fashion

Just 23 photos that show you grew up in the 80s.

As many Australians remain at home, juggling multiple demands while doom scrolling bad news updates, it’s no surprise that we look to the past for some light relief. 

I took a nostalgia trip through old family photo albums, before asking the Mamamia community to join in and share some favourite pics from the 1980s. And boy, did they deliver.

Here are 23 of the best photos from the decade that gave us big hair, big sleeves, bright colours and A LOT of high pants.

You’re welcome.

Side note: watch Mamamia's Clare Stephens review non-family-friendly fashion. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

1. Nama and family.

"Me at age 12 circa 1988. I love my scrunchie ‘fountain’ ponytail. 

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"Here's the whole family at home in Adelaide in around 1987. I’m in the yellow tee, denim ra-ra skirt and stretchy cinch belt. I thought I was such hot s**t in that outfit!"

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2. Jodie.

“October 1986, this was my Year 11 school ball outfit. I hired it. Well, mum hired it for me. Turned out two other girls were wearing the same thing, just in different colours (one in lavender, one hot pink). I was a good sport about it, we had a photo taken together on the night.”

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3. Cathy.

“This photo is from May 1988 for my deb ball."

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"And this one is from a function at Government House. I had my white court shoes on and Wayfarers behind my back. I had a bad perm but thought I was the bomb, and I freaking loved that jacket and its shoulder pads which I bought in 1988, when I finished year 12.”

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4. Nicole and friends.

“1987, I was 13 years old. This was taken before I went to the Michael Jackson concert at Olympic Park in Melbourne."

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"This one is from 1988, I’m on the far right. We are off to the BROS concert and we were big fans. We slept out in the car park of Myer to be first in line for tickets the morning they went on sale. My parents had no idea and thought I was at a sleepover."

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5. Nicky.

“I’m wearing numerous bangles, a home-made shirt with puffer paint that says ‘I love cats’ and clip on earrings. I’m holding a random frill neck lizard. It was taken circa 1989. I’m the third-born girl so it’s all hand-me-downs... except the homemade shirt!”

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6. Kathryn.

"Mismatched accessories a la 1984, fake pearls and sparkly earrings!"

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"An oversized jumper and acid wash jeans (not to mention the cord phone) from 1989."

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7. Natasha and friends.

“Perms! These weren’t that big though, sadly. I thought that vest was the coolest.”

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8. Davi and sister.

“A classic 80s fashion moment… not sure I pulled my pants up high enough.”

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9. Kris with family.

“I think it was at Manly? I’m in the pink terry towelling outfit and my sister Sally, with the Cabbage Patch top, has since died, so I love the photo even more because of her ‘Harry high pants’ look.”

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10. Sisters Angela, Juliana and Rowena.

“This picture was taken at the Foreshore car park with Newcastle city in the background. Having arrived from hot humid Malaysia at the end of 1988, it was our first winter in Australia and we were really feeling the cold! It was our first time wearing parkas too - what a novelty! Mum used to dress us in similar outfits but I was almost 12 years old then and was glad mum couldn’t get a red one in my size. We must’ve looked hilarious to any bystanders watching us flap around as though we were in snow country.”

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11. Kim and brother.

“Check out my giant towelling nappy and my brother’s Legionnaires hat, taken circa 1988.”

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12. Jessica and nephew.

“This is me and my nephew (my half-sister is 22 years older than me, so I was born an aunty), getting ready to go to Nippers in Bondi around 1988. I love the swimwear - high rise, stripes, neon colours and interesting cuts!”

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13. Liv and sister.

“I’m on the cusp of Generation X/Y but here is me and my sister circa 1989 – there were bum bags involved!”

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14. Melanie.

“This was where my love for Disney began! Years later I worked for them and continue to do so.”

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15. Danielle and friends.

“My 1989 year 12 farewell at the Fairmont Resort in Leura. Lots of big hair.”

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16. Cassandra, sister and friends.

“Early 80s Muswellbrook, NSW country style! It might have been an out of uniform day at school. It’s my sister Emma and I and our twin friends, Michelle and Felicity, from across the road. We’re all still friends.”

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17. Kristy and family.

“Taken in 1981. Could our clothes be any smaller? We are just so stylish!”

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18. Nicky and family.

“The Brennan family ski holiday circa 1986.”

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19. Laura (me!)

“A family holiday photo. I’m pictured with my sister Amelia in my very short-shorts, big ‘Fergie’ bow and hairband with matching pastel canvas shoes. I love my dad’s 80s sunnies too.”

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Do you have any great memories or favourite fashion moments from the 1980s? Share them with us in the comments below.

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