How to Dress for an '80s Prom

Written by helen holzer
  • Share
  • Tweet
  • Share
  • Pin
  • Email
How to Dress for an '80s Prom
Ruffles were all the rage in the 1980s. (George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

If you weren't "Pretty in Pink," you were "Footloose" and fancy free at your '80s prom. Dressing for a school prom in the 1980s offered a hodgepodge of styles, from flashy sequinned cocktail dresses to tulle tutu skirts for the girls and "Miami Vice" pastels for the guys. This was an era of abundance and anything went. Colours ran the gamut from bright to light, and ruffles were popular for both prom dresses and formal tuxedo shirts. With many of the free-spirited fashions of the era coming back into style, it's time to relive the fun of a 1980s prom.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Wear an ornate cocktail dress that is short and fits snugly on the top. It can be sequinned and made of chiffon or any shiny fabric. Go for ruffles on the skirt, and a strapless look, or one that is gathered at one shoulder with a bow, ruffle or fancy flounce. Bright colours or patterns can dominate, as anything goes. Throw a chiffon scarf over your shoulders, wear plenty of bangle bracelets and get out the spike heels.

  2. 2

    Find an iconic '80s prom tuxedo in powder blue with a matching blue ruffled shirt. If you don't have the nerve to pull off this look, you can wear a black tux with the same ruffled shirt in pink or blue, or white with black accents on the ruffles. The "Miami Vice" look is an alternative with a light-coloured suit worn with a pastel shirt in pale pink or blue. Wear dress shoes in solid colours or two-tone black and white styles.

  3. 3

    Add the perfect hairstyle to finish off the look. Girls can wear big hair that is teased, moussed and sprayed. Apply a big bow or colourful barrettes to your hair. Apply your make-up heavily with plenty of blush, dark lipstick and eye make-up. Match your mascara, eyeliner and eye shadow to your dress colour. Guys can wear their fringe pulled forward into their eyes or pull their hair back into a ponytail at the nape, and add a short hairpiece for a mullet look.

Don't Miss

  • All types
  • Articles
  • Slideshows
  • Videos
  • Most relevant
  • Most popular
  • Most recent

No articles available

No slideshows available

No videos available

By using the site, you consent to the use of cookies. For more information, please see our Cookie policy.