55 Vintage 80s Pictures That Will Make You Laugh And Cringe

Published November 22, 2018
Updated December 6, 2021

The decade that declared "I want my MTV" leaves us full of nostalgia for its fashion, full hair, and killer music.

3D Glasses At Breakfast
Kids At A Birthday Party
Picnic In 80s Pictures
Woman In Red Stripe Top
55 Vintage 80s Pictures That Will Make You Laugh And Cringe
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The nostalgia for the 1980s refuses to go away. People love the retro vibe of shows like Netflix's Stranger Things and ABC's The Goldbergs. Maybe people long for the simpler times of their youth; before cell phones and computers took up most of everyone's time. These vintage 80s pictures bring us back to the times of leg warmers and boomboxes; of malls and jazzercise.

It's a strange thing to miss the days when you were afraid to wander too far away from your tape deck radio and consequently not hitting "record" on your favorite song on time. Ditto goes for the VCR and your favorite shows. However, there is a certain magic that happened in the 1980s; one that Hollywood still strives to recreate and that we still miss.

80s-Style Entertainment

"So many of our greatest moviegoing experiences were actually experienced in our house, on VHS," Stranger Things co-creator Matt Duffer reported. "These were the films that were on our shelves, that we would watch ... These were the movies we grew up on. It became a part of us."

Indeed, it seems that if you lived through the 80s, the decade will always be a part of you. The sheer imagination and fun behind the blockbuster films E.T., Back To The Future, and Ghostbusters is still being emulated today.

Music was another crucial part of the decade, which these '80s pictures show in all their hair metal glory. There was punk, post-punk, new-wave, synth-pop, hip-hop, hair metal, and even those who still clung to disco. There was a fashion subset for everyone, as these 80s pictures will show. The 80's remains one of the most baffling decades when it comes to fashion.

Weird Fashion Trends In 80s Pictures

For a preteen in the 80s, fashion meant jelly shoes, charm necklaces, sticker books, and Caboodles. This also meant copying Madonna — spandex, lace skirts, half-shirts, and crucifixes.

As for the rest, anything baggy or with geometric shapes was the utmost in fashion. These 80s pictures show that the muted harvest color craze from the 70s was well on its way out and replaced by — what else — neon.

The later in the decade it got, the bigger and more permed the hair became. Guys even permed the back of their mullets. Hairstyles in this decade, as these 80s pictures will show, have to be some of the weirdest — and that doesn't even account for the 12-inch mohawks that some punks sported.

80s Politics

Reaganomics was the keyword of the day, politically speaking. Ronald Reagan was the president of the U.S. for most of the decade — from 1981 until 1989. As with any president, he had supporters and he had opponents. Things like the Iran-Contra affair certainly sullied his reputation but as a whole, Reagan left office a popular president.

Who can forget first lady Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign? As the 70s ended, all the drugs once deemed as recreational were now looked upon with disdain. However, the crack-cocaine epidemic of the 80s still raged on.

When the Berlin Wall fell and opened Germany's borders on Nov. 9, 1989, so too did the Cold War come to an end as the divide between communists and western democracy came together. Indeed, the hope at the end of the 80s was a sort of global reunification, and it is perhaps this hopefulness that we are so nostalgic for.

Or, as these 80s pictures show, it's indeed just the fashion we miss.

After this look at vintage 80s pictures, check out this gallery of 80s metal aficionados. Then, take a look at these celebrity school photos that the stars probably don't want you to see.

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Cite This Article
Kelly, Erin. "55 Vintage 80s Pictures That Will Make You Laugh And Cringe." AllThatsInteresting.com, November 22, 2018, https://allthatsinteresting.com/80s-pictures. Accessed April 20, 2024.