We Love Our 1980s, But Not These 80s Trends

Take a stroll down memory lane and be glad these regrettable 80s trends are gone.

Published July 5, 2023

Neon colors and fingerless gloves are some of the tamer 80s trends that kids today love to dress up in for decades day at school. So far, Gen Xers have done a great job in keeping the worst of their trends from the 80s off of TikTok's radar. But, with trends as bizarre and ridiculous as these, we couldn't possibly keep them hidden for any longer.

Wearing Door Knocker Earrings That Wrecked Your Ears


When they say beauty is pain, they really were thinking about the 1980s. There wasn't a place for dainty, flat earrings or sparkly studs. Instead, door knocker earrings, as they're affectionately called, were all the rage.

If your giant, gaudy metal and lacquered earrings weren't the size of your palms and didn't touch your shoulders, you weren't doing it right. And we're sure you're stretched lobes have never quite recovered.

Frying Your Hair Follicles With Frequent Perms


A fair few were blessed with outrageously bodacious curls, but most Gen Xers were stuck with only one option to achieve that skyscraper style: the perm.

You couldn't walk away from a perm without a little unmanageable frizz and a whole lot fewer nose hairs. Anyone who lived through the days of the perm trend might see those tight perm rods in their nightmares.

Always Having a Lighter in Your Makeup Kit


Make-up artists today are all "luxury moisturizer" this and "eyeliner hacks" that, but kids in the 80s were roughing it. Equipped with a Maybelline Great Lash mascara, a thick black eyeliner, and a lighter, you could bring any make-up look to life.

Blast that eyeliner with a light and get the smoothest, blendable kohl, or heat up your eyelash curler the old-fashioned way. And while you probably could've melted your eyelashes off, at least you were being sanitary about it.

Poppin' Your Collars to Achieve the Ultimate Prep Style


While hair metal divas and new wave darlings get all the credit for dominating 80s culture, the prep scene has largely been overlooked. And if those brightly colored, LAYERED polos with the popped collars are anything to go off of, we think that might be a good thing.

Drinking Tab Like It Was Going Out of Style


Tab, the world's first diet soda. If the chokehold it had on teens in the 80s isn't emblematic of the all-consuming diet culture that was everywhere at the time, we don't know what is.

And while there's something so nostalgic about pounding back cans of Tab and only eating a pack of crackers or other 80s snacks at lunch in high school, we're happy to leave the dieting days behind us.

Looking Like a Dorito Chip With Giant Shoulder Pads


When it comes to shoulder pads, there's a precise balance between getting a strong silhouette and looking like you're going to take flight.

Unfortunately for people in the 80s, the 'bigger is better' mentality transferred to shoulder pads too. Looking back at these truly Dorito chip proportions might make you want to burn every photo from the past.

Ruining Your Hair Using Frosting Caps


Kids today don't know the eternal struggle that was trying to highlight your hair at home in the 1980s. Inevitably, someone in your friend group would get the bright idea to add highlights for the summer. But, instead of YouTube tutorials to help guide your way, 80s teens had highlighting caps.

Say the word frosting caps to a hairdresser today and they'll shiver in horror. These alien plastic caps with teeny holes were impossible to pull your hair through, and always left you with a patchy yellow chunk on your head.

Slathering Up in Baby Oil and Baking in the Summer Sun


There's no better client for a dermatologist than a Gen Xer. Why? Because if wrapping yourself in tin foil and literally baking in the sun could give them a better tan back in the day, they would've tried it.

Instead, they relied on lots of baby oil (and vegetable oil when you ran out) and sitting in the harsh UV rays for hours to get that perfect level of leather. Let's just ask - are the sun spots and skin damage worth it?

Getting Your Jeans Pegged Just Right


One of the weirdest hacks that teens and young adults in the 80s had down pat was pegging their jeans. Getting a crisp fold tight against the ankle was the first step in making sure those suckers stayed tight and rolled up. Why just rolling the cuffs up wasn't good enough, we'll never know.

Breaking Noses to Get the Last Cabbage Patch kid


If there was one unreasonably popular toy craze in the 1980s, it was Cabbage Patch Kids. Cabbage Patch Kids were Beanie Babies' predecessor, and people went bonkers over getting these toys at the holidays.

We're talking Black Friday style brawling. Stolen boxes out of carts, broken noses, the works, and all that effort just for a soft, stuffed baby doll.

We Love Our 1980s


The Me Generation wasn't afraid to take leaps of faith when it came to fashion, style, and culture. Some things were a massive success that we wouldn't trade the world for (MTV at its prime), but there are handful of others that we're hoping stay locked in the yesteryear vault.

But with mullets already making their comeback, only time will tell which of these awful trends from the 80s gets it's misguided revival.

Can't get enough of regrettable trends? Take a look at these obsolete items from the 70s too.

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We Love Our 1980s, But Not These 80s Trends