The Best of 1980s Paris Street Style

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From structured shoulders to the iconic blazer-over-turtleneck look, Paris made 80s fashion classic and wearable through decades to follow.

The rather garish, oversized style of the 1980s found its refinement in Paris. In the United States, the 80s meant extra-large perms, lamé, sparkle, and color. But as we move closer to Europe, 80s style becomes classier––structured shoulders and collars met vintage hats for a less rebellious (but just as powerful) feel. 

Elegant silhouettes and Renaissance-inspired designs (velvet and bustiers) adorned shop mannequins and fashion moguls alike. While shine and sparkle were definitely present, it was often complimented by matte materials, offering ensembles an approachable balance. The high-waisted "mom (or dad) jean" as it's fondly known today was often paired with a turtleneck and a blazer. This look, prevalent among men and women at the time, became ubiquitous and is definitely still recognized as a Parisian staple ensemble.

The Parisian woman, officially known throughout the world for her confidence and poise, often drew inspiration from menswear. Low heels and fitted trousers became a fashion mainstay in the 80s—a look that is still copied today across the globe. In the  early 1980s, the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld was hired by Chanel when the brand was in dire need of a design revival. He took Coco Chanel's eponymous fashion house and lead it to become the icon it was meant to be and remains today.

Here, we pay tribute to a defining decade in Parisian fashion.

Statement Pieces

Claudia Cardinale and Mireille Darc attend a reception honoring Luchino Visconti at the Paris Opera De Paris in 1980. Each woman wears a statement accessory in pearl white. Bertrand Rindoff Petroff

Oversized Jackets

Left: Model Alessandra Mussolini in Paris, 1983. Right: A model wearing a drop-waisted blouson jacket at the Carre du Louvre in Paris, 1982. Bernard CHARLON / Contributor; Central Press / Stringer

Neck Tie Blouses

French police officer Martine Monteil walks on a street of Paris, 1989, in a structured blazer and necktie blouse. PATRICK HERTZOG / Staff


Left: Sophie Marceau and Bernard Giraudeau at a party, 1987. Right: Theatre-goers in Paris, 1987. Bertrand Rindoff Petroff / Contributor; Patrick AVENTURIER / Contributor

Menswear as Womenswear

Left: Anne-Aymone Giscard d'Estaing with her son Louis-Joachim in Paris, 1981. Right: Jean Poiret and Caroline Cellier walk on a street in Montparnasse, 1982. Laurent MAOUS/Contributor; PAT / Contributor

Designer Streetwear

Street style at the Yves Saint Laurent fall/winter show, 1986-1987. Victor VIRGILE /Gamma-Rapho

Bright Color

Left: Model Jerry Hall in Paris, 1980. Right: Cheryl Tiegs with her former husband Peter Beard in Paris, 1983. Marc BULKA / Contributor;  Pool APESTEGUY/SOLA / Contributor


Left: Street style at the Yves Saint Laurent ready-to-wear fall/winter show, 1986-1987. Right: Fashion designer Azzedine Alaia walking in Paris with model Frederique van der Wal who wears one of his creations, 1986. Victor VIRGILE /Gamma-Rapho;  Arthur Elgort / Conde Nast / Contributor