We continue our retrospective series by looking at the decade of Flashdance, Pac-Man and of course, Madonna. From film to fashion, read on to revisit the spirit and style of the 1980s.

Ah, the 80s. Dark eyeliner, tight trousers and lots of hairspray... and that's just the boys! Disco went aerobic, punk went goth and MTV led music videos to become almost as important as the songs. This is one unique decade that still heavily influences our films, music and fashion today.


From The Breakfast Club to St. Elmo’s fire, the 1980s was truly the decade of the ‘Brat Pack’ films. Although others are often included, the core members of the ‘pack’ of actors are Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Rob Lowe, Andrew McCarthy and Demi Moore. Horror films were also popular throughout the decade, with A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th and Poltergeist all proving to be hits at the box office. Action was another popular film genre during the 80s, with several action film franchises launching during the decade. These included Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Rambo, Predator and the Terminator series.

Music, television and video-gaming

MTV was launched in the United States during the 1980s, leading to music videos having a much bigger influence on the record industry. Pop artists such as Michael Jackson, Madonna and Whitney Houston (all who dominated the charts during the period) mastered the art of music videos to perfection. Michael Jackson was definitely the icon of the 1980s and his 1982 album Thriller became (and still is) the best-selling album of all time.

The 1980s truly transformed television, with cable TV becoming far more accessible and ultimately popular. By the mid-eighties, almost 70% of America had cable television and over 85% were paying for cable services such as HBO. Some of the most popular TV series during the period were Dallas, Knight Rider and Quantum Leap.

Video-gaming also rose to prominence during the 80s with the introduction of Pac-Man in 1980. It was the first game to achieve widespread popularity and Pac-Man himself became an iconic game character. Other famous games throughout the decade were Super Mario Bros, The Legend of Zelda and of course, Donkey Kong.


In complete contrast to the silhouette of fashion throughout the decade before, both women and men began wearing looser shirts and tighter trousers throughout the 1980s. The 1983 film Flashdance made ripped sweatshirts shoot to popularity, while television shows such as Dallas and Dynasty helped oversized shoulder pads take centre stage. The New Romantic music movement had a huge influence on the way both men and women dressed throughout the 1980s, as did pop and heavy metal artists.


Madonna became a fashion icon for many young women when she released Like a Virgin in late 1984, donning short skirts worn over leggings, untidy bleached hair with roots growing through, fishnet gloves and of course, crucifix jewellery. Meanwhile, the arrival of the aerobics craze persuaded the classic leotard of the 70s to take a leap from the dance floor into the gym. This was accompanied by matching tights, legwarmers and elastic headbands (thanks to the musical films, Fame and Flashdance).


The 1980s introduced an explosion of colourful styles to men's wardrobes, often led by popular television shows. Miami Vice was one of these TV series, leading men to wear casual T-shirts underneath lavish suit jackets, often in bright or pastel hues. Many teenage guys would imitate Michael Jackson's distinctive look during the 1980s, including matching red or black leather trousers and jackets, one glove and aviator sunglasses. New Romantic and gothic fashion also became extremely popular throughout the decade, heavily influenced by the punk movement of the 1970s.

Don't forget to check in next Thursday as we look back at the decade that brought us the Internet, The Simpsons and The Spice Girls...