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Person admiring view of the sea and mountains during a hike from Thira to Oia in Santorini, Greece Person admiring view of the sea and mountains during a hike from Thira to Oia in Santorini, Greece

Must-have 80s fashion pieces for your holiday wardrobe

Need a bit of wardrobe inspiration for your next trip away? Look no further than the 1980s.

Holiday Extras has a lot of love for the 1980s. We're an 80s baby after all – it's our 40th birthday this year, having been founded in 1983. The decade was full of iconic pop culture moments, some of the best music and cinema and, of course, the brightest, boldest and loudest of fashion trends. Let's look back at the best (and worst) styles from the 80s and find some inspiration for your holiday wardrobe.

Big hair

If you want to bring the 80s into your holiday wardrobe, you need to think big – and it all starts with the hair. Whether you're perming, crimping, curling or mulleting, don't be afraid to go XL on the volume and unleash your inner Diana Ross.

Do: Invest in a scrunchie. With all that hair, you'll want to tie it up from time to time.

Don't: Forget to bring your hair products – you're going to need bucket loads of mousse, gel and spray to pull this off.

Lady with big hair and sunglasses

Supersized sunnies

Sunglasses with giant frames looked cool back then, and they look equally cool now. Everyone from Meg Ryan and Cindy Crawford to Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sammy Davis Jr rocked a pair of oversized sunnies – wayfarers and aviators by Ray-ban were particularly popular at the time.

Do: Wear these 24 hours a day. Why take them off when they make you look like a Miami Vice extra?

Don't: Take them off when you get home. The tan lines will look horrific and may somewhat ruin the Don Johnson aesthetic you were going for.

Leg warmers

Fashion trends in the 80s were heavily influenced by celebrities promoting fitness and aerobic exercises. Jane Fonda and Olivia Newton-John led the way, championing brightly coloured spandex bodysuits and leg warmers in exercise videos that caught the imagination of fashionistas everywhere.

While we'd prefer to forget that the spandex trend ever happened, the leg warmers can stay. They look great paired with skinny jeans, dresses or skirts and will add a nostalgic neon glow to your carefully curated holiday outfit.

Do: Watch Flashdance, Fame and Perfect. Jennifer Beals, Irene Cara and Jamie Lee Curtis inspired swathes of teens to rock these bright, lairy garments and they will inspire you too.

Don't: Pair them with spandex. Some trends fade out for a reason.


Man in Speedos swimming in the sea in Dubrovnik, Croatia

The 80s were all about tight fitting garments and the shortest of shorts, and there's nothing tighter or shorter than a trusty pair of Speedos. And luckily for those of us looking to fuel our trip to the beach with 80s nostalgia, Speedos are officially back in fashion.

You may be apprehensive, but hear us out. They're comfortable, edgy, down-right flattering, great for tanning your legs and, thanks to their snug size, are easy to fit into your suitcase if you're tight on space.

Do: Channel your inner George Michael. That man knew how to wear a pair of Speedos – head to Club Tropicana and see for yourself.

Don't: Feel embarrassed. Sure, you might get one or two stares from more prudish beachgoers, but the killer tan you'll get out of it will more than make up for the inevitable blushes.

Leather jackets

Leather will always be in fashion, and the 80s was no exception. Musicians and film stars like Madonna, Tom Cruise, Cher and Michael Jackson helped cement the leather jacket as a must-have fashion piece, and popular styles included large padded shoulders, the double rider and cafe-racer jackets.

Do: Roll your sleeves up. All the cool kids were doing it, and so should you.

Don't: Bring one to Tenerife. Tenerife is far too warm for you to be wearing a leather jacket, no matter how cool you look in one.

Rah-rah skirt

Initially sported by cheerleaders and tennis players, the mini skirt became popular in the 1960s and remained a must-have fashion piece in the 80s.

Our go-to style is the rah-rah skirt, a frilly multi-layered skirt that was usually brightly coloured and often adorned with glittery sequins. The perfect skirt to take you from sunning it up on the beach to bustin' a move on the dance floor.

Do: Opt for bold, bright colours and whacky patterns. You'll stand out, which is exactly what this skirt is for.

Don't: Stand over a steam grate. Unless you're after a Marylin Monroe moment, of course.

High-cut swimsuits

If you've ever watched Baywatch, or remember Joey and Chandler's obsession with it in Friends, you'll be familiar with the one-piece high-cut red swimsuits worn by Pamela Anderson and Yasmine Bleeth during many a slow-motion run down the beach.

Models like Christy Turlington and Sybil Danning dominated magazine front covers during the 80s wearing high-cut numbers, prompting many to follow suit. The likes of Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner have repopularised this iconic 80s look, which works wonders if you want to elongate your legs or accentuate your curves.

Do: Run down the beach in slow motion for the ultimate Baywatch moment.

Don't: Let anyone film you running down the beach in slow motion – it may look slightly odd, and you'll no doubt be plastered all over social media.

Double denim

Double denim gets a lot of undue hate, but back in the 80s it was all the rage. Everyone from heart-throb Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club to Marty McFly in Back to the Future was rocking this love-to-hate combo, and it's about time you did too.

We recommend going heavy metal with your choice of denim for the most authentically 80s look – an acid wash and plenty of rips will do the trick.

Do: Make sure your jacket is a different colour to your jeans. Matching your jacket and jeans can work, but it's much harder to pull off.

Don't: Even think about triple denim. You're already pushing your luck, let's not go completely off the rails.