Acid-washed jeans and denim jackets
became popular with both men and women. Acid washing is the process of chemically bleaching the denim, breaking down the fiber of material and forcing the dye to fade, thus leaving undertones of the original dye evidenced by pale white streaks or spots on the material. This became associated with the heavy metal trend (called "hair metal" in later decades for the large frizzy coiffures worn by both male and female enthusiasts).
Madonna was the "Queen of the 80's" and set several pop trends during the decade.
One popular look for men in the late 1980s was Hawaiian shirts
. Often they would be complemented with sport coats with stitched looks. They were often gray and white, and were worn for both casual and business settings. When worn in the business setting, they were often worn without a tie.
Leather jackets popularized by Michael Jackson and films like The Lost Boys were often studded and left undone to create a messier look. Oversized, slouch shouldered faded leather jackets with puffy sleeves from Europe caught on.
Gloves, sometimes fingerless, were fairly common.
Late in the decade plain brown aviator jackets made a comeback, styled after World War II fighter pilot jackets. Already popular aviators
were joined by other forms of sunglasses. It was not unusual for sunglasses or shades as they were known, to be worn at night.
Earrings became a mainstream fashion for male teenagers. Teen culture held that to pierce the left ear was acceptable for a heterosexual male. A right ear piercing indicated homosexuality. Adults who did not understand the fad worried about how this would affect young men's job prospects as they reached adulthood. Ear piercings left a scar even if they closed from disuse.
Ensembles featuring the colors of Africa, green yellow and red, become wildly unpopular among African Americans mainly named kente cloth. In the urban hip-hop communities however, sneakers usually worn unlaced, tons of gold jewelry and headwraps donned the young of the eighties.
Severely bleached and ripped jeans, either manufactured purposely or done by hand, become a popular fashion trend, being a main component of glam metal music acts such as Poison. Although gay men have often been thought of as trendsetters in the fashion world, elements of gay fashion exploded into the mainstream in the 1980s. The outdoor look, such as the wearing of huge hiking boots, jeans and flannel shirts in the city caught on, drag styles for men and butch styles for women spread into straight society.
Tattooing and piercing also began to enter the mainstream.