Baby Clothing and Toddler Clothing Trends From the 1980’s


Oh, the 1980’s, how I remember you well. Perched up on my elbows on my living room shag rug while hanging out in my Barbie nightgown; watching the Smurfs and enjoying a big bowl of Rainbow Brite cereal (where did that go, anyway?). The 80’s was an amazing decade for kids’ clothing for a number of reasons.

The clothing was pretty spectacular as well. Looking back, I often wonder if my parents were dressing me with their eyes open. My baby outfits, toddler clothes, and school outfits were pretty atrocious. I’m so glad my son is growing up in a decade with much better taste toddler clothing and baby clothing options like Bitsy Bug Boutique and several other curated baby boutique stores online now.

If you didn’t have the pleasure of being a child of the 80’s, read on to learn all about baby clothing fashion trends from the Affluent Eighties!

Baseball Sleeved Novelty Shirts

Whether they were long or short sleeved baby and toddler clothes, one thing is for sure-baseball style tops were everything! Their colored sleeves contrasted their solid toned front, but did so in a complimentary way. Often times, you would find these tops designed with novelty characters that were supremely popular.

Characters like a Smurf, anyone from Sesame Street, a Care Bear, Strawberry Shortcake, Rainbow Brite, Star Wars characters, super heroes, and Disney characters were on everything designed for babies, kids, tweens, and even teens (I think my father actually had a Mickey Mouse baseball tee-yikes!).

Embellished Cowboy Shirts

While dressing babies and toddlers up like cowboys or cowgirls was the “it” thing to do in the 1970’s, the 80’s decided to keep the trend but put their own special twist on it. Many baby and little boys wore button down shirts that were cowboy inspired. They had unique western designs and embellishments that were splashed across the chest. These designs were often very bright in color and were very unique lines and shapes.

Velour Everything

Babies, kids, and teens were often dressed in velour. This soft, crushed velvet-like material was the ultimate play outfit material. Roomy, but not very breathable in summer, the soft fabric’s texture was often used to design rompers, shorts, and tube or halter tops for little kiddos.


Whether they were designed in denim or corduroy, every baby or child of the 80’s definitely had a few pairs of overalls. While not the easiest to get in and out of for dressing and potty training purposes, they did look pretty darn cute. Kids often wore overalls to school, for pictures, and for play time.

Stirrup Pants

Babies, toddlers, kids, and teens were often dressed in stirrup pants. A unique take on the leggings; the stirrups wrapped around the foot, to give off a seamless, unified pant look. To make matters worse, they were often worn with baggy sweat shirts. On any given day you could probably find 9 children out of 10 wearing these wondrous pants.

Neon Everything

Neon was huge in the 80’s. Babies and kids alike could be seen in neon tops, shorts, sweat shirts, and my favorite; stretch pants. I specifically remember owning a bright green neon hat and wearing it up and down the boardwalk when I was five. The best part? I was not alone! The entire strip by the sea looked lit up at all hours of the day and night.

Puffy Chevron Jackets

Little girls and boys of the 80’s era most likely owned a puffy jacket with contrasting, muted chevron stripes. These jackets were worn for play and when sending kids off to school. They kept us warm, but looked frightful!

Pleated Hemlines

Baby, toddler, and school aged girls were often wearing pleated skirts or dresses for formal occasions. I can count three Easter dresses off the top of my head that were adorned with heavy pleating on the hemline. Fun to twirl about in, they were a popular, formal embellishment of the decade.

Floppy Bows

Whether worn in a baby or little girl’s hair, around her neck, or on her dress or top; the bigger the bow, the better! Bows were sewn on virtually anything! While they dressed up an outfit nicely, they ended up being so big they got in the way (not to mention, they were always coming untied). I believe when I was 8, I went as far as to cut my bow off my sweater because it was lace and it was itching my neck.

Let’s just say that if you have a baby today, be happy they were born when they were! The 80s was a fun time to grow up, but looking back, the fashion was an incredible faux pas!