The 80s brought us the Brat Pack, John Hughes, Julia Roberts, and the true essence of the term ‘oversized’. Here are 11 times 80s movie fashion made a strong case for a 21st-century comeback.

1. The matching love triangle

Still from 'St.Elmo's Fire' (1985). A group of young men and women sit at a table with pumpkins and drinks scattered between them.
[Image description: Still from ‘St.Elmo’s Fire’ (1985). A group of young men and women sit at a table with pumpkins and drinks scattered between them.] Via IMDb.
Move over Twilight, it’s not a real love triangle unless you coordinate outfits. Here’s Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, and Andrew McCarthy all sporting a loose knotted tie over a white shirt and black jacket in St. Elmo’s Fire. Name a more in-sync trio of romantic entanglements.

2. The jacket

Still from 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' (1986). Sloane and Ferris hold hands as they look over at Cameron perched in the back of a car.
[Image description: Still from ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ (1986). Sloane and Ferris hold hands as they look over at Cameron perched in the back of a car.] Via IMDb.
Sloane Peterson’s white, cropped, fringed jacket in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is what dreams are made of. You wouldn’t think there was a perfect jacket for bunking off school and having a day out with your friends, but there is. This is That Jacket. 

3. Ferris’ printed sweater vest + leather jacket combo

Still from 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off' (1986). Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller, leaning against an orange wall.
[Image description: Still from ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’ (1986). Matthew Broderick as Ferris Bueller, leaning against an orange wall.] Via IMDb.
Accessorise with military beret and dark sunglasses for maximum stop-and-look-around-once-in-a-while vibes. Marilyn Vance made the hybrid jacket of your dreams because the character didn’t wear the motorcycle-type jacket. He wasn’t a letterman, so he didn’t have that type of jacket. So I made him a little bit of everything.”. Ferris Bueller never took a day off from serving looks. 

4. Claire Standish’s matching boots, belt, and skirt

A girl wearing a pink top, a brown skirt, belt, and boots dances on a table with another girl dressed in a black and gray ensemble.
[Image description: A girl wearing a pink top, a brown skirt, belt, and boots dances on a table with another girl dressed in a black and gray ensemble.] Via WiffleGif.
Molly Ringwald, the Princess of the 80s, The Breakfast Club, and of John Hughes movies in general, made this brown skirt, belt, and boots combo work.

5. Baby learns to dance

Still from 'Dirty Dancing' (1987). A man dressed in black sits on his heels and a woman wearing denim shorts and a tie-up white shirt stretches over to him.
[Image description: Still from ‘Dirty Dancing’ (1987). A man dressed in black sits on his heels and a woman wearing denim shorts and a tie-up white shirt stretches over to him.] Via IMDb.
The tie-up white shirt and just-above-the-knee shorts scream sheltered-doctor’s-daughter-is-now-learning-to-dance-and-discovering-her-sexuality-in-the-process. Cute!

6. Wino (and her overall skirt) forever

A girl wearing a gray off-shoulder top and a black overall skirt holds a drink in one hand outside of a gas station.
[Image description: A girl wearing a gray off-shoulder top and a black overall skirt holds a drink in one hand outside of a gas station.] Via Pinterest.
You know when you’re popular but you don’t want to be, and you’re pretty sure your boyfriend’s a murderer, and everyone in your clique has the same first name? This off-shoulder, folded sweater paired with this black overall skirt is somehow the perfect outfit for Veronica’s very specific conundrum. Go figure!

7. The era-defining fashion in Flashdance

Still from 'Flashdance' (1983). A young woman sits on a stack of cushions wearing a gray oversized sweater that exposes her shoulder.
[Image description: Still from ‘Flashdance’ (1983). A young woman sits on a stack of cushions wearing a gray oversized sweater that exposes her shoulder.] Via IMDb.
“Some say that the popular 1983 movie set the stage for some of the most ubiquitous clothing items in that decade and that as soon as the movie was released, women everywhere dashed out of their houses to find oversized sweatshirts to wear with one shoulder on display.” – and we don’t blame them. This one holds up well. 

 8. Sally casually meeting Harry

Still from 'When Harry Met Sally' (1989). A blonde woman wears a striped jacket, patterned sweater, and bowler hat in a park.
[Image description: Still from ‘When Harry Met Sally’ (1989). A blonde woman wears a striped jacket, patterned sweater, and bowler hat in a park.] Via IMDb.
Go find yourself a striped collared jacket, autumnal color palette, bowler hat, patterned sweater and put it all together for this! I’d welcome any and all of these items in my closet anytime.

9. Elvira’s white suit in Scarface

A woman wearing a white skirt suit, shoes, hat, and sunglasses walks down a flight of stairs with a man wearing dark glasses and checking his watch.
[Image description: A woman wearing a white skirt suit, shoes, hat, and sunglasses walks down a flight of stairs with a man wearing dark glasses and checking his watch.] Via Pinterest.
Among Elvira’s array of slinky, low-cut dresses is this white ensemble. With this outfit she says that, while marriages (to men who are deeply passionate about cocaine) don’t always last, fashion is forever.

10. Mystic sweater

Still from 'Mystic Pizza' (1988). A curly-haired woman in a red sweater holding a pool cue looks over at a man wearing a tan jacket.
[Image description: Still from ‘Mystic Pizza’ (1988). A curly-haired woman in a red sweater holding a pool cue looks over at a man wearing a tan jacket.] Via IMDb.
Pool isn’t generally fun to watch, so I’m giving most of the credit to this sweater. Mystic Pizza was also Julia Roberts’ film debut, and ever since then her presence onscreen has been as striking and comfortable as this button-up sweater. A mystic sweater omen!

11. Pretty in pink

A red-haired girl in a pink dress with a high neck and exposed shoulders.
[Image description: A red-haired girl in a pink dress with a high neck and exposed shoulders.] Via Cosmopolitan.
This wouldn’t be a legitimate run-down of 80s movie fashion unless Molly Ringwald featured more than once, so here we are! Andie Walsh spearheaded grandma-chic 30 years before the term ‘grandmillenials’ was coined. An icon!


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Amandi Fernando

By Amandi Fernando

Editorial Fellow