80s Boy Style: Flat Top Parachutes, Anyone?

The 1980s were the biggest, loudest, most gnarly decade to ever steamroll through humanity. And, when you see a hunk of fashion or kitsch from the decade, you know it immediately! The looks and trends weren’t just for girls, either. Nope, 80s boy style was a thing, too — a big thing — and one that resonates all these years later.

Parachute Pants

If you were a boy or young man in the 80s, chances are you wore these. Made with baggy legs and lots for room everywhere, that extra material created the parachute effect for which the pants were named. And you want pockets? Well, then, parachute pants were for you! Enough pockets to live up to the 80s’ reputation for excess, and enough zippers to match — and to make quite a chorus of jingling sounds as you walked down the school hallway.


One of the 80s’ most iconic hairstyles for boys, this cut featured short hair in front and long hair in back. The best part? No need to get your haircut every few weeks because of that pesky middle-school rule about even haircuts — just stuff that tail down your shirt collar.

The mullet even had its own tagline: “Business in the front, party in the back.”


At the opposite end of the hair spectrum from mullets, the flattop looks like something right out of the 50s. With a buzz cut all around, the flattop is distinctive for the way it stands up all by itself — well, with a little help from some butch wax. And it’s especially distinctive for its, you know, flat top, with all the hairs on top ending at the same height.

Jean Jacket

If 80s fashion had a motto, it would be “more is more.” And the jean jacket was all about that. With its front pockets — which made you look and feel like an 80s icon in training — this simple piece of outerwear became one fashionable way to rep your street cred. The jean jackets somehow made you feel runway chic and tough-as-nails all at once.

Leg Warmers

Yeah, they were ostensibly made for girls, but 80s boys don’t care. 80s girls didn’t either, but that’s another story for another day. Truth is, some 80s boys loved leg warmers because they were a “simple” way to incorporate the new colors of neon and acid greens into his wardrobe without really trying too hard (or spending much money).

The resulting photographic evidence proved to me some of the most damaging and painful memories of the decade, but it was fun in the moment.

Or something.

Rainbow Suspenders

Thanks in part to Robin Williams and his Mork character, many a young man ended up wrapped in a set of rainbow suspenders during the 80s, even if they didn’t need them to hold up their pants.

Girls were equally as likely to wear these, putting them right there in a class with leg warmers as a unisex embarrasser.

Fingerless Gloves

Another fashion statement for 80s boys that you might be able to find today are fingerless gloves.

These were popular with boys and girls alike, as they helped keep hands warm while still leaving the fingers available for texting, dialing a cell phone, or navigating a touch screen.

Oh, wait …

Well, they left you fingers available for, um, being seen, at least. And frostbite, I guess.

Loud Colors

It wasn’t just about what you wore in the 80s — it was about what color your garb was. And how bright. And how many colors you incorporated.

This is where 80s boys looked like peacocks.

We’re talking neon green, purple hair mascara and all the other great 80s colors that were so popular at the time. If it was gaudy and loud and over-the-top, it would fit your wardrobe just fine, no matter what its stated function.

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