Most Popular 80s Leather Jackets for a Celebrity Look

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With 80s leather jackets, metallic studs, punk boots, and voluminously styled hair permed to the limits, the eighties was the decade of pure alternative fashion.

Popularized by music and movie celebrities such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Cher, Tom Cruise, Morten Harket, and Bon Jovi, the 80s is the golden decade of leather jackets.

Time to explore 10 of the most popular leather jacket styles of the 80s trending right now

1. Aviator Style

80s Aviator Leather Jacket
The Aviator leather jacket boomed during the 80s thanks to the Top Gun movie released in 1986.

The aviator jacket style rose to the pinnacle of 80s fashion right after the 1986 release of Top Gun.

Before the movie, the aviator jacket was used as a practical holdover by those in the army, mainly American soldiers.

A super stylish and versatile wardrobe item, the aviator jacket is the fastest way to enhance your appearance.

While the aviator design works great in professional and informal settings and can be worn in various ways, it is best to avoid overaccessorizing it.

The only accessory I recommend is the aviator sunglasses for a complete 80s look.

Airin G-1 Black & White Leather Bomber Jacket Stella G-1 Maroon Leather Bomber Jacket

2. Rocker Style

80s Rocker Leather Jacket
80s Rocker leather jacket style popularised by rock bands such as Guns n’ Roses from the US & Girlschool from the UK in the 80s.

Another super popular leather jacket was the rocker style.

The rocker leather jacket trend of the 80s was powered by the decade’s emergence of new rock-inspired musical genres and popular rock bands.

Rock’n’roll style’s popularity peaked in the 70s fashion, which continued in the 80s, and one of the most popular outfits for stage performers and fans was the studded leather jacket.

The classic rocker leather jacket transcends the gender gap and can be worn with jeans, boots, and white tees underneath.

Compared to the bomber leather jacket, the rocker jacket style works wonders with many accessories (necklaces, bracelets, and chains).

Allaric Alley Black Leather Biker Jacket Flashback Black Leather Biker Jacket

3. Blazer Type

80s Leather Blazer Jacket
Following the power suits silhouette of the 80s, Blazer jackets became the go-to for 80s smart casual outfits.

The 80s box leather jacket style had a straight, unfitted back hanging loosely from the shoulders.

A status symbol during the power dressing of the 1980s, the box leather jacket style has evolved.

The leather box jacket has become a wardrobe staple for smart casual ensembles.

Marilyn Black Leather Blazer Wine Black Leather Blazer

4. Motorcycle Style

80s Motorcycle Leather Jacket
Following Marlo Brandon’s famous motorcycle leather jacket style of the 50s, the Motorcycle style leather jacket became popular again in the 80s thanks to celebs like Michael Jackson and Johnny Depp.

One of the most popular types of leather jackets is the motorcycle jacket style.

The motorcycle jacket style has a significant “cool factor,” No, you don’t need a motorbike to wear a motorcycle jacket.

The primary purpose of the leather biker jacket was to keep the rider warm, shielded from wind and rain, and protected from scratches and burns in case of a fall.

The modern interpretations of the motorcycle jacket put more emphasis on design than utility, making it a stylish and enjoyable addition to any outfit.

Vincent Black Leather Biker Jacket Carolyn Quilted Vintage Brown Biker Jacket

5. Bomber Style

80s Bomber Leather Jacket Members Only
Thanks to Members Only, the bomber leather jacket became one of the biggest fashion trends during the 80s.

Another famous variation of the aviator jacket of the 80s is the bomber leather jacket style, particularly the ‘Members Only’ bomber jacket.

The Members Only jacket gained further popularity in the US in 1980 as part of Reagan’s ‘Just Say No’ campaign for the presidency and became the standard uniform of white suburban yuppiedom.

Members of La Cosa Nostra, the Italian mafia, wore the Members Only bomber jacket style from the early 1980s to the late 1990s.

Members Only Men's Leather Iconic Racer Jacket Members Only Iconic Women's Leather Jacket

6. Fringe Type

80s Fringe Leather Jacket
80s Fringe leather jacket style was popularized by Hollywood stars such as Mia Sara’s iconic white fringe leather jacket in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Cindy Mancini’s fringe leather Jacket in ‘Can’t Buy Me Love,’ and rock celebrities like Bon Jovi.

