How to Make an '80s Costume

Written by molly prather
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How to Make an '80s Costume
The '80s were a fun time for fashion and music. (annees 80 image by yannik LABBE from

Creating an '80s costume for Halloween or any sort of themed party is a relatively easy thing to do. If you'd like to dress up as a character from a popular '80s movie such as "The Breakfast Club" or "Pretty in Pink," you can construct a great costume without breaking the bank. You can go high end if your budget allows and track vintage clothes down online or just sort through the offering at your local thrift store to achieve the same '80s look.

Skill level:


    Making Your 80s Costume

  1. 1

    Decide which look from the '80s you're going for. Fashions from the '80s range from the bright florescent coloured clothing worn by the likes of break dancers and Punky Brewster that includes the layering of leggings, legwarmers, bandannas, off-the shoulder shirts and parachute trousers to the sexy, rock 'n' roll looks sported by metal bands such as Motley Crue and Poison that includes leather trousers, ripped jeans and motor cycle jackets. Or, pick your favourite character from your favourite '80s movie, such as "The Karate Kid," "Pretty in Pink," "The Breakfast Club," "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" or "The Lost Boys."

  2. 2

    Shop for the pieces you need to complete your ensemble. You can start at your local thrift store such as Salvation Army or Goodwill to find the basics such as Members Only jackets, dresses with shoulder pads and acid-washed jeans. Fashions inspired by the '80s revolve around brightly coloured leggings, leotards, sunglasses and legwarmers that are actually back in style these days. Try shopping at stores designed for teens and college kids at your local mall to find some of these costume pieces. For inexpensive accessories such as bandannas, huge hoop earrings, lace fingerless gloves check out teen accessory stores, also found at the mall. Also, buy brightly coloured make-up such as blue eye shadow, pink lipstick, coloured mascara and glitter at your local drugstore.

  3. 3

    Dress-up in your outfit. If you're turning yourself into Samantha Baker from "Sixteen Candles" in all her wondrous pink splendour and ruffled glory or one of the vampires of the "Lost Boys" movie, be sure to have a picture handy to make sure you get all the details right. One of the most important aspects of '80s fashion was hairstyles-- whether it was permed, ratted, teased, crimped or feathered. Whatever hairstyle you choose, be sure to have a handful of mouse and a can of hairspray because the '80s were all about big hair, the bigger the better.

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