popular jeans was named for a certain family member?

"Mom jeans" is a slang term used to describe the high-waisted, baggy jeans that became popular during the '80s. We've since seen a big rise in their popularity again, with the super fashionable and hipsters wearing them today.


Who is responsible for both the workout frenzy that overtook the '80s and the leotard and leggings trend that came with it?

As more men and women wanted to work out in the '80s, home video was becoming a normal part of every household. Jane Fonda's workout videos were flying off the shelves at this time; she became a household name synonymous with fitness and the pairing of leggings with leotards.


If you were at a county fair you, what could commemorate your day there with?

Airbrushed T-shirts were the way to let everyone know what your relationship status was back in the '80s, and where did people always get these done? The county fair! Those who grew up in the '90s likely still saw these around, but overall the trend faded out rather quickly.


What is the name of the popular shoe that could be seen on the streets in every color possible during the '80s?

Growing up, how many of you knew that Jellies were made with PVC plastic? What's super cool about this material is how malleable it is; that's why Jellies were available in every color you can think of (and with sparkles!)


What clothing brand was one of the first to address social issues in their ad campaigns in the '80s?

At a time when social awareness wasn't exactly a "thing," Benetton stood alone in taking a stance with their ads. With their "United Colors" campaign, they tackled issues from racial discrimination to multi-cultural awareness and appreciation. This featured mixed groups of races and ethnicities in their clothing.


What classic '80s accessory staple does Tom Cruise sport throughout the film "Risky Business"?

Everyone should know that famous scene where Cruise slides across his floors in socks and a button-up (and some of you have likely recreated it in your own homes). It may surprise you that Cruise isn't actually wearing Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses in that scene. Iconically, he wears them on the poster and throughout the film, though.


You may have seen them in the '90s, but what style of hat found its popularity in the '80s?

Rappers of the '80s were primarily responsible for this style of hat finding popularity during this decade (and the '90s); LL Cool J almost exclusively can be seen photographed wearing a bucket hat during this time.


Even if you weren't working out, tracksuits were all the rage in the early '80s. Do you know what material they were made out of?

Velour is a blend of spandex and velvet, which helps create that unique soft, stretchy fabric you can only really find in a tracksuit. They were phased out a bit by the late '80s when shellsuits (made of nylon) took their place.


Bon Jovi and Guns n' Roses are just a couple of bands who inspired a shift in fashion trends in the '80s. What type of music did they play?

Hair metal bands were a real pinnacle of going over-the-top with fashion during the '80s. They and their fans enjoyed wearing a liberal use of make-up and lots of leather and spandex. Let's not forget the hairspray either — so much hair spray.


What was one way you could tell someone was likely the "villain" in a good number of films in the '80s?

A real trend that arose in '80s films was the "douchebag" villainous character. It was always a sure sign that the guy who made more money than the protagonist and used "summer" as a verb was also clad in a sweater tied around their shoulders. More often than not, that character was the "bad guy."


What could the preppy man of the '80s be seen wearing most days?

The '80s was the era of a lot of things, and one of them was the "Yuppies." Yuppies were preppy, typically upper-class men who more often than not wore a pastel or striped Lacoste polo shirt anywhere they went.


If you were to hit the beach back in the '80s, what style of swimsuit would you reach for if you wanted to be trendy?

Just like the lifeguard babes of "Baywatch," the high-cut one-piece swimsuit was the look for every woman hitting the beach in the '80s. The "teeny bikini" also hit its height of popularity during the '80s.


While there was hair metal and a crazy amount of perms in the '80s, what hair style was just as popular?

Business in the front, party in the back! The '80s saw a whole lot of crazy hairstyles, but this one takes the cake. It really hit its popularity once TV characters like MacGyver and Uncle Jesse from "Full House" started rocking the 'do.


What was the colloquial name for the large, braided chains that rappers like Biz Markie, Slick Rick and Run DMC popularized?

What a name, right? These thick, braided chains were worn by the big rappers of the '80s as a statement of luxury and power. They were ostentatious and a symbol of success for those who wore them.


"Casual Fridays" were founded in the '80s, but which state is responsible for this fun workplace tradition?

In Hawaii, people would wear Aloha shirts and Bermuda shorts on Fridays, which they'd call "Aloha Fridays." Eventually, this spread to the rest of the U.S. and soon most office workplaces celebrated what we know today as Casual Fridays.


What shoes became immediately associated with the punk movement in the '80s?

Doc Martens were the essential fashion accessory for the punk subculture that existed in both the U.S and the UK. Women who identified as punks would wear them too, typically paired with mini-skirts.


What term, when heard, should immediately make you think of the '80s?

The New Wave genre was an all-encompassing sound of music that incorporated styles from the '70s and '80s and tied them in with mod and electronic music. The fashion trends that followed it included slim-fitting suits, thin neckties, bold patterns, and androgynous make-up.


What music icon was responsible for inspiring many young people to adopt the super trendy, messy chic look of the decade?

As the uncontested queen of pop in the '80s, Madonna not only completely influenced music trends, but she was also the pioneer of many fashion trends that epitomized the decade. From lacy tutus and leather jackets to the 'layered look' featuring multiple shirts and coats, everyone wanted to look like Madonna.


What was the "it" fabric of the '80s for both men and women?

From high-waisted jeans and cut-off shorts to denim jackets and skirts, denim was at the center of fashion for every sect of people in the '80s. Whether it was acid-washed or ripped to shreds, everybody loved their denim!


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