What Did the 80S Smell Like

What Did the 80S Smell Like
Written by Lucas M. Hall

The 80s smelled like hairspray, sweat, and musky perfumes, a mix of synthetic and nostalgic aromas. Step back in time to the vibrant and lively decade of the 80s, and you would be enveloped by a distinct aroma that defined the era.

Picture the scent of hairspray wafting through the air as people primped their big, voluminous hairstyles. It mingled with the traces of sweat from energetic dance floors and crowded concert venues, creating a unique olfactory atmosphere. The air was also filled with the musky fragrances of popular perfumes like Calvin Klein’s Obsession and Giorgio Beverly Hills’ Giorgio, adding a touch of glamour to the sensory experience.

In short, the smell of the 80s was a blend of synthetic products, nostalgia, and the energy of an era that embraced excess and self-expression.

Smells That Defined The Decade

The 80s were characterized by distinctive smells that defined the decade. One such iconic scent was hairspray, which became synonymous with the bold and exaggerated fashion trends of the era. The smell of hairspray lingered in the air, accompanying the voluminous hairstyles and flamboyant outfits that were popular during that time.

Another smell that brings back memories of the 80s is the distinct aroma of cassette tapes. The sound of music being played on a cassette tape and the smell of the magnetic tape evoke a sense of nostalgia for a time when mixtapes were the ultimate expression of love and friendship.

Additionally, the lingering smell of arcade game arcades added to the excitement of the 80s. The combination of the sounds, lights, and the distinctive scent of arcade games created an immersive experience that many still remember fondly.

Perfumes And Fragrances Of The 80S

The 80s were known for their iconic perfumes and fragrances. One of the most enduring scents of the decade was Chanel No. 5, which gained immense popularity. Power fragrances also made a statement during this time, with scents like White Shoulders and Giorgio Beverly Hills rising to prominence.

These fragrances exuded confidence and sophistication. In the male fragrance market, Drakkar Noir made a significant contribution. Its strong and masculine scent became a favourite among men. The 80s were a time when perfumes and fragrances played a crucial role in personal style and self-expression.

The scents of this era will always be remembered for their distinctiveness and impact.

The Scent Of Pop Culture

The scent of the 80s evokes memories of teenage culture with the sweet and fruity aroma of Lip Smackers. Popcorn at movie theatres during that time carried a distinct smell, linking it to the magic of 80s cinema. Leather jackets, on the other hand, exuded a fragrance that symbolized the rebellious spirit embraced by many during the decade.

These scents became intertwined with the pop culture of the 80s, reminding us of the vibrant and vibrant era filled with iconic fashion choices, youthful rebellion, and unforgettable moments in entertainment. Relive those nostalgic times through the power of scent and dive back into the allure of a time gone by.

What Did the 80S Smell Like


The Influence Of 80S Pop Music

In the 80s, the influence of pop music permeated the air, leaving behind a distinct olfactory experience. A musky aroma of patchouli wafted through the scene, creating a connection to the music genre of that era. Concerts and music videos were filled with the lingering scent of fog machines and dry ice, transporting audiences to another world.

Vinyl records, a staple of the 80s, carried a nostalgic fragrance as enthusiasts flipped through album covers, seeking their next favourite tracks. The combination of these scents offered a sensory journey, reflecting the vibrancy and creativity of the decade. The 80s may be gone, but their unmistakable scent lingers, reminding us of the unique spirit and influence of that era.

The Power Of Brands And Advertising

The 80s were filled with the power of brands and advertising that left a lasting impression. The overwhelming scent of newly opened plastic from packaged toys lingered in the air, evoking a sense of excitement and anticipation. The sweet and sugary fragrance of cereal box prizes enticed children, adding to the allure of these beloved products.

And who could forget the intoxicating smell of new cars, perfectly showcased in automobile advertisements of the 80s? These scents played a vital role in creating lasting memories and shaping consumer behaviour. Brands understood the importance of sensory experiences and used them to captivate audiences, leaving an indelible mark on the world of advertising.

The 80s truly smelled like a combination of childhood wonder, sugary delights, and the promise of a new car adventure.

The Scent Of Technology

The scent of the 80s was filled with the distinct odor of technology. It carried the chemical smell of Polaroid photos, instantly gratifying memories. The air in photographic studios and drugstores was infused with the fragrance of film developing. And then there was the scent of floppy disks, marking a pivotal role in the evolution of personal computers during that era.

These olfactory notes were unique to the time, creating nostalgic reminders of a technological revolution. Venture back to the 80s, and your senses will be tingled by the unmistakable smells of a bygone era.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Was A Popular Scent In The 80S?

A popular scent in the 80s was Paris by Yves Saint Laurent.

What Smells Like The 70S?

The scent that captures the essence of the 70s is a unique combination of patchouli, musk, and incense.

What Was The Most Popular Perfume In The 80S?

The most popular perfume in the 80s was Chanel No. 5.

What Did The 60S Smell Like?

The 60s had a distinct smell that varied from the earthy scent of nature to the aroma of patchouli and incense.


The scents of the 80s were a unique blend of nostalgia, rebellion, and boldness. From the musky smell of hairspray to the sweet fragrance of bubblegum, every whiff reminded us of a decade filled with vibrant colors, cassette tapes, and big hair.

The distinct aroma of cigarette smoke that wafted through crowded bars and clubs was a symbol of rebellion and an expression of freedom. The intoxicating smell of neon and fluorescent lights added to the energetic atmosphere of the time. It’s impossible to forget the unmistakable scent of freshly printed magazines and newspapers, the smell of ink mixed with anticipation of what awaited us between those pages.

The 80s had a distinctive olfactory identity that, even after all these years, continues to evoke vivid memories and transport us back to a time when anything seemed possible. So take a deep breath and let the aroma of the 80s fill your senses once again.

About the author

Lucas M. Hall

Lucas describes himself as a “certified fragrance expert”, having worked with some of the world’s top perfumeries as a perfume consultant. His love for fragrances has allowed him to help companies create scents that continue to sell out to this day. When he isn’t choosing notes, he helps clients find the perfect fragrance that complements their style and personality. Many high-profile clients have found their signature scent through his advice. During his downtime, Lucas likes to fill his home with the mouth-watering smell of s’mores, scones, and other delectable desserts.

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