80s jumpsuits

Jumpsuits

80's Pants May 29, 2022

The 1980s saw many different popular trends bloom within the fashion industry. One of those particular trends that were very popular throughout most of the 1980s was the jumpsuit.

Nothing was better than being able to get dressed in a matter of moments, because your entire outfit consisted of a single garment. But how did this convenient 1980s fashion come to be?

The jumpsuit can be traced back long before the 1980s. In fact, it can be traced back to the first world war. The name itself refers to the outfit that was provided by the military to paratroopers, thus the name “jump” suit.

Pilots and other airmen sported the jumpsuit, not as a fashion statement, but because of how easy it was to put on. Back in those days the jumpsuit was synonymous with some of the most extreme and dangerous lines of work. But all of that changed when disco hit the scene in the 1970s.

The 80s Jumpsuit

While jumpsuits were very popular in the 1980s, they gained their popularity thanks to the 1970s disco movement. There was a large selection of fashionable styles that one could wear to the local disco. As the 70s segued into the 80s, the jumpsuit’s popularity continued to grow. And as a result, the variety of styles and options to choose from grew as well.

Initially a unisex fashion, during the 1980s the Jumpsuit became a fashion worn by more women than men.

Legendary 70s Band “Abba” Wearing Jumpsuits Initially Sparked The Jumpsuit Trend As A Unisex Fashion.

It was not uncommon for young women to wear light jumpsuits made of chambray during the summer months. They came in a wide variety of colors including pastel blues, pinks, as well as yellows.

To make them more attractive, some even had various floral prints and patterns. Eventually jumpsuits would start to include various details such as lace appliques, pleats, as well as a wide variety of add-ons.

Fashion icons like the late Princess Diana also helped grow the popularity of the 80s jumpsuit. She was often seen out in public sporting this casual, yet elegant fashion.

princess diana jumpsuit
Princess Diana Wearing A Yellow Jumpsuit
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As a general rule, most jumpsuits that were available throughout the 80s featured short sleeves rather than full-length. While a variety of two-piece jumpsuits also featured a jacket, the underlying jumpsuit was still cut off at the elbow.

80s Coveralls

At the same time that jumpsuits were gaining in popularity, coveralls too became very popular. While the jumpsuit was seen as more of a feminine, laid-back style, the coveralls represented a more hard-working style.

80s coveralls denim
Vintage 80s “Coveralls” Were Often Made Of Denim

They often included zippers rather than buttons, as well as a wide variety of buckles and snaps. Moreover, compared to jumpsuits they were generally composed of heavier denim fabrics that were cut to a more boxy appearance.

The 80s Jumpsuit Shape

The jumpsuit, on the other hand, was cut to be full and designed to be more formfitting than coveralls. Virtually all jumpsuits in the 1980s had a cinched waistline that typically featured a belt as well.

Jumpsuits Typically Were Cinched At The Waist With A Belt And Could Be Either Short Or Long Sleeved

The legs of the pants were generally pleated in order to give off the appearance of wider and fuller hips.

From there, they tapered down to the ankle with some versions featuring a cinched ankle, while others had more of a bell-bottom shape. The upper part of jumpsuits were designed to emphasize the shoulders and sometimes included shoulder pads which was a big fashion trend at the time.

Jumpsuits And Shoulder Pads

By the mid-1980s, two-piece jumpsuits began to grow in popularity. Just about all of the newer suits being sold featured a coordinating jacket, that was worn over top of the jumpsuit itself.

Thanks to the rock fashions of the 80s, shoulder pads quickly grew in popularity. And as they grew in popularity, they also got bigger. It was not uncommon to see women and even teenagers wearing jumpsuits with oversized shoulder pads, with plenty of sequins to boot.

80s jumpsuit shoulder pads
80s Jumpsuits Sometimes Incorporated The “Shoulder Pads” Fashion Trend Popular At The Time

Jumpsuit Style and Elegance

But the jumpsuit was not just for kids, teenagers, or those heading out to the clubs. Eventually they would also become extremely popular evening wear.

It wasn’t uncommon to see Blanche from the Golden Girls (and other women like her) sporting a very fashionable jumpsuit.

rue mcclanahan jumpsuit
Rue McClanahan Wearing A Jumpsuit In This Famous “Golden Girls” (1985) Scene

Some of the most stylish jumpsuits available throughout the 80s were made of knits and other woven fabrics. Often, the suit itself was a solid color but featured a number of contrasting accents which made them more appropriate to wear during an evening event.

Are Jumpsuits Still Popular?

Because of its resurgence in popularity during the 1980s, the jumpsuit still remains popular today. It’s just one of those fashion trends that seem to be timeless. It is both stylish and functional, both of which are keys to fashion trends standing the test of time.

We still see many businesswomen and celebrities wearing jumpsuits today, and the style is still very en vogue. For now it appears the jumpsuit will still remain, but like anything fashion related, only time will tell.

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