Sweatshirts are comfortable, warm, and versatile. They were also huge in the 80s…literally.
They were sometimes the long sleeved-version of the graphic or slogan t-shirts, every color of the neon rainbow, and even sometimes modified with a pair of scissors.
A 80s sweatshirt made quite a statement, whether through words, colors, or cut. Never has a plain cotton sweatshirt done so much.
Off the Shoulder Sweatshirt
Not only did the movie Flashdance bring us the cozy leg warmers, but also it brought us another totally awesome trend that is back in a big way…the off-the-shoulder sweatshirt—you know, for when only one shoulder is cold.
The movie featured a plain gray sweatshirt, but once the trend caught on, it could be found on many 80s sweatshirts in any pattern, graphics, logos, or slogan-Frankie Say Relax was not just for t-shirts anymore.
Just cut off the neck of an oversized sweatshirt, and that’s it. The bottom could also be cut either just at the bottom hem, or to make it a crop top. This sweatshirt looked great with 80 jeans or leggings, and to be totally 80s, they were perfect with leg warmers and high heels.
80s Loud Sweatshirt
Loud could describe both the solids and the patterns of this radical garment. Some were the brightest neon colors-pink, yellow, green-any neon color pretty much screamed for attention.
Abstract patterns and geometric shapes were also very in during the 80s, and they looked best in-you guessed it-neon colors. Triangles, squiggly lines, squares, circles and more adorned either part or the entire sweatshirt, and usually on a contrasting color as the background.
Unbelievably, even though the sweatshirt is usually a very casual item, it was not immune to another trend of the 80s—shoulder pads. Worn by women mostly of the preppy crowd, tucking these trendy sweatshirts into a pair of nice acid-washed jeans could be a comfortable alternative to work clothes, and the loud patterns worked perfectly.
80s Summer Sweatshirt
Following in the off-the-shoulder sweatshirt’s footsteps is the summer sweatshirt. If you had a regular sweatshirt and a pair of scissors, you could also have a summer sweatshirt. The only work necessary was to cut off the neck, arms, and bottom of the shirt.
It was essentially reconstructing a big sweatshirt into a muscle tee, and the bottom could be cut as short as needed to also become belly-baring crop tops—and even men wore them.
This handy item could also be transformed into one-shouldered, sleeveless crop tops for the women.
80s College Sweatshirt
Whether you went there, were planning to go there or even had no idea where it was, college sweatshirts were also big in fashion. Either gigantic and over leggings or a mini skirt or cut up to become the one-shoulder or summer sweatshirt, these sweatshirts filled the racks in department stores everywhere, not just college bookstores.
Of course, the preppy crowd wore them—tucked in, of course—to announce their school of choice, and probably did buy them in the bookstore.
So there you have all of the most popular 80s sweatshirts, in all their glory. Thankfully, most of these 80s sweatshirts have come back into style—but without the shoulder pads…also thankfully.