Hold the phone – ’80s maximalism is back

Step aside clean girl minimalism, flashy '80s excess is here.

Just a few years ago, the words ’80s fashion‘ may have conjured haunting images of fluorescent lace gloves, spandex and permed hair. However, with trend cycles lasting about 20 years, we’re due for another ’80s fashion revival. But instead of feathered bangs and acid wash jeans, the ’80s aesthetic revival that’s coming will see things like bubble hems, drop waists and even prairie chic become ultra-stylish.

Here’s five ’80s maximalist fashion trends that you can expect to see this year.


Bubble hems

from $90 (on sale) at The Iconic

Bubble hems have dipped in and out of fashion trends ever since Yves Saint Laurent designed a cocktail gown with the fun and flirty hemline for Dior in 1959. The hemline, along with several other 50’s trends, was revived in the 80s and often accompanied dresses with crazy patterns and/or a drop waist.

Sizes: 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16.

Colours: Floral Print.

Materials: Organic cotton.

Other bubble hem dresses and skirts:

  • Aje Violette Bubble Hem Maxi Dress $695 from Aje
  • ShowPo Corset Bubble Dress $79.95 from ShowPo


Drop waist dresses

from $90 at The Iconic

The drop waist emerged from the post-war fashion era of the early 1920s as well as the 1940s. It wouldn’t reappear until the ’80s where everything from haute couture gowns to everyday dresses had a drop waist. The drop waist has recently re-emerged on the runways and general fashion and we’re here for this ’80s fashion trend!

Sizes: 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18.

Colours: Black and neutral, white and black.

Materials: Polyester, viscose, elastane.

More drop waist dresses available at:

  • Seed Heritage Linear Retro Dress $99 from Myer
  • Romee Maxi Dress $69 from Cotton On
  • AERE Organic Cotton Voile Cap Sleeve Drop Waist Midi Dress $128 from The Iconic


Lace tights

from $29 at M&S

One of the biggest indicators that we’re in a full-blown ’80s fashion revival is the reappearance of lace tights à la Madonna in her Like a Virgin era. But it’s not just lace tights that are about to be chic, ornate and colourful tights will dominate fashion this upcoming Winter, too.

Sizes: Small, medium, large, extra large.

Colours: White, black.

Materials: Polyamide, elastane.

More lace tights available at:

  • High Heel Jungle Mercury Tights $59 from The Iconic
  • High Heel Jungle Velvet Bow Pearl Tight $65 from The Iconic


Power suits

from $85 (on sale) at Meshki

With more women entering the workforce than ever in the 1980s, we borrowed and reclaimed a staple of a man’s closet – the suit, and the claim to authority associated with it. From Princess Diana to Hilary Clinton and every woman in between – power suits were inescapable.

Whilst suits are arguably timeless, the ’80s power suit – which is typified by shoulder pads, fun patterns and an oversized silhouette – is particularly trendy now.

Sizes: XXS, XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL.

Colours: Coco, olive, charcoal.

Material: Polyester.


Prairie chic

from $ at Batsheva

Standing at the direct antithesis of ‘power dressing’ with flashy, structured suits was ‘prairie chic’. The prairie chic fashion was marked by drop waist dresses and skirts with boxy silhouettes, floral prints, ruffles and pilgrim-esque collars. Just like with the drop waist trend, prairie fashion was a throwback to 1950s culture which had both a preppy and conservative appeal.

Now, the return of prairie chic is done in an utterly camp way with brands like Laura Ashley and Batsheva leading the charge.

Sizes: 0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20.

Colours: Blue.

Material: Cotton.

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