Madonna: The Fashion Icon that Shaped the 80s

Madonna was not just a music superstar but also a fashion icon. In the 80s, she changed the fashion world by pushing boundaries and introducing daring new styles. Her influence could be seen everywhere, from the runways to the streets. Her unique sense of style still resonates today. Let’s look at some of her iconic looks and how they shaped 80s fashion.

The Madonna Look

Madonna’s signature look was often a mix of punk and glamour. She famously wore fishnet stockings, oversized jewelry, and bold makeup. She inspired a trend towards layering and mixing prints and textures. She popularized the “underwear as outerwear” look, wearing bras and corsets as tops. For her, fashion was about self-expression, experimentation, and pushing boundaries.

The Conical Bra

Madonna’s cone bra is one of the most iconic pieces of 80s fashion. The bra was designed by Jean Paul Gaultier and was first seen in Madonna’s Blonde Ambition tour in 1990. It caused controversy due to its provocative design, but it also sparked a trend. The cone bra became a staple of Madonna’s style and influenced fashion designers for years to come. The bra has been referenced countless times in pop culture and even made its way onto the runway at Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring 2020 Couture show as a tribute to Madonna.

The Material Girl Look

The “Material Girl” look was all about femininity and opulence. Madonna’s curly hair, fingerless lace gloves, and layered pearls became her signature. She was often seen wearing form-fitting dresses, fur, and sequins. The look was a nod to Old Hollywood glamour but with a contemporary edge. The trend towards luxury and excess that Madonna embodied was a reaction to the more minimalistic styles of the early 80s.

The Like a Virgin Look

Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” era was all about rebellion and subverting traditional femininity. Her wedding dress, worn in the song’s video and on stage during her tour, caused a stir due to its provocative design. Madonna’s style during this time was a mix of punk and 50s pinup girl. She wore tight corsets and skirts, fingerless gloves, and crosses as accessories. The “Like a Virgin” look was shocking at the time, but it paved the way for a new era of fashion that challenged societal norms.

The Boy Toy Look

Madonna’s “Boy Toy” look was a combination of androgyny and sex appeal. She wore oversized jackets, men’s ties, and fedoras. She often accentuated her muscular arms with sleeveless tops and gloves. The look straddled the line between masculine and feminine, and it was entirely Madonna’s. The trend towards gender-bending and androgyny in fashion was not new, but Madonna made it mainstream and acceptable.

The Power Dressing Look

The 80s were all about power dressing, and Madonna was no exception. She wore sharp suits and blazers with shoulder pads, emphasizing her strong and confident persona. The power dressing trend was a response to the growing role of women in the workforce. It was a way for women to assert their authority and command respect. Madonna’s influence in this trend was in bringing a touch of glamour and femininity to the style.

The Legacy of Madonna

Madonna’s impact on fashion has been immeasurable. She pushed boundaries, challenged norms, and inspired people to experiment with their style. Her daring and bold fashion choices have become timeless, inspiring new generations of artists and designers. Madonna’s influence continues to shape the fashion world today and will continue to do so for generations to come.


Madonna was not just a music superstar but a global fashion icon. Her style was ever-changing, but it always remained true to her personality and vision. Her impact on fashion in the 80s cannot be overstated. She brought glamour, opulence, and rebellion to the fashion world and inspired people to pursue their style with confidence and fearlessness. Madonna’s influence continues to be seen in the fashion world today, and her legacy as a pop culture icon lives on.