Let’s Get Physical: 80s Outfits that Worked!

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I know this much is true; the 1980s were full of workout clothes. So you want to bring back the days when you kept your legs warm at the gym while Spandau Ballet crooned over the spa’s stereo system? There are 80s outfits that will bring back those halcyon days, even if you no longer have a glam ‘do.

For women, there were two similar, yet competing 80s outfits that predominated in the gym. The movie Flashdance spawned an entire genre of workout clothes based on the gritty, urban feel of the movie. Huge, frizzy hair topped an over-sized sweatshirt, preferably with the neck cut or ripped out of it. Add a black leotard, and the ubiquitous black leg warmers, and you have the preferred workout look for the 1980s urban fashion-conscious. For the complete ensemble, don’t forget to add a couple of strips of white athletic tape across the balls of your feet. Attired like this, you are ready to dancercise the afternoon away.

jamie lee 80s

Competing with that gritty look was a look based on Olivia Newton-John’s music video for the song “Physical.” Eschew the frizzy hair for a bleached glam hair style. Ditto the black; there is no grit here, only beautiful sweat. The look incorporated color-coordinated headband, unitard, opaque stockings, and leg warmers. The colors should match, and, preferably, be bright. Mix and match any from the following palette: pink, powder blue, fuchsia, teal, sea foam green, royal blue, and orange. Find the colors that fit you, but keep it bright and beautiful. Get all dressed up, pop in your favorite Jane Fonda workout tape, and let me hear your body talk!

80s workout girlFor men, the gym and 80s outfits did not mix very well. There was the tried and true throwback outfit sported by Stallone in the Rocky movies: too tight shorts, a wife-beater, white socks, and Chuck Taylor Converse shoes. Ugh, don this outfit and you feel monosyllabic. Then, there were the innovative additions of the 80s themselves. You could substitute the too tight running shorts for some too short Umbro’s. The gaping leg holes always seemed to leave little to the imagination. Even worse than that, however, were the spandex bike shorts and bikini underwear that became de rigueur workout attire for men. Talk about leaving nothing to the imagination! These sometimes forced you to close your eyes and imagine you were anywhere else on the planet.

Like cell phones, answering machines, cable television, and the personal computer, working out came of age in the 1980s. Health spas and gyms popped up all over the country. Regardless of what type of exercise you chose, there were 80s outfits that could accommodate your needs. Unless, that is, your need was to not see everything the guy beside you had to offer.addidis 80s outfit

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