Back to the Future: Rediscovering ’80s Clothing Brands

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'80s clothing brand esprit

Recently, I came across some Instagram ads featuring Esprit, the iconic ’80s clothing brand. They’ve given themselves a modern sportswear makeover and are ready for a comeback in 2023.

*Image via Esprit

*Image via

In case you’re unfamiliar, Esprit, founded in 1968, was renowned for its effortlessly cool West Coast aesthetic with an unforgettable stencil-style logo. If you wore Esprit back then, you were a fashion trendsetter. It was more than just clothing; it was a badge of honor for us ’80s kids.

The revived Esprit vibe took me on a delightful journey down memory lane. It also got me pondering the other ’80s clothing brands, their cultural influences, and the intriguing tales of where they ended up.

So, let’s gear up and embark on this stylish voyage back to the ’80s!

1. United Colors of Benetton

*Image via United Colors of Benetton

Another classic ’80s clothing brand that popped to mind is United Colors of Benetton. This Italian fashion powerhouse was renowned for its colorful attire and I always resonated with their iconic multiracial ads, showcasing a diverse cast of models, not only became the brand’s commitment to inclusivity, but also paved the ways for future brands to convey this important message.

While United Colors of Benetton waned in relevance during the 2000s, you can still conveniently shop with them online.

2. Le Tigre

I remember my parents opted for Le Tigre polo shirts instead of the Lacoste ones I wanted as a child. They did it both to be budget-conscious and to keep me looking up to date.

With its leaping tiger logo on polos, Le Tigre emerged in 1977 to rival Lacoste, providing a stylish alternative for those looking to dress with flair back in the day.

After a break in the 1990s, Le Tigre returned in 2003 and continued to garner a loyal following of fashion enthusiasts, artists, musicians, and trendsetters alike.

3. Ocean Pacific/OP

*Image via

If you were aiming for that chill surfer vibe, I can still vividly picture those OP logo-embossed t-shirts and shorts.

Ocean Pacific, better known as OP, was our ultimate ’80s clothing brand growing up in sunny Coastal Southern California, a popular casual-life style apparel for men and boys.

You can still find their clothing available today to rekindle that surfer-inspired spirit.

4. Bugle Boy

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Who couldn’t forget the elastic cuffs at the bottom and cross-stitching patterns of the Bugle Boy jeans in the ’80s?

Bugle Boy gained fame for popularizing parachute pants during the breakdancing craze of the early ’80s and offered a range of men’s and boys’ tops. However, it truly made its mark with a diverse collection of jeans and jean shorts. Regrettably, as of 2018, the Bugle Boy brand is no longer in active use.

5. Z Cavaricci

*Image via

If you thrived on making a bold statement and wanted to stand out from the crowd, Z Cavaricci was the ’80s go-to fashion choice for elevating your style game.

Known colloquially as “Cavaricci’s” or “Z Cavs,” these iconic pants were famous for their distinctive high-waisted design. With intricate belt loops and attention-grabbing button details, wearing them was a surefire way to command attention and gain recognition for your fashion-forward style.

Now, you can score a pair of vintage Z Cavaricci pants on eBay and relive that fashion glory.

The comeback of ’80s clothing brands like Esprit is more than a passing trend—it’s a nostalgic journey for many. Some of these brands, once iconic, have found their way back into the fashion scene, reminding us that fashion is constantly evolving and often recycled throughout the years.

Do you have a favorite ’80s clothing brand?

*Affiliate Disclosure

**Cover image via Esprit

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