How to make homemade '80s costumes

The 1980s was a unique decade in terms of fashion and music, and re-creating a look from this turbulent time can be inexpensive. Raid your closet, local thrift store and Halloween supply store to find the elements needed to make vintage 1980s looks that will have all guests doing a double-take and wondering if they had travelled back in time.

Look for an oversized 1980s band T-shirt; popular bands of the era include Poison, Motley Crue and Def Leppard. Add a little flair to your shirt by tearing a few holes in it and ripping out the collar to give it an aged, punk look.

Using a comb and hairspray, tease your hair as high as you can make it and spray it down heavily with the hairspray to help it stay put. You also can tease your fringe and place your hair into a side ponytail.

Cover your eyes with blue eye shadow and mascara. Apply dark red blush with a large brush and put on frosted pink lipstick. Paint your fingernails with bright blue fingernail polish.

Wear leg warmers or acid-washed jeans. Complete the look with jelly shoes and bracelets, and lace gloves.

Wear a leotard, leg warmers, neon spandex trousers and an oversized grey sweatshirt. To give the look a more "Flashdance" feel, cut the collar from the sweatshirt and wear it off one shoulder. Draw the words "Let's Get Physical" on the front of the sweatshirt with a black permanent marker.

Arrange your hair into a side ponytail. If you're a man, spike your hair with gel and wear a folded bandanna around your forehead.

Wear sweatbands around your wrists and walk around the party exercising while listening to a 1980s Walkman.

Place a long, blond wig on your head. Wear a yellow or red bandanna on your head, either as a do-rag or folded and tied around your forehead.

Cut the sleeves off a yellow T-shirt. Write the words "Hulkamania" on the front of the shirt with a black permanent marker.

Wear red bike shorts and a pair of black knee and elbow pads.

Draw a Fu Manchu moustache on your face with black eyeliner.


Give your 1980s attire a zombie twist by painting your face grey, dripping fake blood around your mouth and all over your clothing, and walking around slowly with your arms stretched out in front of you.

Things You'll Need

  • Rock T-shirt
  • Scissors
  • Hairspray
  • Comb
  • Blue eye shadow and mascara
  • Red blush, pink lipstick and blue fingernail polish
  • Leg warmers or acid-washed jeans
  • Jelly shoes and bracelets
  • Lace gloves
  • Leotard
  • Neon spandex trousers
  • Gray sweatshirt
  • Black permanent marker
  • Ponytail holder
  • Hair gel
  • Bandanna
  • Sweatbands
  • Walkman
  • Blond wig
  • Yellow or red bandanna
  • Yellow T-shirt
  • Red bicycle shorts
  • Black knee and elbow pads
  • Black eyeliner
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About the Author

Residing in Chippewa Falls, Wis., Jaimie Zinski has been writing since 2009. Specializing in pop culture, film and television, her work appears on Star Reviews and various other websites. Zinski is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in history at the University of Wisconsin.