I’m amazed that the styles that were popular when I was in elementary school and into the early 90s is now a Halloween trend, costume option, and themed party event!
So it happens, the inevitable “Lets relive the 80s!” party invite has come up on your Facebook or Twitter Feed. If you are like me, you may still have some things in your closet that will work, that obnoxious neon mini-skirt or denim jacket, but if you don’t, lets list some ideas!
The fun thing about this decade is that its not so much one single costume as it is an embodiment of an entire persona. What type of person from the 80s are you wanting to be? Identity is everything! Lets list some of the stereotypes we remember from 30 years ago:
– There were the preppy rich kids that tied sweaters around their necks or wore the latest skiing gear. Think of Better off Dead, or watch Pretty in Pink.
– You can go for the “wrong side of the tracks” look too from those movies, Molly Ringwald was my hero back in the day! Throw on a Fedora, maybe a nice cardigan with a skirt, a pair of converse shoes, whatever you like!
– This decade gave us the stereotypical nerds, with their high-water pants, suspenders, pocket protectors, and bow-ties. Don’t forget the glasses with tape in the middle. Watch Revenge of the Nerds for ideas!
– Rockstars with big, long hairstyles and torn jeans like Guns N Roses or AC/DC
– Kiss. A class all by itself!
– Pop stars like Prince, Michael Jackson, Madonna and more wore a range of things, from fluffy shirts to lace gloves and dresses. Watch 80s music videos for ideas. You’ll see some of the craziest styles from Cyndi Lauper’s outrageous hairstyles to Boy George’s makeup and colorful braids.
– 80s hip-hop was another music genre with its own distinctive looks, from bucket hats and gold chains, to hammer pants (drop-crotch pants as they are known today) and track suits.
– Dancers with leggings, oversized shirts, and legwarmers, Flashdance is so iconic for this.
– British punk was big, look for plaid, leather, and spike that hair!
Not sure if you want to really go for any of those identities? Here are a few basic things to look for to help fit in:
1. Neon. Brighter was better. Fishnet shirts, glovelets, leggings, finding them in neon to put over a basic black tank top and black leggings or skirts was fun.
2. Layer EVERYTHING. Leggings, socks, shirts, belts, bracelets, you name it, contrasting colors layered on top of each other was the ideal.
3. Earrings were big. Touch-your-shoulder big.
4. Speaking of shoulders, shoulder pads gave the power shoulders to everyone who wore them. Men or women, strong shoulders sent a message that you were in charge.
5. A throwback to the Victorian period, high button-up collars and kitten heels on shoes were really popular.
6. Hair. Buy a can of aquanet to really get that authentic smell. Tease that hair, tease it big, spray with hairspray, then do it even bigger! I’m not sure why, but forcing your bangs to stand straight up was a big YES then. (I think Something about Mary killed that look for me though…). Mullets, high-tops with faded edges, Jerry curls, there were SO many fun styles. find the look that you love and go for it. Don’t want to harm your hair with teasing and hairspray? Find a wig that will give you the look you want! Feather extensions were a big deal too, luckily my shop deals with a distributor who sells these.
7. Finally, makeup. Blue eye shadow was a crazy must! Those neon colors were streaked across eyes with no boundaries. Sometimes complementary colors were used to make eyes even brighter. (Think blue eye shadow on your lids and orange just under the eyebrow). Don’t forget the pink blushes and your favorite chapstick or lipgloss. More is definitely more!
Don’t be afraid to go to your local thrift stores to find vintage clothing! There is a wealth of items available, from shoes to sweaters. I know when I try to do a themed party, that’s my first stop. There are also a ton of items available now from costume shops. My shop offers fun neon items, full costume ensembles, wigs, makeup, and other accessories.
Most importantly, have fun!