I Love the 80s! | DIY 80s Costume Ideas.

I love the 80s. I’ve always had a bit of an obsession with that era, I’ve studied it to death, I’ve written papers, essays and exams on it. I managed to work it in to every single one of my A Levels and was so close to an 80s themed 18th birthday party you have no idea. However, a few years later I was off out to a hen night and everything was neon and Wham! and the Brat Pack and nothing hurt.


I wasn’t born in the 80s but I’ve heard it was acceptable in the 80s, so all colour and texture combinations go. That means that it is possibly one of the simplest costumes to pull off, especially if you don’t like fancy dress. You can utilise things you have lying around the house and even dress down in jeans and a tee.

The basics:

A bold, slogan T-shirt (preferably one with some sort of iconic pop lyrics or 80s brand)

Neon short shorts, leggings or acid wash jeans.

That’s it! From here on out, it’s all about the accessories baby:


NEON. Neon, neon, neon. You could go for hair scrunchies, net gloves or a Cyndi Lauper/Madonna inspired tutu. I went with neon beads and so many bangles they sprawled up my arm.

Leg warmers. From Flashdance to George Michael, everyone was sporting leg warmers. I paired a larger, white and silver glittery pair, with a smaller neon pink pair, over some silver sparkly heels. It was a little toasty around the ankles but the layered affect looked fab (if not slightly excessive – but who cares?!)

Heels aren’t the obvious footwear choice either. If you’re going with a more New Romantic vibe (think Adam Ant or Boy George) then black boots are a great way to go. Otherwise converse are absolutly, 100%, a-ok to cut loose and get footloose in.

Iconic brands. I mentioned it with the t-shirt but anything, anywhere is acceptable. Anything that screams 80s works for this costume. I had a David Hasselhoff branded bandana laying about (don’t ask me why) and decided that I would also wear that because… well it was pure Baywatch.

Hair and Make Up.


I got to crimp my hair. It was so big it started living independently of me and it was wonderful. Just crimp the crap out of it. Add scrunchies, add neon extensions. Top knots and side ponies are also a good idea. It keeps long hair out of your face and off your neck, but a half up, half down style is also a good choice. Quiffs and mullets, big curls and ribbons and bows. Big hair, crazy styles and a hit of colour will almost always wow.

I also got to wear all my neon makeup and cover myself in glitter. This last made an appearance during my ’emo’ phase (that never really happened) and my school play days. I was ON. IT. The Stargazer eyeshadows are great for this occasion, but will need a light colour underneath or a strong primer (I use a teeny tiny bit of Vaseline. It holds the colour but that can wrinkle.)

Cosmetic glitter around the brow/cheek bone and a crazy lip colour that pops is also a good idea. Another idea for the more zany of you out there is to take a tip from Bowie and use a bright colour for your contour. Why skin to skin tones when the 80s is all about breaking convention?

I also used an orange neon, crackle polish over white on my nails, which tied things together even more.


Well, there are a few ideas for you, in case you are really stuck or don’t want to spend out on a pilots outfit or something. This costume can be as loud or subdued as you feel comfortable with and you can totally dress comfy and still fit the theme.

The choice is yours.

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