Headwear, 1980โ€“2003

The early 1980s brought a return of interest in high fashion after the comfort trend of the 1970s, which saw many people rejecting designer clothing. Fashion designers became celebrities by marketing collections of ready-to-wear (off-the-rack) clothing, cosmetics, and accessories to the huge middle class. Hairstylists became similarly celebrated, creating looks for film stars and television actors and then marketing hair care products for the general public. The wealthy also continued to influence fashion. One of the most celebrated trendsetters for hair and clothing was Lady Diana, princess of Wales (1961โ€“1997).

With the formality of business attire so popular at the beginning of the 1980s, hairstyles were more rigid. Women wore stiff, perfectly styled hair. Either short or long, these styles were noted for their careful styling and the liberal amounts of gels and sprays that held them in place. Men adopted hairstyles that were meant to look casual and carefree but actually took a lot of work. The stars of the popular television show Miami Vice (1984โ€“89), Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas wore the latest hairstyles for men, including the carefully maintained shadow of stubble on Johnson's chin.

By the 1990s hairstyles became more casual and more differentiated. Both men and women embraced individuality. In general, people abandoned the stiff styles of the 1980s and wore more natural, loose hairstyles. Women's styles, whether long or short, were worn loose and straight. Men, for the most part, kept their hair clipped short and their faces clean-shaven.

Hair coloring, for both men and women, was a popular and accepted way to change or enhance a particular hairstyle. However, wigs had dropped from fashion. Those with thinning hair relied more frequently on hair-growth stimulants such as Rogaine.


Carnegy, Vicky. Fashions of a Decade: The 1980s. New York: Facts on File, 1990.

Cosgrave, Bronwyn. The Complete History of Costume and Fashion: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day. New York: Checkmark Books, 2000.

Feldman, Elane. Fashions of a Decade: The 1990s. New York: Facts on File, 1992.

Rachel Haircut

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