Five Pop Culture Trends That Helped Shape the 1980s

Table of Contents1 Women’s Power Dressing2 Food + Fun = ‘Eatertainment’ 3 Music Goes Visual4 The…

American popular culture in the 1980s reflected larger social, political, technological and media trends, from the rapid spread of cable television to the cultural peak of suburban malls. Here’s a look at five pop culture trends that heavily shaped the “Me” decade.

Women’s Power Dressing

Diana, Princess of Wales aboard the new cruise liner “Royal Princess,” named in her honor, after its formal naming ceremony, 1984

Shoulder pads. Oversized double-breasted suits. The floppy silk “tie.” On runways and movie sets, in office buildings and boardrooms, women of the ’80s dressed in masculine-inspired fashions to express their growing power. Corporate business women, First Lady Nancy Reagan and global icon Princess Diana alike embraced the suit look, as did heavy-hitting designers of the era including Giorgio Armani, Thierry Mugler and Calvin Klein. The suits, shoulder pads and lady ties permeated pop culture as well, showcased in movies such as 9 to 5 (1980) and Working Girl (1988) and TV shows like Dynasty (1981-89) and Moonlighting (1985-89)—all of which featured strong female characters who brought even more popularity to the power dressing trend.