Chock-full of street dancers, punk rockers, pastel-wearing crime-fighting duos, the Brat Pack and shoulder-padded working girls fetching coffee in offices, the 1980s has no shortage of inspiration for totally outrageous costume ideas. Throwing together a homemade 80s costume requires only a quick trip around local thrift stores for some questionable fashions, plus a jaunt down the drugstore aisle for cheap, cheesy makeup and a cartload of gel and hairspray.
Clothes and Accessories
Whether you're opting for the lacy Gothic chic of Madonna, the pastel styling of "Miami Vice" or the dancer look from Olivia Newton-John's "Let's Get Physical" video, turn to thrift stores for a treasure trove of 80s castoffs. Girls going for Madonna-punk can pick up a plethora of costume jewelry, leather-studded belts and lace everything, to pair with combat boots and a ripped-up jeans jacket. The pseudo-athlete dancer look is as simple as throwing an inside-out sweatshirt with the collar cut out over a pair of tights topped off with multicolored leg warmers.
For guys, a neon or pastel T-shirt under a white blazer with the sleeves pushed up captures the Crockett and Tubbs essence of "Miami Vice." You can achieve a more manly Rambo-inspired 80s getup by wearing a T-shirt with the sleeves cut off, along with rolled-up jeans, Ray-Ban sunglasses and a red bandanna worn as a sweatband.
Big 80s hair had both guys and girls reaching for gallons of products to get their tresses as high as possible. Curled bangs hairsprayed at a 90-degree angle were practically a requirement for in-vogue hair for women in the 80s. The puffed-out manes paired with the bangs had most girls carrying hair-picks in their back pockets to keep the fluff as high as possible.
Men were just as hair-obsessed, from the long stringy locks of "hair band" rockers to the slicked-back, hair-gel-tousled bedheads of the preppy set. The quintessential hairstyle to emerge from the decade has to be credited to those mullet-loving men with "business up front and a party in the back." A cheap, long-haired wig poofed-out like a rocker or trimmed into a mullet is the best way to get the "80s guy" look without a haircut.
No costume is complete without the "like, totally awesome" lingo you'll spout while wearing it. Brush up on the gnarly jargon and cut loose until guests are ready to gag you with a spoon. Aside from spewing the slang from the decade, come armed with dialogue from some of the classic 80s films like the "Here's my impression of life at big Bri's house," speech delivered by Judd Nelson as Bender in "The Breakfast Club." For those who can't remember long monologues, memorize a handful of shorter 80s movie catchphrases like "wax on, wax off" from "The Karate Kid," "Goonies never say die," or -- from "Pretty in Pink" -- "the girl was, is and will always be nada."
- Photo Credit Timothy Hughes/Photodisc/Getty Images
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