When you're looking for original couples' costumes for a 1980s party, look no further than pop culture: TV, movies and music. Sure, you can dress as a generic preppy couple wearing penny loafers and polo shirts with upturned collars, or a punk couple with spiky colored hair and studded leather wristbands, but it might be a bit more fun to dress as a specific iconic couple.
Mork and Mindy
Couples led the casts on some of the popular iconic TV shows in the '80s. Those most easily captured by a costume include Sam and Diane from Cheers and the Huxtables from The Cosby Show, but arguably the most recognizable TV duo from the era is Mork and Mindy from the show of the same name.
Mork and Mindy was a sci-fi sitcom that ran from 1978 to 1982 on ABC starring Robin Williams and Pam Dawber in the titular roles. You can make a Mork space uniform with a long-sleeved red jumpsuit or work coveralls, a piece of metallic silver material and some black and silver trim.
Cut a large silver isosceles triangle, 8- to 10-inches wide on the short side and 10- to 12-inches long on its long sides. Sew it to the center front of the jumpsuit with the point facing down, ending near the navel, and the short end of the triangle lying squarely across the chest, between the shoulders. Sew two 6-inch black strips of material over two pieces of 6-inch silver trim and sew them to the shoulders as epaulets. White or silver gloves complete the look.
Pull back the sides of Mindy’s hair with barrettes wearing blunt bangs. Put on a conservative blouse or sweater with jeans or a long skirt. To make it more obvious, stitch an “M” monogram or wear a gold piece of jewelry inscribed with "Mindy.”
Pretty in Pink
Movie couples are always appreciated when done well, and you can easily put together a Top Gun or Dirty Dancing look by imitating the respective movie posters.
However, John Hughes movies totally ruled the '80s box office, and one of the best to capture in costume was the 1986 hit Pretty in Pink starring Molly Ringwald as Andie and Andrew McCarthy as her love interest, Blane.
To dress as Andie, wear retro pink -- a must. To make her prom dress, start with a long-sleeved satin pink dress that you can cut the shoulders off, but leave the sleeves attached to the bodice. Make a collar from the extra fabric. Add a diamond-shaped piece of pink lace fabric that covers the cleavage area, widens out near the shoulders and attaches to the collar where it narrows again. The hair should be short, red and -- of course -- big.
Andie's costume carries this look, but Blane adds the finishing touches. Get a retro white tuxedo with black vest and black bowtie. Make his hair medium length, feathered and combed back in preppie fashion.
Guns N' Roses: Axl Rose
Some music couples from the '80s also make good costume fodder, including Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics, the singers from Human League or the B-52s.
For comedic effect, step outside the box. This last couple is not actually a couple, but these two have some of the most recognizable looks in '80s rock: Axl Rose, lead singer of Guns N' Roses and his guitarist Slash. Either character can be played by a man or a woman, so have some fun here.
Axl needs shoulder-length or longer straight blonde hair or a wig. Fold a red or blue bandana in half, then tuck the point inside and fold it again to a width of approximately 4 inches. Tie it around the forehead and perch a pair of aviator sunglasses on your head. Wear a T-shirt and jeans, and tie a plaid shirt around your waist by the sleeves -- make sure the shirt matches the color of the bandana for authenticity.
Guns N' Roses: Slash
Pair Axl with his sidekick Slash. Slash needs shoulder-length curly black hair or a wig, and a black top hat. Add a silver belt buckle or other silver adornment around the brim. Wear dark aviator sunglasses and dangle an unlit cigarette from your lips for effect.
Clothes are usually black: a black rock t-shirt, blazer or long black leather coat with jeans or leather pants. Attach a heavy silver chain from the front belt loop of your pants to your back pocket. If you want, you can also carry an electric guitar, although the Slash look is complete without it.
- Photo Credit Karen Mower/iStock/Getty Images
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