Leg Warmers & Lace Gloves: 20 Movies From the '80s That Rock the Decade's Fashion (PHOTOS)

Leg Warmers & Lace Gloves: 20 Movies From the '80s That Rock the Decade's Fashion (PHOTOS)

Don't you (forget about me) ... These lyrics from the famous '80s Simple Minds song are forever stamped into our minds, as are the fashion looks from the movies of the same decade. Fashion and film came together in the 1980s like perhaps no other time before or after. The movies were as much about personal style and self-expression as they were about coming of age, and the fashions spoke volumes.

From big, frizzy hair to huge shoulder pads, these 20 movies from the '80s represent the best fashion of the decade. 


Image via Universal Pictures

  • Flashdance


    Image via Paramount Pictures

    This is where the fashion-meets-fitness trend began! From the dance floor to the streets, actress Jennifer Beals's leg-warmers, torn tees, and leotards influenced many a teen girl, making these bona fide fashion staples of the '80s. The off-the-shoulder sweatshirt paired with red heels in particular took exercise and dancing to a new level of sexy.

  • The Breakfast Club


    Image via Universal Pictures

    Denim and letterman jackets, long skirts and the goth look -- it's hard to watch The Breakfast Club without identifying with the personal style of at least one of its characters.

  • Desperately Seeking Susan


    Image via Orion Pictures

    Madonna played a woman named Susan, but her style in this movie is 100 percent hers. Lace gloves, bras and bustiers paired with mesh tanks, fishnet stockings, and all-black everything inspired lookalikes around the world. 

  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High


    Image via Universal Pictures

    While there's some serious fashion inspo in this movie (there's a surfer, a skater, and a preppy) the stop-you-in-your tracks style moment of the film was when Phoebe Cates emerged from the pool in that famous red bikini. 

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  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off


    Image via Paramount Pictures

    Hockey jerseys, colorblocked shirts, baggy shorts, and girls wearing combat boots -- rocking these signature looks would make anyone want to ditch class (or work!).

  • Footloose


    Image via Paramount Pictures

    Who could forget the dancing -- or the fashion? The rock and roll–meets–country chic vibe seen throughout this flick is still alive and well today in Nashville and beyond (especially the tight jeans). 

  • Heathers


    Image via New World Pictures

    The incredible fashion in this movie included double-breasted jackets, shoulder pads, plaid skirts, boxy blazers, and the debut of scrunchies -- major! 

  • Less Than Zero


    Image via 20th Century Fox

    From Andrew McCarthy's preppy blazers to Jamie Gertz's red lips to Robert Downey Jr.'s puffy 'do, this film about wealthy kids on drugs became an instant classic.

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  • Mannequin


    Image via 20th Century Fox

    Long before she bared all as Samantha on Sex and the City, Kim Cattrall donned bright silk suits, shoulder pads, and huge hats in this movie, also starring '80s heartthrob Andrew McCarthy. 

  • Pretty in Pink


    Image via Paramount Pictures

    Sure Molly Ringwald's Andie sported bowler hats and oversized sweaters, but who could forget the handmade pink prom dress with the exposed shoulders? Instant '80s classic!


  • Purple Rain


    Image via Warner Bros.

    To star opposite Prince, your fashion game has to be on point, as it was with Apollonia. In this famous scene, the va-va voom black leather ensemble couldn't prevent her from almost contracting hypothermia (the scene was shot on a freezing November day near Lake Minnetonka), but nonetheless, it was still hot! This movie also launched the feathers-in-the-hair trend that some of us would love to see make a comeback!

  • Risky Business


    Image via Warner Bros.

    Tom Cruise stars in one of the most iconic movie scenes of all time wearing nothing but a white button-down shirt, high socks, and Ray-Ban sunglasses, which, by the way, sold like hot cakes after the release of the movie. Talk about being influential!

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  • Say Anything


    Image via Gracie Films

    It's every girl's dream: to have a guy serenade her with a boombox while wearing the coolest, most effortless outfit ever. The trench coat was a staple in this movie, and it continues to be today. Now, if only we could bring back the boombox!

  • Scarface


    Image via Universal Pictures

    Al Pacino played one scary Cuban refugee who takes over a drug cartel in Miami, but enough about the plot. It's Michelle Pfeiffer's glamorous Halston-inspired ensembles that will make you want to watch this movie over and over again. The plunging necklines, backless chemises, and high slits made this stylish disco-era wardrobe highly covetable.

  • Sixteen Candles


    Image via Universal Pictures

    While Samantha's birthday may have been forgotten, who could forget the most memorable bridesmaid dress ever in the color of the decade -- pink? The floral halo headband seals the deal. 

  • St. Elmo's Fire


    Image via Columbia Pictures

    This movie starred the '80s Brat Pack, and what they wore was as mesmerizing as watching them try to figure out what they wanted the rest of their lives to look like. Demi Moore as Jules in boob-revealing necklines and gala-worthy jewelry was definitely one to watch, but so was Ally Sheedy in her preppy ensembles and Rob Lowe's dangling cross earring.

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  • Teen Witch


    Image via MGM

    Here's what we learned from Robin Lively's (Blake Lively’s older sister) character, Louise: When you discover your witch powers and begin casting spells, you also gain big curly hair, sweetheart necklines, and more of those 1980s shoulder pads.

  • Some Kind of Wonderful


    Image via Paramount Pictures

    It's a classic love story: An unpopular high school student (Eric Stoltz, wearing basic Ts and jeans) tries to land a date with the most popular girl at school (Lea Thompson, sporting buttoned-up shirts, rolled-up sleeves, and miniskirts) with help from his tomboy bestie (Mary Stuart Masterson in combat boots and her famous pixie cut). So tough, so trendy!

  • Working Girl


    Image via 20th Century Fox

    This was girl power style at its best! Melanie Griffith's transformation from over-the-top tacky to polished and powerful makes this the most iconic before-and-after style makeover of the '80s! 

  • Girls Just Want to Have Fun


    Image via New World Pictures

    When Sarah Jessica Parker stars in a movie, you know it's a fashion must-see. In this one she goes from wearing private school uniforms to donning bright, loose-fitting, off-the-shoulder tops and tight leotards. Off the dance floor, her hair frizzes up on purpose and she rocks baggy pants and cropped blazers alongside her new Dance TV boyfriend. 

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