The 1980s was a decade known for its unapologetic color and style, but there was one color palette that captured the essence of the 80s fashion like no other – neon!

Neon style wasn’t just a color choice; it was a statement of the times, an eye-catching emblem of boldness and self-expression. From TV to music, fashion to makeup, the bright colors of everyone’s favorite decade left their mark, but,

Why Was Neon Fashion Popular In The 80s?

Neon fashion was popular in the 80s because it was bright and colorful. It was worn by celebrities and promoted by the new mindset of the youth at that time.

It was not only about celebrities. While they had a great influence, there was another reason why people were opting for neon color trends,  to show hope and optimism through happy and vibrant colors. 

The 80s marked a fresh start for a better tomorrow. There were positive changes in politics, the economy was starting to improve and everything seemed to go in the right direction. People felt this and wanted to be a part of that change, they wanted to brighten up the world and bring happiness wherever they go. 

Nobody cared that it sometimes looked ridiculous. On the contrary, many people bonded and created a connection through this style. So, apart from a fashion style, neon became a symbol of hope and happiness.

Neon Style 80s Fashion

What Is Neon Style? 

Neon style is a popular fashion trend from the 1980s that involved wearing fluorescent, or bright colors.

There were a lot of options to pick from in order to be a part of this craze. Whether it was neon green, yellow, pink, blue, or red, the goal of 80s neon was to be as bright as possible. 

And while it sounds like the people were looking like the Teletubbies, believe me, some combinations of the neon trend looked great. Especially when paired with some old-school Nikes and Ray-Ban sunglasses. 

Neon Style’s Biggest Influence

The Neon fashion style was heavily influenced by some of the pop culture’s biggest names of the 80s. From musicians like Madonna and Michael Jackson to many movies and TV Shows, everyone was shining bright in their neon clothes. 

And that’s how it is with fashion trends. If a certain celebrity promotes it or it’s part of a blockbuster movie, the fans jump on the trend trying to be like their idols. Add the popular magazines of that time featuring Cindy Crawford and Jane Fonda wearing neon, and you get the recipe for an inevitable fashion craze.

The Movies’ Influence On The Neon Style

Hollywood didn’t just play a part in this new fashion trend by creating movies with characters wearing neon clothes, they did much more than that. 

The movies of the previous decade were dark, real, and serious. Nearly every popular movie from the 70s had a story with morally grey characters and a plot that swayed way off happiness, hope, and optimism.

Well, the movies created in the 1980s tried to be the opposite. There were a lot of fun and bright movies with simple and happy stories where the characters were wearing vibrant colors.

These movies made the fans wear neon in the cinema and made the whole place send the message of the neon style. With all those colors you could feel the optimism and the happiness, they were there, and it was very exciting.

Neon makeup in the 1980s

Neon Makeup

Neon was never all about clothes, as it also brought a whole new way of doing makeup. Wearing bright clothes was not enough, if you were a girl, you had to combine what you were wearing with your eye shadows and lipstick, too.

Madonna, one of the most popular female celebrities in the 80s style, along with other artists of the time introduced their fans to this neon makeup. Lipstick and eye shadow of some bright colors like green, blue, or pink, heavy mascara, and a touch of a bright blush were the essentials of 80s makeup.

Most Popular Neon Clothing Brands

Nothing was off limits. You could find the bright neon hues on everything from windbreakers to leggings to jelly shoes, paired with neon accessories like scrunchies and bracelets. If you could dye a garment, you would be able to find it in the vivid colors of neon.

While neon apparel was present in nearly every store at the mall, there were certain brands where you could find timeless pieces.

If we were to travel back to the 80s to buy some neon clothes, we would go to United Colors of Benetton, check what Esprit has in store, get some acid-washed jeans at Guess, and maybe a cool jacket from Members Only.

Of course, there were plenty more stores that offered a lot of options for the people to showcase that bright 80’s neon style, or to maybe simply fulfill their desire to look like their favorite pop star.

Neon Ski Wear

Apart from the streets and the runways the neon fashion style was extremely popular on the ski slopes, too. No matter what ski resort you went to, seeing people wearing fluorescent outfits was unavoidable. Actually, if you were there, you were probably one of them. 

Even if neon skiwear was mostly popular in the 80s, it’s still a huge part of ski fashion today. While the bright jackets look great against the snow, they also offer huge safety benefits and are an important part of the whole ski outfit.

The Neon Style Of The 80s Was a Much-Needed Change

No matter what people say about the neon style, it will always have a special place in the fashion industry, and the history of the 80s, right there alongside spandex and shoulder pads. Some combinations may look gaudy at first glance, but maybe that’s what the people need at that time. 

Bright colors, people in a good mood, friendships, and optimism for a better tomorrow were much-needed changes to society. Not only did the neon in the 80s alter how people lived, but it also opened the door for many creative and positive changes that followed in the years to come.