Friday, 6 September 2013

80s Workout and Dance Clothes

80s Retro Dance, Workout and Fitness Clothing

The dance and fitness craze of the eighties was started and influenced by movies such as Fame and Flashdance and also Jane Fonda workout videos. You can find advice on creating a Flashdance costume on this blog.

For a workout fashion/80s keep fit look the most essential items required are leg warmers (almost any colour was used, but neon, pastel and horizontal striped themes were particularly popular) that are scrunched up, wrist sweatbands and a headband. Combine with leggings/footless tights or neon fishnet tights and a leotard or gym shorts for a truly authentic look. A vest top, crop top, 80s themed t-shirt or a baggy off-shoulder sweatshirt can be worn on your top half with the aforementioned leg wear.

Now, all of this may seem a lot to take in, so let's break down the items required one step at a time.

Leg Warmers

Leg warmers are, perhaps, more important than any other clothing item as they give an instant eighties look. I remember that they were even worn over jeans by girls back in the day.

Neon Green Leg Warmers
British-made Neon Leg Warmers
These neon leg warmers featured above (also available in neon pink and green) for adults are made in the UK, and despite the low price, customers seem to really like them, and they're a popular choice through the fashion pages my own website They're ideal for an 80s party, a retro workout or for keeping your legs warm in the cold weather, of course, which we get plenty of here in Britain!

Neon pink 80s leggings
Roch Valley Stirrup Leg Warrmers
These leg warmers are available in three sizes and 18 colours. Particularly useful for 80s dress-up are the pastel pink and lilac, and fluorescant colours which come in pink, green, yellow, orange and also the kingfisher turquoise colour. Roch Valley have a good reputation for their dancewear, and these leg warmers are a popular seller.

Neon yellow leggings
Neon Leg Warmers with Sweatbands
Now, this three piece kit is perfect for that 80s keep fit look. Eight colours are available and for £5.98 inc. delivery you also receive a matching headband and wristbands.

Neon Striped Leg Warmers
If you're not too sure which colours to pick then these three-coloured, stripy fluorescent leg warmers solve the problem for you! These would look fab as part of a 1980s style dance/keep fit costume. The delivery cost is a bit steep at £3.99, but worth it if this is the look you're after.

80s T-shirts and Tops

I Love The 80s womens T-shirt
I Love The 80s T-shirt £9.48
A baggy T-shirt worn off-shoulder will create a decent look for your top half, and this pink "I loveheart the 80s" T-shirt is ideal for creating a workout look. The link above is for a medium size 12-14, but it's also available in large and small. However, I would suggest going for the larger size as it needs to be loose/baggy for an authentic look and also to make it easier to the neck opening to sit off your shoulder.

Ladies "Choose Life" Retro 80s Wham T-Shirt (choice of colours)
Ladies Choose Life T-shirt £6.99
This vibrant "Choose Life" T-shirt is excellent value and available in 18 colour choices!

Nothing shouts out 80s more than a Wham Choose Life or Frankie Says Relax Tee, and they're the most popular choices at my website. You may also want to visit the page Most popular 80s T-shirts at to get some more good ideas.

Here are some more ideas for tops...

Plus Size Off-Shoulder Top by Nouvelle Neon Pink Top Neon Zebra Print 80s Style Sports/Workout BraZebra Print Sports Bra Neon Orange Sports BraNeon Orange 80s Sports Workout Bra  

Please note that all of these tops  - tank tops, mesh tops and crop tops - come in a choice of colours. For a Madonna dance style you can wear a mesh top over a black bra (you may feel more comfortable in a sports bra!) and also over a cropped top.

Also see the Flashdance Costume post on this blog

Leotards/Body Suits

Shiny (almost any colour), pastel shades, neon, animal print and splash pattern/splatter paint leotards were the most popular choices back in the 80s. Unfortunately, the latter are impossible to find these days. Contrary to popular belief, many leotards were NOT neon. Jane Fonda often wore a stripy one for her videos, the Green Goddess wore a green one (obviously!) on BBC Breakfast Time and there were plenty of pastel shades around, especially pink, worn with lavender or grey.
Neon 80s Large Workout Belt
Neon 80s Belt - choice of colours - up to 38" waist

Add either a neon belt or white belt for a more complete 80s style.

Leggings and Footless Tights

Neon Tribal Pattern Leggings
Leggings/stirrup pants can have an animal print theme, splash patterns, stripes or even just be plain and simple. These funky tiger print style leggings (above) are available in eight different style. I've carefully hand-picked some of the best leggings and footless tights below that have a 1980s feel to them, and many of them come in a range of colours...

Zebra Print leggings for 80s workout
Stripy 80s Workout Leggings Turquoise Leggings Pink Zebra Print Leggingsleopard print 80s leggings neon animal print leggings black and white zebra print leggings cropped leggings with lace detail stripy rainbow neon leggings 80s splatter paint/animal print leggings

UV neon, splatter paint and animal print are a popular choice and neon fishnets were also often worn. You may also want to visit the 80s Leggings page at my website which has many more ideas.

More 80s Fitness Fashion Ideas

I'll leave you with an array of ideas which I hope will be inspirational...

The rules aren't set in stone when it comes to creating an 80s workout style. Have fun mixing items together to create your own individual look.

For more inspiration visit the following pages;

80s Aerobics Fashion on this blog
Flashdance Costume on this blog
80s Workout Fashion at
80s Fashion board at Pinterest
80s Fancy Dress for Ladies at

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