During the 1980s, as more women entered the workforce, the tides of fashion began to change. Undoubtedly influenced by the actress Jane Fonda’s workout videos, Spandex leotards, and neon leg warmers became the norm.
From acid wash jeans to neon apparel, 80s fashion has started to make a comeback in recent years. And, it’s no wonder why. 1980s fashion was bright, colorful, practical, and comfortable.
Not only are clothing trends from this decade making a comeback, but so too are jewelry trends. But what were some popular jewelry trends from the 1980s? And how can you bring these trends to the current moment? Read on to learn all about the popular jewelry trends of the 1980s and how you can leverage them in the current day and age as part of your unique sense of style.
Also, be sure to read through some of our other great fashion resources on our blog at LaCkore Couture when you’re done. Our specialized team of jewelry and fashion experts is here to help you take your look to the next level by letting you in on the best tips, tricks, and rules we can provide in our various how-to guides and articles.
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80s Jewelry and Individuality
Jewelry from the 1980s was all about bold expression. During this decade, more people, especially women, were focused on exploring their individuality. In addition to being a fashion accessory for complementing your outfit, jewelry became a way to express yourself.
Long gone were the days of the dainty, feminine, and modest aesthetic that defined the typical housewife wardrobe of earlier decades. As women began to highlight their individuality and take the stage in high-powered, high-earning workforce positions, they ensured that their accessories highlighted their new degree of strength, independence, and capability within society.
Alongside the everyday, working woman, the rich and famous also highlighted their wealth by wearing large and stylish jewelry. All in all, most of the population expressed themselves during this time, whether with luxurious and expensive pieces or with costume jewelry alternatives.
Types of 80s Jewelry
To get a better understanding of what jewelry was like during the 1980s, let’s take a look at the different types of jewelry that defined the decade. From neon bracelets to oversized hoop earrings, this decade had a lot to offer. Here’s what to know:
Throughout previous decades, women had worn smaller, more delicate pieces of jewelry that were almost anything but eyecatching. While counterculture started to see a shift towards larger, bolder pieces of jewelry in the 60s and 70s, it wasn’t until the proverbial fashion revolution of the 1980s that big, bold, and beautiful accessories hit the mainstream and burst into the realm of national popularity, especially when it came to earrings.
In the 1980s, earrings were large and dramatic. Oversized hoops were a staple of the era, and clip-on earrings became the norm. Gold disc earrings were trendy, and they served as the perfect complement to the large gold buttons that adorned jackets and suits.
Alongside circular designs and hoops, however, the 80s also saw the emergence of more unique earring shapes and designs to highlight their naturally bold nature. Walking down the street, you could see ladies strutting their stuff and highlighting their features with massive triangles, rectangles, diamonds, stars, and heart-shaped earrings, often adorned with beautiful designs and eye-catching beads.
Faux gemstones and imitation pearls were also all the rage during the 80s.
When most people think of brooches, they think of the ornate ones worn by the rich and famous during the 1940s or 50s. However, brooches had a significant resurgence in the 1980s, and they weren’t just for lovely Hollywood actresses or the wives of wealthy business tycoons as they once were. Once considered old-fashioned or a status symbol reserved for the elite, brooches became the perfect jewelry accessory in the 1980s, as they were large, bold, and beautiful.
Like gold-disc earrings, many people would wear gold brooches to compliment the gold accents on their clothing. Brooches were also popular in the workplace, as they were often paired with colorful power suits.
While they may be different in appearance and function compared to the broaches adorning business attire and denim or leather jackets during the 80s, broaches have, in a way, remained relatively popular and even seen a massive resurgence in the form of enamel pins over the past few decades.
While modern pins aren’t used to the same degree as 80s-era broaches in terms of fashion accessories, they still play a significant role in how people showcase their style. Nowadays, people often leverage them to showcase specific ideas or beliefs, usually in the form of slogans or short messages included in pin designs.
While necklaces have always been an essential fashion accessory across cultures and history, certain styles of necklaces took center stage during the 80s alongside other popular accessories included in this article.
Necklace styles ranged from large pendants to beaded necklaces in the 1980s and typically featured the same bold, eye-catching details noted in other popular jewelry of the period. Once again, gold was the material of choice in this decade. Both real gold and plated gold were popular options. Often, the gold would complement other jewelry that used real gemstones.
People often leveraged bold charms to make a statement, along with unique pendants adorned with gemstones and pearls. Oversized chainlink necklaces and chokers also became popular, along with the fashion trend of layering multiple necklaces at once to achieve a specific style.
Many women also wore long, colorful ropes of imitation pearls. They would wear the pearls plain, bunched up, or tied in knots.
Rings were as much of a staple of 80s jewelry collections as they are today. Cocktail rings and other costume rings were trendy in this decade, and they came in just about every shape, size, color, and metal type you can think of. People would wear bold statement rings during the day and evening to complement their outfits and, in some cases, show off their wealth. Statement rings were also often paired with equally large and colorful gemstone bracelets.
Large, eye-catching rings gained a lot of popularity alongside other accessories simply because of their bold style and flair. However, a lot of their popularity can also be attributed to the bright cocktail rings frequently donned by Princess Diana, alongside her large sapphire engagement ring now worn by Princess Kate.
Bracelets were big and bold during the 1980s, with colorful bangle bracelets being widely popular. The younger fashionistas of the 1980s also loved wearing plastic neon jelly bracelets, thanks mainly to the role they played in some of Madonna’s well-known outfits. These fantastic pieces of rubbery jewelry were an essential staple in pop princess fashion and provided a unique look to those who layered them across their arms.
Charm bracelets, woven friendship bracelets, and cuffs were also commonplace in this decade.
Jewelry Trends of the 80s
Of course, jewelry trends came and went in the 1980s just as they do today. Here are some of the most prominent jewelry trends of the decade:
1. Large Statement Pieces
Large statement pieces and huge earrings were trendy during this decade. As we mentioned earlier, people were becoming much more expressive and daring with their fashion choices in the 1980s, and wearing large statement pieces was a way of saying, “I’m not afraid to express myself.”
Plus, the large statement pieces paired well with the bright colors and cooky patterns of the decade.
While many people think of neon when they think of the 1980s, gold was just as big of color during this decade. Gold served as the perfect accent to louder prints and color patterns.
Gold was also heavily viewed as a status symbol at the time, so many celebrities and affluent individuals would wear large gold pieces to showcase their wealth.
3. Mixing Metals
While gold may have been the metal of the decade, many people couldn’t afford jewelry pieces made from pure gold. For this reason, mixing metals became very popular in this decade. You’d often find jewelry pieces mixed with gold and another less expensive metal, such as silver.
It even became popular to mix gold with more expensive metals, such as platinum.
4. Melee Diamonds and Gemstones
Of course, metal wasn’t the only popular jewelry element of the 1980s. Large, colorful gemstones were also popular during this decade, as were melee diamonds. Rather than a single large diamond, a piece of jewelry would feature dozens of small melee diamonds arranged in intricate patterns.
Modernize Your 80s Style
Now that you know about the most popular jewelry trends of the 1980s, it’s time to bring the 80s into your modern style. While the decade may be long over, the fashion trends of the 80s still permeate our culture today.
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