Vintage 1980s Dresses

The 80s weren’t just about neon sunglasses and fingerless lace gloves. They were also about some fantastic vintage 1980s dresses.

As with anything 80s, these dresses had their own special only in the 80s look to them.

Laura Ashley 80s Dresses

This was one of the most popular and easily recognizable vintage 1980s dresses.

Though Laura Ashley made dresses in many styles and colors, the flowered dresses were the most popular. The style may have changed slightly over the decade, but most of them featured some type of printed fabric with flowers.

In big or small patterns, these flowers covered the entire dress from top to bottom.  Some dresses were short and some were tea-length, or about mid-calf. The sleeves were short and puffy and they had a full skirt—perfect for twirling and dancing.

80s Prom Dress

The 80s prom dress was like no other. It was all the hottest trends of the decade wrapped up in one formal package. Lace was big in the 80s—and prom dresses had plenty of it, whether it was up the entire arm, across the neckline, or covering the entire back of the dress.

Another trend in prom dresses was the bow. It was just as popular on a dress as it was on Madonna’s head. This large-scale decor could be anywhere on the dress from the shoulders to the back, but looked especially awesome when located on the hip.

The raddest dresses were super shiny and could be in any color of the neon rainbow. Hot pink, teal, and both electric blue and purple were all great choices.

80s Dress Trends

Ruffles were a huge trend in 80s dresses, usually on just the skirt of the dress, and sometimes in multiples. It was just as common to see a straight pencil style skirt with just one ruffle around the hips as it was to see layers of ruffles around the entire skirt. These ruffles also sometimes made their way to the shoulders, further adding to the puffiness factor.

In addition to bright colors, black and white dresses were also popular, making fans of zebra-print very happy—and fashionable. Polka dots were also a perfect way to wear black and white, though they were equally popular in any bright colors.

Dresses of the 80s were yet another garment that could not escape the acid-washed phenomenon—nothing could—people could never have enough denim. Long or short, dressed up or down, you could finally wear dressy denim from head to toe, and these dresses looked especially cute with ruffles.

Since this was the 80s, the shorter, tighter, and brighter a dress was, the better. Any neon or bright colors, frequently in loud patterns, made for the hottest dresses around. Animal prints in any color, like neon green zebra print or hot pink cheetah print would definitely grab attention. Think back to the great hair bands on MTV, like Tawny Kitaen in the Whitesnake music videos.

These vintage 1980s dresses, unless they were strapless, were also not immune to another huge trend of the 80s - shoulder pads.