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Masterplan’s 40th Anniversary Throwback: Totally tubular 1981 fashion trends

Jul 8, 2021 | Company News

To continue celebrating Masterplan’s 40th anniversary, our second week of 1981 recaps will dive into some of the craziest fashion trends of the time. These looks were filled with flare and featured spandex, jelly shoes, and lots of neon colors.

Top 5:

1. Leg Warmer Love

Popular tapes like Jane Fonda’s Workout along with movies like Footloose and Dirty Dancing helped popularize exercise gear like leotards with tights, leg warmers, and colorful sweatbands. We’re still wondering why everyone’s legs were so cold back then.

Source: LYCRA

2. Priceless Parachute Pants

Parachute pants (queue MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This”) were another trend that seemed to be a fan favorite. Basically, just very baggy, bright, and sometimes shiny trousers, these pants scream 80’s fashion.

Source: Pinterest

3. Shoulder Pad Perfection

Shoulder pads were all the rage giving anyone who wore them a sophisticated, powerful look. Interestingly enough, blazers are starting to make a comeback in 2021!

Source: Town and Country

4. Acid Wash Anything

In the ’80s if it could be acid washed, it was acid washed. This technique could take any denim piece to the next level.

Source: JCPenny

5. Fanny Packs for Days

In the 1980s, it wasn’t uncommon to see mom jeans, a fanny pack, and jelly shoes all in one outfit. As you can see, fanny packs were great for holding all the essentials like your giant retro cell phone!

Source: Getty Images

Do you still own any of this ‘totally tubular’ 80’s apparel? Be on the lookout for next week’s 1981 commemoration post covering toys that will bring back all the memories!


Acuna, K., & Lakritz, T. (2020, July 15). 18 celebrity hairstyles from the ’80s that you completely forgot about. Business Insider. https://www.businessinsider.com/80s-celebrity-hairstyles-2013-3#back-in-the-80s-though-he-rocked-a-rainbow-frock-of-colorful-braids-and-crimped-long-hair-12.

Roemer, C. (2021, March 26). 80s Fashion Trends List: Top Ten 1980s Trends – Women & Men. Legacybox. https://legacybox.com/blogs/analog/10-fashion-trends-80s.