Madonna Outfits in 1980s

Published April 26, 2018

Whether you considered yourself a true blue material girl or not, chances are you were probably familiar with Madonna outfits in the 1980s. The chameleon-like pop singer changed her style so often, it was dizzying to keep up. But it also inspired a legion of fans who emulated and aspired to be just like her, right down to her fingerless lace gloves!

The Ultimate 1980s Icon

Perhaps no celebrity represents the culture and style of the 1980s better than Madonna. With her penchant for brow-raising, provocative outfits and equally outrageous performances, it's no wonder she captured the world's attention. Constantly reinventing her look, Madonna's iconic presence on stage and screen was enough to influence fans the world over. No accurate portrait of the '80s is complete without an image of millions of teenage girls screaming, their hair in wild disarray, crucifixes dangling from their necks above low-cut bustiers.

It takes some panache to pull off a multitude of looks so successfully, and it's safe to say Madonna had it and then some. Throw in a cocky attitude, a smart mouth and a sense of reckless abandon, and the end result is as evident today as it was when she made her world debut.

Favored Apparel and Accessories

Those who followed the trends at close range had a closet full of Madonna's wardrobe essentials. Among the items were:

Madonna performing on stage
  • Lacy, revealing tops
  • Mesh vests
  • Capri pants
  • Mini skirts
  • Fishnet stockings
  • Fingerless lace gloves
  • Layered necklaces
  • Layered bracelets
  • Dangling earrings
  • Rag headbands
  • Black ankle boots

Memorable Madonna Outfits in the 1980s

Even if you didn't fancy yourself a Madonna wannabe, you may have known someone who did - or maybe you just wondered what all the fuss was about! It's simple: Madonna was a risk-taking pioneer of change. "Recycle" simply wasn't a word in her vocabulary. This level of daring simply hadn't been witnessed in such magnitude prior to her arrival. When she writhed and rolled across the stage floor at the 1984 MTV Video Music Awards in a sexy wedding dress, she wasn't just announcing that she was Like a Virgin - she was also painting an unforgettable moment in fashion history. Some highlights include:

  • In 1984, Madonna shocked the world with her rebellious, outwardly sexy ensembles. Bare midriffs, cleavage-baring tops and the famous "Boy Toy" belt became instant hot topics.
Madonna's Boy Toy Belt
  • In 1985, the world got a taste of Madonna's affinity for change. She transformed her look at the Live Aid concert, appearing with shoulder length red waves, a lacy top, a chic blazer and plenty of jewelry.
  • In 1986, Madonna paid homage to the 1950s with a flouncy dress over black cropped pants in her True Blue video.
50s girl leaning on a chain link fence
  • In 1987, Madonna showed off fishnet stockings, red lips and a short, bleached coif in her Open Your Heart music video - oh yes, and an appreciation for black satin corsets.
Pop singer Madonna in concert
  • In 1989, Madonna's controversial Like a Prayer video showed off the singer's natural side - she sported dark curls, a figure-hugging dress and black pumps. Her black bra peeked out, adding a touch of sex appeal.
  • Later that year, her Express Yourself video transformed her into a no-nonsense businesswoman with an edge. She wore a double-breasted, menswear-inspired suit and peek-a-boo bra.

Video Inspiration

If Madonna's partiality for reinvention inspires you, you might even be inclined to emulate a particular look. In that case, you need look no further than her comprehensive catalog of music videos. Though her recent videos showcase a number of intriguing makeovers, it's Madonna's '80s wardrobe that is probably recognized - and loved - best. If you want to strike a pose of your own, take a peek at her more fashionable videos. You'll find style ideas aplenty in Lucky Star, Borderline, Who's That Girl and even La Isla Bonita, if you have visions of dancing and turning heads in a delightful red dress. Clearly, Madonna outfits in the 1980s have made their mark on women all over the world - and not surprisingly, they continue to do so!

Madonna Outfits in 1980s