Many fashion trends popularized in the 1980s are still in use today, including leg warmers, over-sized boxy jackets with big collars and exaggerated shoulders, leggings and athletic wear, slouchy knit sweaters, and floppy bows on headbands in primary and pastel colors. Many anime classics embody the dreamy yet campy aesthetic that was 1980s street wear and evening attire.
From punk to preppy to the beginnings of soft grunge, there are many iconic anime characters with a closet full of looks that could still be replicated today. Big hair, high-waisted pants, mullets, layered bangs, and bright saturated colors abound in the fashions of ’80s anime classics.
10 Kaneda’s Red Jumpsuit Is Perfect On Him
1988’s Akira is a dystopian cyberpunk anime action movie that’s set in 2019. Shotaro Kaneda is the leader of a biker gang, and his red racing outfit stands the test of time. No matter how many times Akira may be rebooted in the future, his classic red racing suit must remain.
Kaneda’s jacket and pants are all varying shades of scarlet, orangey coral, and vermillion, with clunky yet serviceable boots to match. His jacket is the height of ’80s fashion, with its large buttons in an asymmetrical seam down the front, dropped shoulders, popped collar, and sleeves rolled up to the elbow.
9 Three Stylish Sisters Moonlight As Art Thieves
In Cat’s Eye, three sisters named Hitomi, Rui, and Ai run a café in Tokyo and spend their nights stealing valuable art pieces. Needless to say, their art thief outfits are a coordinated masterpiece of catlike bodysuits.
In the anime, their suits feature darker and more neutral colors. Hitomi wears navy and yellow, Rui wears deep purple and lilac, and Ai wears amber and scarlet. The manga gives them more technicolor hues, like shades of cerulean, violet, and rose, which, while more beautiful, are less useful for art burglary.
8 Momo Is A Magical Girl With Cotton Candy Hair
Magical Princess Minky Momo
In the 1982 gem Magical Princess Minky Momo, audiences meet one of anime’s first magical girls. Momo has bright pink hair bordering on magenta, which is similar to Sailor Moon‘s Chibi Usa and the earlier concept drawings of Usagi, who had rosy hair.
When she comes to the human world, Momo blends into early ’80s fashion seamlessly. She tops her fluffy hair with a huge bow in contrasting sunshine yellow and wears a turtleneck under a two-toned pinafore dress, accessorizing with a heart pendant on a long necklace chain.
7 Madoka Has Many Iconic ’80s Looks
When Kyosuke moves to a new town in Orange Road, he’s immediately smitten by a girl name Madoka who gifts him a straw hat. Madoka may be forgotten by some, but Orange Road is well-liked enough that she has audiences falling in love with her and her fashion beyond 1985.
Madoka is seen as a delinquent at school, and her fashion sense mirrors that while bringing out her softer side. She prefers slouchy menswear jackets paired with filmy pastel hair bows worn low at the nape of her neck. She also wears drop-waisted dresses with formfitting bodices, puffy sleeves, and flared skirts.
6 Mellowlink Takes On The Apocalypse In Style
Armor Hunter Mellowlink
Not all good fashion is flashy, bright, and experimental. There’s a lot to be said for well-worn and serviceable garments, like the ones Mellowlink Arity wears amid the hellish landscape of Armor Hunter Mellowlink. Mellowlink is a warrior and, above all, a survivor. He needs sturdy and multipurpose clothing pieces to see him through his rough, war-torn sci-fi world.
Mellowlink is the picture of rugged endurance with his forest green cowl-neck scarf and matching earth-toned outfit, including a brown tunic, belt, and khaki-green trousers. Tan fingerless gloves protect his hands while allowing him to reload and aim with precision.
5 Kiki’s Dresses Are Both Practical & Cute
Kiki’s Delivery Service
Kiki is the witch protagonist of the 1989 Studio Ghibli classic, Kiki’s Delivery Service. She wears her first outfit at home before she leaves, so it could be inferred that this is her go-to style: a puffy-sleeved neutral summer dress and a pink pinafore.
Kiki trades her summer dress for a traditional witch’s getup when she comes of age. Her witch’s dress is as simple as it is lovely: a mid-length black, almost T-shirt style dress paired with an oversized messenger bag and her ever-present floppy red hair bow. Not only is Kiki’s fashion practical and impeccable, but it’s very easy to replicate in everyday life when someone wants to feel like a little witch on the go in a coastal town.
4 Kyoko Manages A Boarding House In Style
Maison Ikkoku is a quiet story about everyday people and their connections. Kyoko is a widow, and she decides to manage a boarding house that is sorely in need of attention and repairs. Godai, the protagonist, falls in love with her and decides to help her out.
It has a beautiful animation style and Kyoko’s casual outfits are cottagey and sweet but structured enough to be complimentary. Her style go-tos are pastel pink, frilly collars, fitted sweaters, and boat neck tops with black and white stripes.
3 Lum Introduces Fans To Alien Girl Fashion
Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer
Nothing embodies the dreamy ’80s aesthetic in anime more than Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer, based on the comedy romance series by Rumiko Takahashi. Lum is a beloved alien invader girl turned Earth student.
Lum’s teal hime-cut hair contrasts perfectly with her tiger-striped bikini and matching calf-length go-go boots. Urusei Yatsura features many ’80s fashion trends, including gym wear and vintage ballet styles, with leotards, legwarmers, tights, and slippers in an array of pastels. What appears to be barrettes in Lum’s hair are actually little horns that are unearthly but no less stylish.
2 Lynn Minmay Gives Sci-Fi Fantasy The Popstar Treatment
Macross: Do You Remember Love?
The Macross series is a bit of a fever dream, as many vintage mecha and sci-fi anime can be, especially the film Macross: Do You Remember Love?, which is a romance that somewhat exists outside the normal Macross timeline. Lynn Minmay does her part to bring peace to the galaxy, literally singing for peace.
Minmay has several looks which are cyberpunk meets fairy, as is befitting for a film and pop idol. She wears her deep blue hair long, with curtain bangs, and prefers to dress in short dresses with flouncy sleeves and fluffy petticoats.
1 Vampire Hunter D Cuts A Dark & Dashing Figure
Vampire Hunter D
D of the 1985 Vampire Hunter D may prefer a dark and monochromatic outfit, but he knows how to wear it well. He never fails to make an entrance with his wide-brimmed cowboy hat and his billowing cloak with its exaggerated, pointed collar.
D completes his uniform with tall boots and midnight blue leggings. Though D is stoic and self-effacing, he cuts a rather dramatic figure. The way he crosses his legs in the traveling cart as Doris leads him through town is so purposeful and elegant, it leads one to believe that he knows exactly how mysterious and stylish he looks.
NEXT: 15 Classic Sci-Fi Anime That Aged Poorly