Ancient Greeks and Romans wore bracelets to signify power and authority! But...
The 80s were known for their wild fashion trends, which, amongst neon leggings, shoulder pads, and curly hair, included the wearing of bangles! From vibrant neon colors to glittery metallics, bangles could be seen adorning wrists on teens and adults alike; even the Queen of Pop herself, Madonna, sported arms full of colorful, statement-making bangles. The big chunky plastic kind were especially popular, from the discotheque to your local high school prom dance.
But bangles weren’t the only type of jewelry found on the arms and wrists of 1980s teens and fashion enthusiasts – from gold earrings to statement chokers, the 1980s birthed some of the most influential and timeless jewelry trends that still remain popular to this day. So, what other types of jewelry were common in the not-so-roaring 80s? Let’s take a look.
Did people wear bangles in the 80s?
Absolutely! Bangles were a fun way to add some color and sparkle to any outfit, and in some cases, bangles were even worn to symbolize a political, religious or activist-related cause.
What jewelry was worn in the 1980s?
While bangles were frequently seen both on and off the runway, what other jewelry pieces were popular in the 1980s? Whether you’re planning a costume party or simply want to channel one of your favorite 80s movie stars, here are the pieces to add to your ensemble:
Aside from bangles, jewelry in the 80s focused on big and bold statement pieces. Chunky chain necklaces and earrings were popular, as well as statement earrings of all sizes. Ear cuffs and chokers were also embraced during this period, and continued to be popular well into the 90s.
Sparkles, sparkles, and more sparkles
Of course, no look was complete without a few sparkly gems thrown in for good measure. Pins and brooches decorated with colorful rhinestones added an extra sprinkle of glamor to any outfit. From Julia Roberts’ sparkly ruby and diamond necklace in Pretty Woman, to
When it comes to the 1980s, silver was out and gold was very much in! Who can forget the classic shiny gold hoops adorned by every movie star and actress of the age? From Olivia Newton John in Grease, to the larger-than-life gold hoops worn by Neneh Cherry in her 1988 music video for “Buffalo Stance”, 80s jewelry was a statement of its own, and was featured across music, film, and even literature.
How to wear 80s-inspired jewelry
If you’re planning an 80s themed party or simply want to add some vintage into your wardrobe, here’s how to make 80s jewelry work in 2023:
Go for gold, but go for quality
Choose gold jewelry, but go for pieces crafted with quality materials that won’t tarnish or dull over time. For the authentic yellow-gold look, opt for 22 karat gold bangles – not only are they more durable than pure gold items (and more affordable, too!) but they’ll give you that lucrative yellow-gold hue associated with the real thing.
Glam it up with a statement earring
A single statement earring (or a pair!) is an easy way to add 80s flair to any outfit. The 80s was all about sending a message – so do so with a pair of glam earrings! From oversized hoops to larger-than-life stud and pendant earrings, mix a statement pair with a minimalist outfit – and why not throw in some shoulder pads while you’re at it?
Layer your chains
If there’s one thing the 80s didn’t do, it was subtlety. There’s really no such thing as a demure 80s necklace, only layers and layers of gold, diamond, and sparkle – so get layering for an authentic 80s look! Gold chains and pendants are ideal here – you can even mix and match different necklaces to create something unique.
Are bangles still worn today?
Yes! Bangles remain a popular fashion accessory for both men and women alike, and don’t forget the cultural symbolism that bangles hold across India and other regions of Southeast Asia. In Indian wedding ceremonies, armfuls of gold bangles – also known as Chooda – are worn by the bride to symbolize her new marital status and bring luck to her marriage.
While the shape and cultural relevance of bangles may have changed and evolved over the years, their significance and popularity has never truly waned, making them a timeless piece of statement jewelry.