Earring Styles of the 1980s
If you lived through the eighties you'll remember it as a decade where everything was loud, bold, and incredibly colourful! Back-combed, teased and permed hair styles, wide shoulder pads, and high-street fashion that pushed boundaries like never before, the eighties were a high-energy decade of pop culture and punk. Costume jewellery was everywhere, highly affordable, and offered limitless opportunity for personal expression.
80s TEEN STYLE Teenagers of the eighties were the last to go though their teen years with no internet or mobile phones, but they did have MTV and a crop of teen magazines like Dolly, Girlfriend and Teen Beat!
Inspired by stars like Madonna, Debbie Gibson and Cindi Lauper, the fashions were oversized and out there. Remember these classics?
Challenge: There are 40 styles from the 80s in the star above. Can you find them all?
Pop culture of the time loved colourful beaded necklaces (lots of them!), stacked bangles, and studded leather wrist wraps.
AND THE GROWN-UPS WORE
For those in the workforce, or out of their teen years, the fashion of the early part of the decade was still loosely following the styles of the seventies, with big collars, long coats, and pant suits. The rise of popular soap American soap operas Dynasty and Dallas saw a shift towards power suits, faux fur, ruffles, turtle necks and plunging necklines. Princess Diana was a popular source of inspiration for the more conservative who loved her cropped pants, tailored skirts, dog-tooth checks, and white shirts teamed with bleached denim. Jewellery was chunky and gold-tone with lots of faux pearls and colourful gems. Here's a little 1980s fashion inspiration for you...
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE EARRINGS?
The earrings of the eighties were either huge and colourful, or bold yet ladylike. The 'young ones' loved their oversized hoops, neon geometric designs, and gold buttons, which matched the 'sailor' buttons on their shirts and blazers. For women who were more 'refined', small door-knockers, faux gems, and beaded crystal clusters were all the rage.
It was also during the 1980s that it again became more mainstream for men to wear earrings. Boy George loved them big and bold, while George Michael favoured a plain hoop, occasionally enhanced with dangling cross. The expanding size and weight of earrings meant that clip-ons were extremely popular. Huge polymer crosses hung from punk rockers' lobes, while the pop teens wore anything from large fluoro hoops, to bright plastic polka dot buttons, wild neon geometrics and fabric animal prints.
Imitation gold, diamanté, faux pearls, and colourful glass or resin gemstones were popular, as where the huge rhinestone chandeliers favoured by television megastars like Joan Collins and Linda Evans.
So if you want to do the 80s earring thing, what do you look out for? The main thing is they have to be BIG! If you can't see them from as far away as next week, then you're not doing it right!
Go for bold – bright plastics, glaringly obvious neons, colourful lacquers and cloisonné enamels.
Gold – Gold coloured, but not necessarily gold plated, was way more popular than silver. Gold matched buttons, buckles, and collar chains, and you could never have enough gold in the eighties – just ask Mr T!
Faux – Costume jewellery was HUGE in the eighties, and everyone wore a lot of it, so to keep it affordable designers used a range of 'alternatives'. Faux pearls, rhinestones and diamanté, plastic crystals and resin gemstones, and 'goldtone' metals meant that everyone could accessorise to their heart's content.
Hoops, the bigger the better!
Buttons and baubles, preferably ones that leave no part of your lobe showing.
And if you're going for chandeliers or drops, make sure they're shoulder dusters!
If you're a fan of 80s earrings it's worth keeping an eye on our 'True Vintage' page. We try to source earrings of all decades and eras and you never know what you might find there! Other articles you might enjoy:
Next week: "Aprils Birthstone - The Diamond" Find out what the diamond means for those with April birthdays!