Fishnets and Glam Rockers to Acid Wash and Grunge, How 80s Fashion Inspired 90s Style

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Last Updated on May 3, 2022

We all love those classic 90s looks. With iconic styles like acid washed jeans and box blazers, the 90s had a look for every occasion. Before 90s fashion rose to fame though, there was the striking colour and bold silhouettes of the 1980s.

Many of our favourite 90s looks evolved from the iconic looks that graced the catwalks and were sported by the fashionistas of the decade before. So, which of your favourite 90s styles were inspired from the bold spirit of 80s fashion?

Sparkle and Shine

We all know the popularity of the metallic sheen in 90s fashion, those sleek shiny vinyls though were adapted straight out of the 80s fashion playbook. The 1980s saw the original rise of metallic fabrics, with a sparkle and shine implemented wherever possible.

This style looks particularly good with a pair of strappy heels for a formal occasion, top model Pat Cleveland even wore a metallic blue dress for a party look at the 1982 New York Fashion Week.

In the 90s of course we has beautiful Kate and Naomi rocking the sparkle and shine of sleek shiny metallic fabrics.

All About that Denim

Much like the nineties, in the world of eighties fashion denim was the in fabric. The popularity of denim jackets carried over into the nineties. The popular nineties styles of baggy jeans were also style inspired by the pleated jeans and oversized pockets that came to fame in the decade before.

How can we forget Britney and Justin doing justice to denim in the 90s when the power couple wore matching denim outfits.

The Brilliant Box Blazer

There are few looks as recognizably from the 80s as the box blazer. This look rose to international prominence in the 1980s and inspired the ever-popular oversized blazers of the 90s. Way back in the 80s this look took off within the celebrity world and today maintains its popularity with stars expertly styling this look with a fashionable pair of skinny jeans.

No Outfit is Complete Without some Headwear

Hair and head accessories became about so much more than practicality in the 80s and this trend carried over to the 90s.

The highly popular scrunchie gave inspiration to the 90s bucket hat, great for keeping the sun at bay and a stylish fashion accessory, this look was adopted by the likes of Will Smith and Rhianna and is when paired with shorts is a summertime look that doesn’t skimp on style.

Also nostalgic Lizzie McGuire with her hair up in typical 90s hair do and choker people.

Rumble in the Jungle

Fashion in the 80s was all about making a statement and bold prints fit right into this idea. The bold print look though didn’t disappear in 1989 and was adapted into the animal print style that rose to new levels of popularity throughout the 90s.

This style has maintained its place in the fashion world today with top stars like Bella Hadid and Jessica Alba rocking this iconic style.

The Outfit Mismatch

Mixing fashion pieces and wearing them at times or in ways they historically would not have been worn was an ever-popular trend in the 80s, wearing cowboy boots with party dresses was particularly popular.

This style was adapted in the 90s with the rise of wearing items like corsets on the outside of clothing for formal events and mixing combat pants with heels for a chic mismatched look.

Chain Accessories

We all know the 90s look of adding a chain belt to an outfit to give it an extra element, but this look was actually inspired from the decade before. The 80s fashion world emphasised flashy jewellery and heavy chains worn both as necklaces and attached to clothing.

This style gave inspiration for the rise of the chain belt style of the 90s.

Pro tip: This look works particularly well when an embellished chain is added to a box blazer look.

Fancy some Fishnets?

With the rise of a glam rock and punk rock theme in 1980s fashion, fishnets were an incredibly popular addition to an outfit.

Although fishnets did persist well into the 90s they also offered inspiration to the sheer fabric trend, with many 90s fashionistas opting to embrace sheer fabric into their outfits instead of fishnets. The fishnet has maintained a presence in fashion though with stars like Vanessa Hudgens sporting this look.

The Original Glam Rocker

Often expertly worn by the legendary Cindy Lauper, the glam rock look was all the rage in the 1990s. Mixing dresses with leather belts and chunky arm bands gave way to the grunge fashion era that the 1990s is famous for.

This look is still popular today with elements of glam rock and grunge being incorporated into the punk rock and steampunk styles. If you want to adopt this style, try mixing a knee length dress with a wide leather belt and combat boots.


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The Acid Wash

Yes, the famed acid wash style of the 90s actually originally started in the 80s!

Acid wash jeans were first sported back in the 80s but they rose to particular prominence in the 90s and are still popular today with famous faces like Hailey Baldwin stepping out in this stylish look.

When paired with a t-shirt and combat boots, you can’t go wrong with some acid washed denim.

From Knee Warmers to Knee Socks

The 80s fashion world was all about the accessories and few accessories are as iconic as knee warmers, this trendy accessory was seen on 80s fashionistas all around the world.

The knee warmers though gave rise to knee socks, made famous by movies like Clueless, the humble knee socks have maintained their place in popularity with stars like Arianna Grande adopting this sassy look.

Read: How to Wear Knee High Boots the Tasteful Way

With so many 90s fashion trends inspired by the looks of the 80s, all 90s fashion lovers should explore the styles of this colourful decade.

Famous for its bright hues and decadent prints, bold silhouettes and rebellious glam rocker style, the 80s gave rise to some true fashion icons and inspired some of the best looks and style statements of the 90s.

So next time you are wondering what to wear, why not inject some 80s spirit into your best 90s look?

Read: 80s vs 90s Music: Battle of the Titans