sequin dress

Sequins

80's Tops Jun 22, 2022

As the glam rock bands of the 1970s grew in popularity in the United States during the 80s, they brought with them their style, fashion, and sequins.

Although these shiny bits of reflective material had been sewn into clothing for centuries, it wasn’t until manufacturing processes in the 80s made them cheaper to produce, that they truly became popular.

80s sequins
80s Fashion Trend: Sequins

So why were sequins such a popular fashion trend in the 1980s? Well first let’s examine a little about how this popular reflective material came to be.

The History Of Sequins

The Egyptians were the first known civilization to use some form of sequins. It was discovered during the 1930s that the fan bearers of the Egyptian pharaohs had been dressed in outfits that featured metal sequins.

Ancient Egyptian Fan Bearers Are Thought To Be Among The First People To Wear Sequins

From the 17th to 19th century, due to the cost of manufacturing, only those with money could afford sequin outfits. By the 1930s, the cost of manufacturing sequins had reduced drastically thanks to the ability to electroplate reflective gelatin onto metal sequins. However, the gelatin would melt if it got too warm, which limited when and where they could be worn.

Eventually, Kodak would manufacture clear sequins that were very popular despite their brittleness. These clear plastic sequins were soon replaced by a polyester film, before eventually being replaced by vinyl plastics in the early 1960s.

“The Supremes” Help Make Sequins A Popular Fashion Trend In The 1960s

By the late 1960s, the cost of manufacturing sequins had reduced enough that it was possible for anyone to purchase an outfit featuring them, and they started to appear more and more in pop culture.

Glam Rock

Glam rock was very popular in the 1970s in the UK. It was during this time that rock legends like David Bowie first stepped out on the stage. As glam rock bands made their way to the US, they brought with them their fashion style, including their use of sequins.

By the 1980s, bands like Van Halen, Kiss, Cheap Trick, and even Alice Cooper were wearing outfits that were covered in little reflective bits of plastic.

Bands Like Van Halen Often Performed In Sequins During The 80s
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Thanks to MTV, looks were everything when it came to the 80s music industry, and if a band truly wanted to stand out from the crowd, then they had no option but to dress up in some of the most iconic outfits of the era. And some of those outfits were covered in sequins!

Michael Jackson

Sequins were not just for rock ‘n’ roll. It was during the 1980s when Michael Jackson chose to revamp his image as a pop idol. During this time period, he adapted his image from popular British boy bands of the time, which included outfits that were covered in sequins.

michael jackson sequins
Michael Jackson Was A Big Fan Of Sequin Outfits In The 1980s

As he got rid of his Jerry Curls in exchange for straighter hair, he reached out to Christopher Decarnin, the fashion designer who later would create his iconic sequin-covered outfits.

Sequin Dresses

While sequin was a popular choice for musicians, it was also an excellent choice for women who wanted to freshen up and look exotic for a night out on the town. During the 1980s, sequined dresses were all the rage because of their exotic glittering look.

80s sequin dresses
Sequin Dresses Were Popular In The 1980s For Their Glamorous Look

The true brilliance of a sequined dress can only be observed at night when the reflecting lights can truly shine off of them, which is why they were so popular for evening wear. Not only were there sequin dresses, but you could also find sequined shirts, jackets, and even skirts during the 1980s.

Are Sequins Still Popular Today?

Though not as popular as they once were in the 1980s, we still do see sequin dresses quite often today. These dresses are usually worn to formal occasions, and definitely appear often at any engagement where celebrities are involved.

selena gomez sequins
Selena Gomez Seen Recently Wearing A Sequin Dress

We often see women wearing sequin dresses to entertainment award shows, as well as on the cover of magazines, and for photoshoots.

Sequins as a fashion has been going strong for decades now, and we don’t expect them to go out of style any time soon.

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