Wednesday, 2 July 2014

80s Aerobics Fashion

During the early 1980s it felt like the world had gone aerobics crazy. Females everywhere were doing everyday chores (such as shopping and walking their dogs) in leotards, leggings and legwarmers, some were even on rollerskates.

Pop stars and actresses were responsible for starting the craze. Olivia Newton-John started a headband fad after the release of here raunchy Physical video in 1981, and the song quickly became an aerobics anthem. Here in Great Britain, no home was without a Jane Fonda workout video in the living room.

However, contrary to popular belief, not everyone was wearing neon. Take a look back at the old workout videos and you'll see a whole range of colours and styles being worn. Some leotards were shiny, some had stripes and others were pastel. Zebra and leopard print and splatter paint designs were also worn by some. There were often (but not always) accompanied by a big belt around the waist, leggings, legwarmers and a headband. The aternative to the leotard was a sports bra and dance shorts.

Creating an 80s Style Aerobics Costume

You'll be pleased to know that there are no strict rules. I would suggest that the most important items are legwarmers and a headband if you want that 1980s look. You'll see many pictures on the web of young people trying to imitate the era by wearing bright neon colours. However, check out genuine photos and video footage from the 80s and you'll see that neon wasn't the only choice. Pastel pink and grey were a popular combination, as was purple and pink. Jane Fonda sometimes wore neon yellow or turquoise, but she also wore a red and white or red and black stripy leotard with plain black tights and plain, non-neon leggings. More often than not she wore a big belt around her waist, too, although she never went for the headband.

Jane Fonda Workout Video from 1988
Jane Fonda Workout Video (1988)
 This video from 1988 shows Jane in a leopard print leotard. Tiger and zebra print were also popular.

80s Style Leopard Print Leotard
Leopard Print Leotard from £5.99
You can create a similar look using this low-cost leotard by Fantasia. When you click the link you'll also be presented with many other colour options, too.

80s Style Leopard Print Leggings
Leopard Print Leggings
Jane Fonda Workout Video 1982
Jane Fonda Workout Video (1982)
The look was very different in 1982, with a stripy black and red leotard, black leggings and legwarmers. She also wore a big black belt around the waist. Sadly, finding a similar colour leotard has been an impossible task, although you can buy Pamela Mann footless tights with a similar design, and they are available in eight different colours;

Pamela Mann Footless Tights
You could always create an interesting reverse effect by adding a black leotard and black legwarmers

Start Up With Jane Fonda - 1980s video

In this old 80s video cover Jane is wearing a pink and white striped leotard with a white belt and pastel pink legwarmers. Once again, trying to find a similar leotard has proved to be impossible, although the accessories are easily available. However, this yellow and black bodysuit would look very 80s with a big belt and leg warmers.

Jane Fonda Style Striped Early 80s Leotard
Striped Jane Fonda Style Leotard

Big 80s Style Belt (choice of colours)
Neon Yellow 80s Belt
Neon Yellow Belt

80s Aerobics - 1985

The first lady on the left in this genuine photo from 1985 has embraced the paint splatter design which was popular for a while. Paint splatter leotards are extremely hard to come by these days, and for this reason, as an option for 80s dress-up you will need to cross this off your list. However, there are leggings available...

Anna Kaci Paint Splatter Leggings for 80s dress-up
Paint Splatter Leggings
These multi-coloured splatter leggings by Anna-Kaci are ideal for 80s dress-up and would look so very 80s with some scrunched-up legwarmers!

Grafitti Style Leopard Print Leggings for 80s Fancy Dress
Grafitti/Leopard Print Leggings
Featuring a mix of leopard print and grafitti style multi-coloured markings, these leggings by Anna-Kaci are just perfect for 80s aerobics.

Sports Bras and Crop Tops

80s Style Zebra Print Sports Bra
Zebra Print Sports Bra by Pizzazz
I love the design of this fitness bra which is just perfect for adding to an 80s costume. Okay, so it's not cheap, but it would look fantastic as part of a fitness outfit.

Create A Low-Cost Flashdance Costume

I've hand-picked the following items which would be ideal for an 80s fitness outfit. Firstly, one of the easiest ways to create an eighties look is to simply purchase a plain leotard and add some accessories. Just about any bright colour goes well with black, and it's also less see-through, too.

Plain, Stretchy Leotard (choice of colours) £4.90
This low-cost, short-sleeved leotard may not be the highest quality around, but if you're only using it for a fancy dress costume then it should be ideal.You could also use it to create an ultra low-cost Flashdance style costume. Simply add black leggings and a grey, batwing style, off-shoulder long sleeve top like these...

Plain, Neon Legwarmers for 80s costume
Plain Legwarmers
Long sleeve, loose fit crop top

More 80s inspired leotards/bodysuits

80s Neon Animal Print Leotard
Neon Animal Print Leotard
Neon Pink Cheetah Print Bodysuit for 80s Costume
Neon Pink Cheetah Print Bodysuit

You can find more 80s Fitness Clothing Ideas at my website You may also want to read the post 80s Workout and Dance Clothes on this blog for more inspiration.

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