Flashback: Eighties Fashion, the Fitness Edition

January 21, 2019

From left: Jennifer Beals in Flashdance (1983); Olivia Newton-John in the music video for "Physical" (1981); Cher, date unknown; Jamie Lee Curtis in Perfect (1985)

How much have trends evolved since the greats were teaching us fitness on our bubble TV screens? Let’s take a trip down leg-warmer lane with Kelly Florio Kasouf, VB contributing editor… Plus, get her recs to shop the look today. 

Shop the Look

Shop the Falk Tee

Jamie Lee Curtis: Striped Bodysuits

Big thanks to Jamie Lee Curtis and John Travolta in the 1985 pop culture hit
Perfect. It gave us ever-classic stripes, in varied sizes and cool hues, shimmery tights and, of course, incredible hip-thrusting. Rock the look today with the Falk tee and jeans.

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Shop the Olympia Sandal

Olivia Newton-John: Color-Blocking & Crop Tops

She may not have had her own fitness tapes, but the music video for “Physical” (1981) positioned Olivia Newton-John with the fitness greats. She was a master at Eighties color-blocking: electric blue crop top over a white leotard over fuchsia tights, the perfect combination of trends while complementing her best assets. Bring the look into modern day with the Olympia sandal—a color-blocked homage to Olivia's choice of neon blue. 

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Shop the Chase Sweater

Jennifer Beals: Off-the-Shoulder Tops

Coy Jennifer Beals, who sweated her heart out on every Eighties screen in
Flashdance (1983), made the cold-shoulder top famous. One part sporty and one part reserved, the look is timeless

Shop the Look

Shop the Faxon Pant

Cher: Shimmery Leggings & Leather Pants

How do you translate Cher's flashy fitness leggings—styled with totally rad neon arm and leg warmers—into ready-to-wear worn outside of the gym? Two words: leather pants. Which, by the way, Cher also wore during her Eighties heyday—although she took it one step further with high-waisted and cropped bedazzled goodness. 

Bonus: Read Kelly Florio Kasouf's essay Can You Feel It? Sweating to the Style of 1982. It's Jane Fonda vs. Tracy Anderson vs. Peloton.

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