The 80s weren’t just about mini-skirts, though they were a big part.
We had more options than ever to choose from – and fill our closets with some totally awesome 80s pants.
The biggest trend in 80s pants were a great pair of jeans.
One of the most popular trends was acid-washed or stonewashed denim, with or without intentionally ripped-up legs. They were as tight as the skinny jeans trend, and were often rolled in and up at the ankle, aka ‘pegged.’
The rock fans would wear the ripped variety, the mall rats would wear them pegged, and the punk crowd usually went for basic black, but added a cool belt and some random pins.
Jeans could be found in bright colors like red, green, or purple. Vertical stripes were also briefly popular – combinations like blue and gray or black and gray were hot, as well as any two contrasting shades of blue.
Another brief trend was a pair of jeans that used more than one color. Either the entire front and back – or the front of one leg and the back of the opposite leg – would be different colors.
Khakis were usually worn by the preppies with a dress shirt or as business attire with a suit jacket. The most popular colors were tan or dark blue.
Unlike most of today’s casual khaki pants, these 80s khakis were usually ironed to have a crisp crease down the center of the legs – and they were always pleated.
These trendy pants were one of the most legendary garments of the 80s. They were made from rip-stop nylon, and were originally intended to be worn by break-dancers. The material was smooth and slick, making it easier to bust a move.
As the pants became more popular, they were made with thinner synthetic fabrics to appeal to more people who weren’t actually break-dancers but loved the style.
Even though they were a different material, they were still shiny, had lots of zippers, and came in any bright color that was popular in the 80s.
These were the pants that were the second coming of parachute pants. They were made popular by MC Hammer and were thought of as parachute pants not for the fabric used to make them, but for the way they looked.
They were gigantic at the top and tapered from the knees down – the crotch of the pants actually came down to the knees. This extra fabric made dance moves look even cooler, as well as easier to execute. They came back briefly around 2009 – but this time disguised as ‘harem’ pants.
Leggings were huge in the 80s, and could be any color from black to neon. The pairs made out of lace were even radder. The thicker variety could be worn alone under an oversized dress shirt – with shoulder pads, of course.
Capri-length leggings were also an essential element of the ‘pop’ look when worn under mini-skirts.
If you were afraid of your pants riding up, you also had the option of stirrup pants. This short-lived fad was essentially a looser pair of leggings with a piece of fabric that went under your foot, hence the name.
This was another awesome look of the 80s – if you could handle having a piece of fabric between your shoe and your foot all day.
There were certainly enough cool pairs of 80s pants to go around. Everyone had a couple of favorites, and some of these totally awesome trends have come back for round two as modern versions of these 80s classics.