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1980’s Fitness and Aerobics Fashion Disasters!

1980s Aerobics Student Stretches in Lycra

As far as exercise and fitness itself goes, not a lot has changed in the 20 years that have passed since the 1980’s. However, one thing that has changed, and for the better, is fitness fashion. The 1980’s were the decade of Spandex tights, leotards, unitards, leg warmers and sweatbands.

Bright colors were a must, with pinks, purples and yellows favored. The garish and sometimes frightening choice of aerobic clothing was not limited to women though. Men often wore tiny, tight shorts, with little left to the imagination.

Spandex was a favorite material for aerobics wear in the 80’s – the picture to the left is a classic example of a Spandex aerobics outfit, the wearing showing all her curves. In the 1980’s women were more than happy to flaunt their fit bodies. The view seemed to be the tighter the clothing the better.

The most famous brand name associated with spandex was Lycra, which is a trademark of Invista (formerly part of DuPont). Such is the prominence of the Lycra brand that it has become a generic trademark in many parts of the world. It was probably the fitness fashion industry that made Lycra such a success.


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Semi-nude muscular male wearing tight white shortsIn a way 1980’s fitness fashion was partly responsible for the bright and often lurid street fashion on the time. The fitness clothing evolved from outdoor clothing that was designed to be thermal, flexible and comfortable. These were made with synthetic materials, which are easily dyed. This lead to people wanting brighter and brighter colors, as making an impact in the aerobics or jazz dance class was essential.

Although fitness fanatics moved from the tennis courts to the gym classes, showing off the latest fashions was still essential for many. As the fitness clothing become more popular, people started to wear the clothes on the streets, and women wearing leggings and leg warmers with tight fitting tops, became a common scene on streets all over the USA and UK. In addition to this, the popular American TV show, Fame, also helped to push these 1980’s fashions from the gym and into the mainstream.

Tight white unitard on sexy athletic womanTake this aerobics / fashionista to the left. Would she get away with wearing a near transparent unitard in a gym or Pilates class today? Judging from some of the more flamboyant outfits, the 1980’s must have been a fun time to get fit! Just imagine if your Pilates instructor bounded into the classroom wearing a low cut transparent unitard, giant blond perm, and leaving nothing to the imagination regarding what was beneath the unitard! How on earth did they get away with it? It is certainly not an image which encourages people to concentrate on exercise! With our 80’s fitness fanatic here, she really should have worn a sports bra, and her tight unitard leaves little to the imagination below either. A truly shocking image of 1980’s fitness fashion, and proof that as far as aerobics and fitness fashion is concerned, the 1980’s really were a disaster!

Let’s go back to the 80’s now, with this classic 1980’s Aerobics Video Montage from YouTube, with some classy perms and aerobics wear on show for all to see:

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  6 comments for “1980’s Fitness and Aerobics Fashion Disasters!

  1. Picantico 06
    August 23, 2009 at 2:36 am

    Hello revival the fashion of leotards and unitards for ever in facebook the group is called

    Reviviendo la moda de las trusas y leotardos por siempre

    Thanks
    from Colombia

  2. Picantico 06
    August 23, 2009 at 2:44 am

    As I do not think it’s fashionable to do aerobics in the 80s were a disaster on the contrary I think a disaster such as women wear today to go do aerobics, with those pants in cotton bell boots dirty, it appears that in a matter of fashion aerobic recoiled.

  3. Ilikethe80's
    August 27, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    I like the 80’s spandex, legwarmers fashion much moore than todays!!!

  4. ski2fast
    February 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    I disagree with the whole concept that the 80’s were a fashion disaster. I like spandex: it is functional and looks great!

  5. Adrian
    January 3, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    I disagree with this article too, but I’m happy someone started writing about it.

    I think that if people would show body more (and not hide it as it’s fashionable now) they would be healthier and more concerned about their fitness level. It would also make the fitness industry more popular.

    So win-win for all.

    I so wish the 80s fashion would come back.

  6. A. Nonny Mouse
    December 4, 2013 at 12:50 am

    I liked those sweaty ’80s girls. Of course, I was a teenager with raging hormones, and sweaty girls in spandex was like a dream come true. I was not into the music they danced to, but the way they dressed and acted was a turn on. Of course, now those girls are the same age as me, with all the wrinkles and etc. that come with aging. I still love to smell a sweaty woman, though. Joey Ramone was once quoted as saying that he liked to lick girls’ sweaty armpits in the summer time. I concur. I’ve always been a fan of hairy pu**ies too. Old habits die hard, so they say. Fond memories, on the other hand, are something to be savored, like a single malt Scotch.

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