Tips on 1980s Rocker Girl Fashion & Makeup

Leather pants were a prevalent component of 80s rocker garb.
Leather pants were a prevalent component of 80s rocker garb. (Image: sexy red head image by MAXFX from

Styles worn by 1980s rockers influenced fashion, as it was quickly mimicked by fans. The big hair, drastic makeup and leather clothing worn by singers in music videos inevitably bled onto store shelves within weeks. Artists like Debbie Harry and Joan Jett added fuel to a movement, bringing a touch of glitz to hardcore rock and roll attire.

Bold Makeup

The 1980s ushered in a time of thick, dark eyeliner, coupled with brightly colored lips. This look can be achieved by lining eyes with a black pencil liner, then tracing them with liquid liner. For a bolder, more feline appearance, an angular line can be drawn from the outer corner of the lash line to the brow bone, then blended in across the lid. Bright red lipstick, almost tomato-colored in hue, is the perfect way to accent this rocker look, which also requires a highly contoured cheek bone. DSquared, the Italian-based designer, revisited a similarly strong look on the runways in a recent collection aimed to epitomize 1980s rock.

Big Hair

Teased and sprayed with the hair stiffener of choice, rocker hair in the 1980s was voluminous. Heavy hold hairspray and a rat tail comb are two necessities when trying to achieve the height of big hair. The hair is back combed, starting about three inches from the scalp, then sprayed to hold the shape. Icy blond hair color or frizzy bangs are also elements that can be incorporated in this rocker look.


Tight leather pants were to rock fashion what distressed tulle and lace were to pop music. While pop icons like Madonna sported distressed petticoats and pearls, rockers preferred tight leather and lace. Leather pants or micro miniskirts were as popular as jeans; jackets were made edgier with hardcore details, such as heavy-duty zippers and studding. To soften the look, lace or a netted shirt was added to the ensemble, as this was a common accoutrement of the time. For a more casual rock fashion, leather can be dressed down with a worn graphic shirt.


Rocker accessories were just as hardcore as the clothing they accentuated; leather, hardware and spike heels dominated the scene. As animal hide is a consistent theme, thick and studded cuffs can be worn around the neck and wrist. Other past trends cited in “Billboard” magazine include layering a mixture of brightly-colored or studded belts on the hips. The shoes of the 80s were pointy stilettos; choosing sharp, bright-colored or jet black pumps can be the finishing touch to a rocker look.

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