The 1980's have been cited as an era of fashion misteps, but there have been resurgences over the years of shoulder pads, bright colors, and plastic jewelry, so we can't exactly say that 80's fashion died for good come 1990. These films have the most quintessential 80's fashion, be it garish, over-the-top, or simply great.
Above: Daryl Hannah in Bladerunner (1982)
Heathers is cult fave for many reasons, a lesser one being the hilarious fashion that adds an element of humor to an otherwise dark film. The high-end highschoolers are decked out in power suits and puffy blouses, always ready to plot their next move in style.
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Ferris Bueller is most known for Matthew Broderick's portrayal of Ferris himself, but his girlfriend Sloane has the confidence to pull off fringed leather with shoulder pads, and we love her for it. Together with Ferris' tacky sweater vest that he makes look (almost) sexy and Cameron's vague sports jersey, the trio are perfectly 80's in their prep-meets-altwear.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
The Breakfast Club is an amazing film for so many reasons, a lesser noticed one being the great clothes. We all fell in love with Judd Nelson a little bit (or a lot) in his classic plaid and denim combo that he made look so badass, but who else was into Molly Ringwald's prim and polished suede and pink getup? The range of personalities reflects so well in their not-too-over-the-top 80's fashions.
Dirty Dancing (1987)
Dirty Dancing isn't full of padded silhouettes, but it does a nice job of working in the silly workout gear of the era more subtly than Flashdance. Jennifer Grey is supposed to be geeky and awkward as Baby, but we can't help but notice her slamming bod in her crop tops.
St. Elmo's Fire (1985)
Everything Demi Moore wears in this classic film is ridiculously 80's, but check out the shoulderpads on literally every other character to determine if this film embodies 80's fashion. This cast of familiar 80's characters struggles as they enter adulthood post-college, but the sartorial choices they make along the way add some light humor to their difficult paths.
Working Girl (1988)
Melanie Griffith popularized "power dressing" in this film, whose costumes range from tacky and garish to typical 80's workwear, which isn't the most flattering either. The final accessory on the working women's office wear? Teased hair that almost reaches the ceiling.
Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1985)
This lesser-known teen coming of age story features Sarah Jessica Parker pre-Sex in the City as goody two shoes high schooler, and Helen Hunt as the spunky teen who leads her to come out of her shell. From school uniforms to stereotypical 80's dancewear, this film has a range of silly and kitschy 80's fashions worth mentioning.
Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
This offbeat film had to be mentioned just because it captures Madonna's famous 80's fashion that many of us prefer to remember the icon by over her current grasping-at-youth-desperately look. Rossanna Arquette is in her prime as well, and their coordinated beads, leather, and scrunchies are 80's fashion embodied.
Maybe 80's fashion is best preserved in the movies rather than within the contemporary fashion world, but we can all appreciate the style hits and misses that hollywood stars were forced to rock on-screen.