Five Pop Culture Trends That Helped Shape the 1980s

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

Women’s Power Dressing

Shoulder pads. Oversized double breasted suits. The supple silk “tie”. On catwalks and movie sets, in office buildings and boardrooms, ’80s women dressed in menswear-inspired clothing to express their growing power. Businesswomen First Lady Nancy Reagan and global icon Princess Diana all embraced the suit look, as did top designers of the time, including Giorgio Armani, Thierry Mugler and Calvin Klein. Women’s suits, shoulder pads and ties have also permeated pop culture, featured in films such as 9 to 5 (1980) and A hard worker (1988) and TV shows like Dynasty (1981-89) and Illegal work (1985-89) – all of which featured strong female characters that brought even more popularity to the power dressing trend.

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