The 70s saw fashion, music and culture reach new heights, setting the stage for the 1980s – a decade synonymous with big hair, funky costumes and an overall eclectic style. While every cool kid had their own unique vibe, there were some trends that were universal. Keep reading to learn all about the things every cool kid had growing up in the 1980s.
Before the age of smartphones, there was the humble mobile phone – the must-have accessory for cool kids in the ‘80s. Some kids had plain cellular phones for making calls, but for those looking for a bit of flair, there were also landlines with built-in caller ID and some with digital readouts on the handset
Walkmans were an iconic device of the 80s, the pocket-sized cassette players that allowed people to listen to their favorite songs on the go. The devices had a variety of features, including auto-reverse play, dual tape decks and digital displays. Walkmans even used different kinds of batteries, ranging from AA to AAA.
Walkmans were nothing without the cassettes to play on them. From the latest top 40 hits to classic rock, cassette tapes were an inexpensive and convenient way to listen to music. And don’t forget about the making of mixtapes too – a quintessential 80s activity.
Arcade cabinets and home consoles alike had a wide selection of games to choose from. From Pac-Man and Donkey Kong to Super Mario Bros., video games were a huge part of 80s culture, and the go-to source for fun for cool kids. Even home console systems had variations like the NES Advantage joypad with turbo buttons, giving kids a slight edge in their games.
Nintendo Entertainment System
The Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES, was the most popular home video game console of the 80s. This 8-bit system was a must-have device for the cool kids in the ‘80s, allowing them to play the latest titles like Super Mario Bros. and The Legend of Zelda.
The Atari 2600 was released in 1977, introducing the world to home gaming. The console boasted a huge library of games and was compatible with a vast number of joysticks and paddles.
Rubik’s Cube was a puzzle game released in 1980, and it became a must-have item. It was incredibly popular amongst cool kids in the 80s, who would solve the cube with their own solving techniques or race each other to try to be the fastest.
A boombox (also known as a ghettoblaster) was a combination radio, cassette player, and amplifier that was all the rage in the ’80s. It came in various sizes and styles, with more expensive models boasting more features – like graphic equalizers and auto-reverse cassette decks.
Walkie Talkies were a cheap and versatile way for kids to communicate, allowing them to stay in touch with friends even when they couldn’t be together. This two-way radio device range from 3 miles to 10 miles depending on the model and allowed for interesting conversations between friends that would otherwise have to be carried out in person.
Popping was a dance style that originated in the ’80s, and was characterized by eccentric body movements, such as “floats”, “hiccups”, “bells”, “transitions”, and “glitches”. It was a great way for cool kids to show off their moves and impress their peers.
Jelly shoes were made of clear plastic and featured a glossy, jelly-like finish. They could be seen in all sorts of colors, quilted designs, and sometimes even with a flashing light embedded in the sole of the shoe. Jelly shoes were the perfect way to stand out from the crowd in the ‘80s.
High-top sneakers were a staple of the ‘80s and the perfect accessory for cool kids. Whether they were simple tennis sneakers or flashy skate shoes, they were a great way to make a fashion statement.
The clothing styles of the ’80s were bold and bright, and cool kids would try to stand out from the crowd with their inventive style. This included items like colorful t-shirts, blousy shirts, wide-legged jeans and even pop-up shorts. Accessories like neon glasses and fake tattoos were also popular in the 80s.
MTV changed the music industry by introducing music videos and giving everyday people the opportunity to see their favorite bands in action. It was a huge hit amongst the cool kids in the 80s, with classic programs like Yo! MTV Raps and Yo! MTV Rocks leading the way.
The mullet was a popular hairstyle in the 1980s. It was a hairstyle characterized by its short sides, long top and center part. It might not have been the most fashionable style, but it was definitely a popular one among cool kids growing up in the 80s.
The 80s were an iconic decade for fashion and culture. From high-top sneakers to MTV, cool kids had their fair share of trends to explore. Whether it was the hottest new video game or the coolest new hairstyle, the ‘80s were a time of fun and self-expression.