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Top eight 80s business trends making a comeback


The eighties seems hotter than ever if a glance at the fashion stores is anything to go by but now it seems that business trends are following suit. Jamie-Natalie Cross pulls on her legwarmers and gets retro.

Following a period of excessive spending and consumer greed, a devastating recession washed up on the shores of Britain, bringing with it an alarming array of 80s flotsam including legwarmers, shoulder pads and lycra leggings, not seen since the last economic crash.
It’s not just fashion that’s experiencing an 80s revival. A recent ONS study into UK consumer spending habits showed that shoppers are shying away from noughties treats like balsamic vinegar and bagged salads and returning to 80s favourites such as garlic bread and fish fingers, spending lots of their hard earned cash on them (and considering how difficult it is to get people to part with their cash right now, that’s an achievement). We all know that business people like cash, so it’s only a matter of time before they jump on the 80s bandwagon. Want to get ahead of the trend? Take a look into our crystal ball of 80s business trends due for a comeback.

Power lunches

The 80s was the golden age of the elongated lunch session, which more often than not ended up with a few too many beverages and lasted until the early evening. Although fun and sociable, these lunches didn’t always achieve the desired outcome. For a modern twist on a time-honoured tradition, swap your own G&T for lemonade (it looks the same but keeps you focused), whilst making sure your lunch buddy gets the real thing. It’s never been so hip to be square!

Breakfast meetings

Back in the 80s this was the preferred networking approach, as people could nip in before work and enjoy a gourmet breakfast without missing any valuable work time in which to shout things like ‘buy buy! Sell sell!’It was also a good way of forming and maintaining profitable business relationships. Expect to see this trend returning to an office near you soon – with the modern addition of paninis and croissants.

Shoulder pads

Last seen on Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, the broad shoulder silhouette is back. This iconic look, worn by both men and women, lends the wearer an air of status and power. These have recently made their debut in Topshop, so expect to see them in more business-friendly establishments such as Principles and Wallis soon.

Naff desk toys

The Newton’s cradle was the must have executive toy of the 80s, followed closely by novelty items like the pendulum and the pin screen. With executives now more stressed than ever before, expect to see a resurgence of toys designed to help them relieve the pressure and ‘Relax’ (as Frankie might say).

The business card

Remember that scene from American Psycho? Back in the 80s everyone sought to have the flashiest business card – the tackier the better. During the early noughties there was a push towards the vCard but as face to face interaction takes centre stage once more, the business card is making a necessary comeback. 

Face to face meetings

Modern social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are currently being used to make connections but people are starting to realise that face to face interaction is still required to seal those connections. Expect to see many more ‘tweet ups’ (Twitter meet ups) and similar events being organised in the next few months.

The personal bank

Remember when you had a friendly relationship with your bank manager? Back in the 80s they knew you by name and personally helped you with multiple financial issues – an invaluable service, particularly for independent, small businesses. Unfortunately, during the 90s these personalised connections were severed as banks moved towards call centre operations. Now that small businesses are struggling more than ever to keep on top of their finances and business/bank relations aren’t what they used to be, banks are trying to recreate these relationships with customers – so dust off your shoulder pad suit and get ready for a face to face meeting with your friendly bank manager some time in the near future.

Wall Street

Many people remember Gordon Gekko, the infamously greedy stockbroker willing to do anything to make it to the top? His insatiable appetite for cash made him the poster boy for 80s capitalism and now he’s back in a sequel to the original movie, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps. Are they trying to tell us something about the bankers of today?

Which 80s business trends would you like to see a revival of or run screaming from? Share your favourites below.

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