The firing leather jacket style reached peak popularity in the 80s, following the movie ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark.’

The film’s main character, Indiana Jones (played by the actor Harrison Ford), wears a brown leather jacket with many fringes.

The classic 80s firing leather jacket features side pleats for more effortless movement, and the cuffs are often removed for better motion.

The style was further popularized by Western movies of the late 80s, making this jacket a staple for women and men alike.

Vintage White Fringe Leather Jacket Zoe Fringe Leather Jacket

7. Punk Style

80s Punk Leather Jacket
Studded and Slogan leather jackets were the main statement piece of 80s punk outfits.

The term ‘Punk‘ emerged in the 70s to describe the times’ rebel subcultures.

Inspired by the rock’n’roll identity to a certain extent, the punk subculture had a unique dressing style, and the leather jackets are great fashion statements.

Compared to the moto leather jacket, the Punk jacket style has several patches, cuts, and unique accents.

Bellivera Studded Women's Leather Jacket Leather All Over Stud Studded Moto Biker Jacket

8. Patchwork Look

80s Patchwork Leather Jacket
Thanks to Winlit, patchwork leather jackets became super popular in the 80s.

The patchwork leather jacket style was inspired by the U.S. aviation personnel jackets packed with cut-offs and patches depicting the soldier’s base, grade, or rank in the army.

The punk subculture quickly adopted the patchwork style, followed by the heavy metal and biker gangs.

By the end of the 80s century, every subculture, be that punks, metalheads, or heavy biker gangs, had its patchwork leather jackets symbolizing group hierarchy and more.

Matin Kim Patchwork Leather Jacket

9. Cropped Type

80s Cropped Leather Jacket
Madonna’s 80s leather jackets in several colors and apparel combinations.

If there’s any outerwear piece that deserves to be in your closet year-long, it is the 80s cropped leather jacket.

Timeless, durable, and super sexy, the cropped leather jacket has been a fashion staple that has ruled the fashion industry for decades.

With an enticing cut style, the cropped leather jacket has a superb blend of classic and contemporary styles that works wonders with long dresses, jeans, and anything you have in mind.

AllSaints Dren Leather Cropped Biker Jacket Dren Cropped Leather Biker Jacket

10. Power Style

80s Padded Shoulder Leather Jacket
The iconic Padded shoulder leather jacket style of Azzedine Alaïa remains one of the most iconic moments of the 80s fashion.

The padded shoulder jacket is a variation of the moto jacket but with, as the name suggests, larger pads on the shoulder area.

Designed for both sexes, the style with more extensive shoulder modifications was inspired by the power suits and padded shoulder dresses of the 80s.

Power suits and dressing were all the rage in the 80s, a trend created by celebrities and movie stars playing influential, power-hungry career women.

Grace Jones’ sharply-tailored suits with broad padded shoulders inspired the ‘girl power’ and cross-dressing movement of the 1980s.

Black Leather Padded Shoulder Blazer


Worn by the decade’s celebrities (music and film), such as Michael Jackson, Madonna, Cher, Morten Harket, Tom Cruise, and Bon Jovi, leather jackets were super popular in the 80s.

Two of the most popular 80s leather jacket styles were the bomber jacket and the rocker jacket.

The bomber leather jacket style reached top popularity after the release of the Top Gun movie, and the rocker leather jacket became famous thanks to MTV and the emergence of rock celebrities in the late 80s.

While the trend of leather jackets began in the 80s, the style was equally popular in the 90s fashion.

Both decades are known for giving the world some of the most popular leather jacket styles and trends that still define how we dress now.


While most fashion styles in the 80s were about flaunting wealth and status, the influence of subcultures like rock, punk, and greaser remains visible in how we dress today.

In several cuts, styles, colors, and patterns, leather jackets are a fashion staple with over half a century at the top of the fashion pyramid.

Regardless of where you order your leather jacket, bookmark this article for inspiration for the most popular leather jacket styles of the 80s.

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A University of Oxford graduate in Design History, Katherine Saxon is researching arising TikTok cultures from a consumer psychology perspective while covering emerging aesthetics in fashion and beauty for TheVOU, Forbes, Business Insider, and more.

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