Whether you still find yourself debating the finer points of Reaganomics or just can’t keep from moving your feet when “Take On Me” comes on the radio, it comes as little surprise that many adults today share a certain nostalgia for the halcyon days of the 1980s.
However, kids who came of age during the ‘80s know that there’s so much more to this iconic decade than what you’ll learn about in a history book or copy of Teen Beat. We’ve rounded up 20 things that will evoke fond recollections for anyone who had a wardrobe full of highlighter-colored clothing or called Emilio Estevez their first crush. And when you want to break out of your ‘80s obsession, start by ditching these 20 Slang Terms From the 1980s No One Uses Anymore.
Seeing “Just Say No” Signs Plastered Everywhere
You probably already knew drugs were illegal from your school’s D.A.R.E. program, but Nancy Reagan’s omnipresent campaign—where “Just Say No” posters were plastered on nearly every public school—really drove the point home.
Wearing Leotards Everywhere
With the popularity of aerobics at an all-time high, leotards were to the ’80s what yoga pants are today, meaning they were worn anywhere and everywhere, regardless of whether or not you actually planned to exercise. While their stretchy fabric was particularly unforgiving of any lumps or bumps on your body, you always felt like a member of Jane Fonda’s entourage when you wore it. And to find out why taking a trip down memory lane makes you feel so warm and fuzzy, discover these 17 Surprising Reasons You Love Nostalgia So Much.
Thinking Acid-washed Jeans Looked Cool
The ‘80s had us all clamoring for acid-washed jeans. Whether in a dark wash or bright color, acid-wash adherents genuinely felt these strangely-patterned pants were the perfect complement to the crimped hair, crop tops, and day-glo accessories also popular at the time.
Proudly Wearing Your “Choose Life” Shirt
Your love for Wham! extended well past dancing every time you heard “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” In fact, your “Choose Life” t-shirt happened to be one of your most prized possessions—and something you proudly wore everywhere from school picture day to more formal occasions.
Seeing Mullets Everywhere
While they may be an object of derision today, in the ‘80s, mullets were just another standard hairstyle. In addition to stars like Billy Ray Cyrus and John Stamos sporting this regrettable haircut, everyone from your family members to your teachers had them, too.
Teasing Your Bangs
They say the higher the hair, the closer to God—and that was certainly true when it came to your bangs in the ‘80s. Even if you had to use a whole can of Aqua Net to achieve your desired look, it was well worth it. And if you think that’s relatable, you’ll crack up over the 30 Funniest Jokes About Growing Up in the ‘80s.
Being Totally Terrified of Chucky from Child’s Play
There were plenty of real-life villains the ‘80s to be afraid of, but none of them made you quite so frightened as the redheaded menace known as Chucky. In fact, the doll’s evil deeds made you so scared you actually started to suspect your own playthings, as well.
Begging Your Parents for a Cabbage Patch Kid for Christmas
Cabbage Patch Kids weren’t just a thing in the ‘80s—they were the thing. And you were proud to own one, knowing your parents likely risked life and limb at your local mall to make sure you had one in time for the holidays.
Feeling Like the Coolest Kid in School When You Got a Pager
While pagers may seem antiquated by today’s standards, back in the ‘80s, if you had one, you couldn’t have been cooler. Sure, you had to learn a million codes to understand what people were trying to communicate with you and have access to a landline to get in touch with anyone else, but there was no denying that a pager was the ultimate in high-tech accessories at the time. But unfortunately for all the ’80s kids out there, a pager is now one of the 22 Things That Have Become Obsolete Since 2000.
Envying Your Friends Who Had Waterbeds
Sure, your bed was fine, but there was nothing more enviable to you than your friends’ waterbeds. They may have made you a little seasick to lay on—and there was, of course, the ever-present worry about accidentally flooding the room—but they were still just about the coolest piece of furniture you’d ever seen.
Listening to Your Favorite Music on a Boombox
With records rapidly being replaced by cassettes, music became instantly more portable in the 1980s. And with the advent of the boombox, you could bring your favorite music anywhere you went—preferably sharing it with everyone around you while perching the machine between your neck and shoulder.Image via Instagram/@katmathis418
Playing Mall Madness
The only thing more fun than shopping at an actual mall? Pretending to shop with your friends during a game of Mall Madness.
Weeping When a Tape Got Stuck in Your VCR
In the 1980s, you had two choices when you wanted to watch a movie at home: head to your local video store or tap into your private stash of tapes. Of course, no matter the provenance of your VHSes, playing or rewinding one always put you at risk for this mangled mess—and the heartbreaking realization you’d have to shell out another month’s worth of allowance for a new one. And for another skip down memory lane, check out these 25 Reasons We’re All Obsessed with the 1980s in 2018.
Being Devastated by the Challenger Explosion
While not every political scandal or international crisis made it past your radar as a kid, you totally remember exactly where you were when you heard about the Challenger disaster in 1986. You could barely walk past a newsstand without seeing the ship breaking apart on the front pages of newspapers and covers of magazines for months after—and again, every year, on the anniversary of the tragedy.
Getting Ecto-Cooler in Your Lunch Box
The color of toxic slime, loaded with sugar, and generally the greatest thing you’d ever tasted in your life, getting one of these at lunch had you pitying the kids who got sent to school with water or juice.
Rocking a Pair of Baggy Pants with a Fanny Pack
In the 1980s, rocking a pair of Zubaz pants with a fanny pack cinching the waistline was the move. Today, unless you’re going to an ’80s-themed party, an outfit like that will only get you laughs and stares—and not the good kind.
Covering Your Arm in Slap Bracelets
Your teachers hated them. They left marks on your arms for days. They hurt when you snapped them on your wrist. But nothing in the world was going to keep your collection of brightly-patterned from growing until they reached your elbows on both arms.
Trying to Emulate Madonna’s Early Style (Right Down to the Beauty Mark)
Of course, George Michael and company weren’t your only fashion inspirations: from the mesh tops to the tutu skirts to the black bracelets, you were a head-to-toe Madonnabe. And if you seriously want to dress like Madonna from head to toe, then check out her Bizarre Anti-Aging Secret.
Getting Your First Computer
IBM introduced its first personal computer, the IBM PC, in 1981. While it would be at least a decade before everyone had a computer, if you had a Commodore 64 in the early 80’s, you were a real gamer.
Treating Your Members Only Jacket Like it Was Made of Gold
While leather jackets may have been the pinnacle of ’70s style, by the time the ’80s rolled around, there was nothing that topped the appeal of a polyester Members Only jacket. No matter what the weather, no outfit was complete without that label on your lapel. And for more ’80s fun, don’t miss the 30 Hilarious Jokes from the 1980s That Will Stoke Your Nostalgia.
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