Dresses Through The Ages: Power Dressing ’80s

Power Dressing ’80s 

garbriela1During the eighties, the notorious look of women in power suits emerged. We interviewed fashion guru, Gabriela, from Fashion Allure, who gave us a great insight into some of the leading looks from this decade.

During the 1980s extravagance and haute couture returned to Paris and New York fashion houses with their designs being copied by high street chains. In my opinion, there were two muses who encompassed all that was truly important to that era – Madonna and Joan Collins.

Fashion icons

The most popular fashion icon of the ’80s is probably Madonna. Her flamboyant and revealing styles from that period became her trademark. However, her then fashion choices, including stomach-baring tops, tulle skirts over leggings and crimped hair, are no longer considered elegant, and elegance is what I look for in fashion the most.

Joan Collins
c. Reginald Davis / Rex Features

Therefore, my style icon of that time is definitely Joan Collins, Dynasty‘s dark character. Alexis’ wardrobe abounded with sleek, fitted suits, draped dresses and bold jewellery. The funny fact is that her on-set fashion was nearly identical to her fashion off-screen. Her hair, shoulder pads, fox-trimmed coat and a small gray cloche with a veil – Alexis was definitely the woman who embodied ’80s chic.

In the recent interview I read with Joan Collins she said that in comparison to what women are wearing now, in the ’80s, women seemed much more groomed and pulled together. This may be the reason why Joan’s style has not seemed to change one bit since the 1980s.


Power dressing

Although the ’80s was an era full of extreme fashion trends, still many women had to obey the strict dress code in the office. This is when “power dressing” was born. Women in the workplace were no longer unusual and they wanted to show that they were the equals of men at the office.

Working women would choose demure pencil skirts, jumpsuits and jackets with shoulder pads, pairing them with large, gaudy accessories like brightly-coloured high heels and chandelier earrings. The key to 1980s power dressing was good quality fabric including wool, cotton and silk, which became popular again for their perceived quality.


To recreate the spirit of ’80s power dressing, I have chosen this cute Zip Wrap dress from the work dresses page on M&Co. The classic LBD featuring an on-trend exposed zip detail and flattering wrap style will look best accessorised with a statement spike necklace and biker boots – this is a fashion-forward option. To the office, I recommend styling it with brightly-coloured heels and a bold shoulder blazer.

Jade Ruddy

Jade Ruddy

Content creative at M&Co adding the pretty pieces to html and keeping our social media fans in the loop. Lover of dresses, cats, rum and the Kardashians – but not always in that order.

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