How to make a Miami Vice costume for an '80s party

Even for those who didn’t watch the show regularly, Miami Vice oozed 80s cool and summed up a decade in terms of brash personalities and even brasher fashion. With the 80s very much back in vogue, 80s costume parties are all the rage these days. Fully immerse yourself in the age by dressing as perhaps the show’s most iconic character James “Sonny” Crockett, played by Don Johnson.

The Vice

Get hold of a snug pastel t-shirt. Blues and greens are good. Pink is ideal. V-necks are OK and allow you to show off a bit of chest hair – real or fake.

Seek out a white suit that fits well. If you can’t find one, match up a white pair of trousers and a white jacket as best you can. You will be rolling up the sleeves so don’t worry if the jacket sleeves are too long or too short.

Wear a dark pair of sunglasses, which should have black rims. The Ray Ban Wayfarer style is good, but you can find far cheaper alternatives for around £1 on the high street.

Avoid a razor for a few days to let some stubble build up. On the day, tidy up the edges to make some “designer” stubble. If you are female or lacking facial hair, draw some stubble on with face paint.

Establish a hairstyle that sweeps back from your face. Achieve this with a blow-dry or with some styling gel. Encourage the merest suggestion of a mullet. If you don’t want to fully embrace the style by cutting your own hair, get a wig.

Wear a gun holster on top of your t-shirt, but under your jacket. Brown leather is traditional. Pair with a replica semi-automatic pistol and police badge.

Buy or borrow some slip-on loafers. White socks are a must.

Drink cocktails all night – the more colourful and flamboyant the better. Smoke white-filtered cigarettes or pretend to by rolling up a bit of paper and hanging it out of the corner of your mouth.


Watch a few episodes of Miami Vice before the party to get in the role and memorise some one-liners.

Things You'll Need

  • Pastel t-shirt
  • White suit
  • Dark glasses
  • Gun holster
  • Replica gun
  • Police badge
  • Loafers
  • White socks
  • Hairdrier/gel
  • Wig
  • Face paint
  • Cigarettes
  • Cocktails
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article


About the Author

Robert Macintosh is a full-time journalist based in Northern Ireland. He has accumulated eight years’ experience since 2005, writing for magazines, newspapers and websites in various countries. Macintosh has specialised in politics and entertainment. He has an honours degree in social anthropology, an NVQ level 4 in newspaper journalism and an AS Level in photography.