Decade party costume ideas

Written by danielle hansen
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Decade party costume ideas
Leather jackets work well in both 50s and 80s themed parties. (biker girl image by antonio harrison from

Decade parties are a common theme for both children and adults, and usually accompany another celebration, such as a birthday party or graduation. Themes can vary and may be based around any decade, although pre-20th century decade parties are very rarely seen. In addition to themed food, drink, decorations and music, guests are often asked to wear attire fitting the era of the party.

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Flapper girls are the quintessential reminder of the roaring twenties, a look that can be recreated with a slinky fringed dress, lots of pearls and feathered headbands or hats. Feather boas, knee-high stockings and garter belts lend themselves well to the look. Men should focus on simple black or brown trousers paired with a white button down shirt and suspenders. Well-shined shoes and smart hats were the trend for men, with fedoras the chosen style of hat for many.


The forties were all about glamour and classic beauty. Close, form-fitting dresses in whites, blacks and deep reds will create a look reminiscent of classic Hollywood stars, such as Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo. Finger-waved hair and deep red lipstick will complete the look.

The 40s were also the decade of World War II, which brought about many changes in the American landscape. Military-based costumes, such as camouflage and nurses uniforms, as well as Rosie the Riveter utilitarian clothes paired with a bandanna in your hair, are appropriate for 40s-themed costume parties.


1950s theme parties offer a wide variety of costume choices. Men can go for a look similar to 50s bad boy James Dean by slicking back their hair and donning a leather jacket and form-fitting white shirt. Tight denim jeans and cowboy boots are a must for the 50s bad boy. Men can also choose loosefitting slacks and a letterman jacket for the all-American teenage boy look.

For girls, a flared poodle skirt with matching sweater, paired with bobby socks and a pair of saddle oxfords, is an authentic 50s style.


The 60s were a time of peace, love and music. Clothes became looser and less restrictive. Men and women can both look the part in flared trousers, flowered, bell-sleeved shirts and platform shoes. Choose accessories such as large rounded glasses, braided headbands and jewellery emblazoned with peace signs to evoke 60s style.


The early 80s ushered in a new wave of punk fashion that spoke to the teens and 20-somethings. Women can pair tight black leggings with an oversized band T-shirt. Men should focus on tight-fitting jeans, torn in the right places. Teased and ratted hair was fashionable for both sexes, the bigger the better. Gloves, bracelets and studded wrist cuffs add the final touch to an 80s decade costume.

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