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  • Writer's pictureHinton Magazine

Women's Fashion Series: The Electric 1980s - Power Suits and Punk Rock

The 1980s were a decade of extremes in fashion, mirroring the social, political, and technological changes happening worldwide. From the boardroom to the mosh pit, women's fashion was as bold and diverse as the decade itself. This article delves into the electric eighties, exploring the rise of power dressing, the influence of punk rock, and how women used fashion to make powerful statements.


1980's womens fashion
Image by N-region from Pixabay

Power Suits: The Rise of Power Dressing

In the corporate world, the '80s were all about power dressing. Women entered the workforce in greater numbers than ever before, and their fashion choices reflected their ambitions.


Elements of Power Dressing
  • Shoulder Pads: The bigger, the better. Shoulder pads were a staple in women's suits, adding a sense of authority and gravitas.

  • Bold Colors: Gone were the muted tones of previous decades; the '80s welcomed bold, vibrant colours like red and electric blue.

  • Accessories: Large, statement-making accessories like chunky necklaces and oversized belts completed the power dressing look.

Punk Rock: The Anti-Establishment Movement

While power dressing dominated the corporate scene, punk rock fashion was making waves in the underground. This style was rebellious, edgy, and a direct challenge to mainstream fashion norms.


The Aesthetics of Punk Fashion

  • Ripped Jeans: Torn clothing was a hallmark of punk fashion, symbolizing a rejection of consumer culture.

  • Safety Pins and Spikes: These were often used as both decoration and a form of social commentary.

  • Graphic Tees: Band t-shirts and shirts with political slogans were popular among the punk crowd.

The Intersection of Power and Punk

Interestingly, the '80s saw a blending of these seemingly disparate fashion trends. Women could wear a power suit by day and ripped jeans by night, embodying the decade's spirit of individualism and rebellion.


Fashion as a Form of Expression

  • Mix and Match: The '80s encouraged women to combine elements from different fashion subcultures, creating unique, personalised looks.

  • Cultural Influence: From Madonna's eclectic style to Joan Jett's punk rock vibe, celebrities played a significant role in popularising these trends.


The 1980s were a decade of bold fashion choices that allowed women to express themselves in new and empowering ways. Whether it was the authority of a power suit or the rebellious spirit of punk rock, fashion became a way for women to navigate the complexities of a rapidly changing world.


As we look back on the electric eighties, it's clear that the decade's fashion was more than just clothes—it was a form of self-expression, a political statement, and a reflection of cultural change. Whether you're donning a power suit or rocking out in a punk tee, the influence of the '80s continues to be felt in today's fashion landscape.

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