Whitney Houston's '80s Outfits Were Full of Timeless Fashion Lessons

Here are 10 we'll never forget.

Collage of Whitney Houston in different '80s outfits
Photo: Getty Images

Whenever we hear the name Whitney Houston, we can't help but reflect on her spectacular career. Almost immediately, songs such as "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" pop into our head, and we suddenly feel the urge to rewatch The Bodyguard or 1997's Cinderella (arguably the best version), in which she played the Fairy Godmother. And, let's not forget the late artist's outfits — specifically, the ones she wore in the '80s. Houston stuck to a signature style, and never shied away from sequined, printed, and embellished designs. A true fashion icon.

Looking back at some of the star's best looks from that decade, we realized they contained a handful of tips that would still come in handy today. No matter what you're dressing for, these 10 fashion lessons are worth keeping in mind.

Reach For Sequins

Collage of Whitney Houston wearing three sequined outfits
Getty Images

Mini dresses, gowns, jackets — as proven by Houston, it doesn't hurt to choose something that contains a little (or a lot of) sparkle. The star embraced sequins both on stage and off, ensuring her outfits were not only fun but spotlight-stealing as well.

Remember Classic Combos

Collage of Whitney Houston wearing structured jackets with jeans
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On multiple occasions, Houston styled structured jackets with blue jeans. Even today, this outfit is a good go-to, whether you're heading to the office or going out for drinks. You can always switch it up by swapping out the bottom layer (a T-shirt, a turtleneck, or a sweater are great options) and completing the look with different shoe styles.

Stick With a Scheme

Collage of Whitney Houston wearing all-white outfits
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This star was no stranger to monochromatic outfits, which, as we know, can be both sleek and simple. Houston always managed to find not-so-basic pieces to take her all-white look to the next level, whether it was a belted jacket or a hat.

Go With Bold Prints

Collage of Whitney Houston wearing bold print outfits
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And, don't be afraid to mix them, either. Different types of florals or stripes paired with polka dots look great when styled together, too.

Coordinate With Loved Ones

Collage of Whitney Houston with mom Cissy Houston in similar-looking outfits
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In the '80s, whenever Whitney made an appearance with her mom, Cissy Houston, the two opted to color coordinate. We're not saying you have to pull a matchy-matchy moment with your mom, spouse, or BFF, but hey — it's cute and makes for some great photo ops.

Bring On the Volume

Collage of Whitney Houston wearing voluminous outfits
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Houston was clearly a fan of tiers, ruffles, and floral embellishment back in the day, and in many ways, '80s fashion has returned. Go ahead and add that elaborate puff-sleeved top to cart. It's definitely something the style icon would approve of.

Try a Standout Shoulder

Collage of Whitney Houston wearing outfits with eye-catching shoulders
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Are you unsure what to wear to that wedding you were invited to? Find the happy medium between sweet and statement-making by opting for a design with an eye-catching shoulder detail, whether that's beads or an oversized bow.

Know That Simple Can Be Sexy

Collage of Whitney Houston wearing high-neck dresses
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Of course, Houston also knew that a solid-colored dress with a higher neckline was all that was needed to command a room. A pair of drop earrings didn't hurt, either.

Add a Little Extra

Collage of Whitney Houston wearing accessorized outfits
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Forget less is more — more is more in terms of accessories. As Houston showed us sometimes it's that final touch, like a headband or a scarf, that can give an outfit oomph and pull it all together.

Keep a Leather Layer Handy

Collage of Whitney Houston wearing outfits with a leather jacket
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It's hard to think of an outfit that wouldn't be made better with the help of a leather jacket. Houston relied on this outerwear choice for both dressy and casual occasions and invested in blazer-like and moto options to complete her looks.

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