Band Costume Ideas


If you are planning to dress up with a group of people, choosing a band as a template is a great way to go. Bands often have particular visual aesthetics that are arresting and identifiable. Your choice could be a band that you like musically or a band you've not really familiar with (although you might have a lot of people singing unfamiliar lyrics at you).

Metal Bands

  • Heavy-metal bands, especially the "Hair Metal" bands of the 1980s, often have unusual hair and dress styles. Many of them, such as Black Sabbath, had long hair and hefty moustaches and used religious iconography in their dress. Other metal bands, such as Van Halen and Whitesnake, had huge hairstyles and tight leather pants. If you don't have long hair, you might need wigs to make these work.

Glam Rock

  • Sort of related to metal, glam-rock bands had more flamboyant dress styles and makeup. David Bowie is a good example, as he used makeup to highlight his androgynous facial features and dyed and radically cut his hair; once he even sported a red lightning bolt on his face. Bands such as Queen and T. Rex wore bright, glittery clothing and sometimes sported skin-tight, latex bodysuits.


  • The punk style was meant to shock, but it now is a well-known section of mainstream fashion. Bands such as GBH had members with high mohawk haircuts and clothing with lots of patches (often with the names of bands or political messages on them) sewn on. Well-known bands such as the Sex Pistols, the Clash, the Ramones, Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney wore torn shirts, military jackets, leather jackets and tough boots (such as Doc Martins). Other elements of the punk style include studded jackets and "bondage pants" (tight pants with lots of zippers and snaps).

Pop Stars

  • Pop stars often are defined by their looks and, thus, have distinctive dress and hair styles. The Spice Girls had a variety of different looks that varied from animal prints to afros. The Backstreet Boys had a clean-cut look, with gelled hair and flashy shirts. Even the Beatles' early look was close to the pop look, with matching mop-top haircuts and suits with skinny ties.


  • You could have several costume parties with the fashions of a funk band such as Parliament Funkadelic. Some members of the band had platform heels several inches high, and others wore flamboyant capes. Funk bands such as Sly and the Family Stone wore extremely large sunglasses, brightly colored suits and large afros.

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