Punk goes back to the late 70s and originally popular in the U.K., but this culture of punk saw a surge in popularity early in the 80s decade.
Fashion and Accessories
The 80s punk look was unmistakable no matter what you decided to wear that day. Punk was an easy and versatile ‘anti-fashion’ fashion – anything went. Even still, designers like Vivienne Westwood helped direct the look in the direction of mainstream.
There was also a definite do-it-yourself vibe in punk fashion, and if you made it yourself or reconstructed existing clothing, it was that much cooler.
In general, there was a lot of black. Tight black jeans were popular, and were the perfect background for a studded belt with a big belt buckle that made a statement. These black jeans were sometimes torn up and pinned together with safety pins, another favorite accessory of punk.
Plaid was also a big part of the look. Tight plaid pants or mini-skirts added some variety to the wardrobe and looked awesome with anything black. The mini-skirts were made less ‘girly’ with the addition of torn-up fishnet tights or leggings – with or without safety pins.
A must-have staple in the punk wardrobe was the black leather jacket. The more metal and chains you had, the better. Denim jackets were also popular, as you could customize them with patches, pins, chains, and studs.
The coolest punk footwear would usually consist of black combat boots or black Converse high-tops.
Awesome Hair and Makeup
Some punk hairstyles were simply tousled and teased, the kind of cool messy look – like you just rolled out of bed – but some looks took a lot longer to achieve.
The mohawk was one of the most iconic styles, and for some people, just shaving the sides of your head and spiking your ‘do wasn’t enough. Mohawks were frequently dyed any bright color – and sometimes multi-colored – especially if it was done in ‘liberty spikes.’
Asymmetrical hairstyles were also popular. Bangs were cut at sharp angles and sometimes only half the head was shaved. These styles also made use of bright colors, either streaks or the entire head, unless it was dyed black.
The one vital element to the look was eyeliner. It was heavily applied, always black, and worn by both men and women.
The 80s were also the era of some of the best punk music. The Ramones and the Sex Pistols were pioneers in the late 70s for bands like The Dead Kennedys, The Misfits, Fear, and Social Distortion, among many others.
Most of the music was fast and loud, with plenty of drums, bass, and electric guitars. The lyrics were usually rebellious – to put it mildly.
Punk always makes a statement, and 80s punk was no different. What started in the 70s was continued as punk broke off into various sub-genres over time. Punk is all about freedom and expressionism – and was perfect for the 80s.