How to Dress for an 80s Party

Dress for an 80s Party

If you have received an invitation to an 80s-themed party and are unsure what to wear, you are in the right place. The 1980s was a decade of bold fashion choices and vibrant colors. From the iconic looks of Madonna to the cool style of Fresh Prince, there are many options to choose from for your outfit. You can opt for neon and spandex or mix and match different accessories to create a unique look. With our guide, you will be able to step back in time and make a statement at the party. Get ready to how to dress for an 80s party!

Setting the Stage: What’s the 80s All About?

Before we dive into the fashion tips, let’s set the stage a bit. The 1980s were a time of excess, flamboyance, and individuality. It was a decade marked by bold fashion choices, vibrant colors, and eclectic styles. It was the era of Michael Jackson’s moonwalk, the birth of hip-hop, and the rise of punk rock. The 80s were all about expressing yourself through fashion, and it was perfectly acceptable to be over-the-top, even a little outrageous. Think big hair, loud makeup, and clothing that looked like it came straight out of a sci-fi movie.

So, how do you capture the essence of the 80s in your party outfit? Let’s break it down step by step.

1. Go Big on Hair

Embrace the Teased and Tousled

Go big on hair with dress for an 80s party

When it comes to 80s hair, the motto is “the higher, the better.” Ladies, it’s time to tease, crimp, and hairspray your way to voluminous locks. Think Madonna’s iconic “Like a Virgin” era with her luscious curls or the wild, teased mane of the glam rockers.

Guys, if you’ve got the length, grow it out and go for that rockstar look. If not, consider a mullet or the slicked-back style of Miami Vice’s Don Johnson. And don’t forget the hair gel – you’re going to need it to keep your locks perfectly coiffed.

Accessories are Key

Accessorizing your hair is just as important as styling it. Think scrunchies, headbands, and banana clips for the ladies, while the guys can opt for bandanas or headbands to keep their hair in check. Don’t forget the neon hair ties and scrunchies for that extra pop of color!

2. Neon Everything

Bright and Bold Colors

The 80s were all about embracing vibrant colors. Neon hues ruled the fashion scene, and there was no such thing as being too bright. Think electric blue, hot pink, neon green, and highlighter yellow. When picking out your outfit, the rule of thumb is to choose colors that practically scream for attention.

Ladies, consider a neon mini skirt paired with a lacy, off-the-shoulder top for that quintessential 80s look. Guys, you can’t go wrong with a neon windbreaker or a pair of neon shorts. Don’t be shy – mix and match those fluorescent colors!

Accessorize with Neon

Accessories are a crucial part of any 80s outfit. Neon leg warmers, fingerless gloves, and chunky plastic jewelry are your best friends. If you really want to take it up a notch, invest in a pair of neon sunglasses or a fanny pack – both were iconic 80s accessories.

3. Power Shoulders

Bold and Structured

The 80s were all about power party dressing, and that meant exaggerated shoulders. Ladies, look for blazers and dresses with padded shoulders or shoulder pads. These will give you that broad-shouldered, assertive look that defined 80s fashion.

Guys, you can rock the power shoulders too with a well-fitted blazer or a structured jacket. Just make sure those shoulders are padded to the max!

4. Leggings and Spandex

Tight and Stretchy

If there’s one thing that epitomizes 80s fashion, it’s leggings and spandex. These snug-fitting, stretchy bottoms were a staple in both men’s and women’s wardrobes.

Ladies, pair your leggings with oversized sweaters or off-the-shoulder tops. Don’t forget the leg warmers – they’re not just for your legs; you can wear them scrunched down around your ankles or pulled up over your knees for that extra flair.

Guys, go for spandex shorts or pants – bonus points if they’re in a bright, eye-catching color. Throw on a muscle tee or a tank top, and you’re ready to hit the dance floor.

5. Rock the Accessories

Layer It On

Rock the accessories to dress for an 80s party

Accessories in the 80s were all about layering. You couldn’t have too many bracelets, bangles, or chunky necklaces. Ladies, stack those jelly bracelets up your arm and don’t forget the oversized hoop earrings.

Guys, consider a leather cuff bracelet, multiple chains, and a digital watch with a calculator. Sunglasses are a must for both men and women – the bigger, the better.

6. Don’t Forget the Footwear

High-Tops and Stilettos

Your footwear can make or break your 80s look. High-top sneakers were all the rage, especially when paired with rolled-up acid-washed jeans. Ladies, if you’re going for a more glamorous look, stiletto heels are your best bet. Make sure they’re flashy and attention-grabbing.

For the guys, consider colorful sneakers or even Converse Chuck Taylors in a bold shade. And remember, the higher the tops, the better.

7. Makeup Magic

Bold and Dramatic

Ladies, get ready to go all out with your makeup. Think bright eyeshadows in electric blues, pinks, and purples. Winged eyeliner was a must, and don’t be afraid to use plenty of mascara and blush. Bold, glossy lips in shades of red or hot pink were the finishing touch.

Guys, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can dabble in some eyeliner for that rockstar look. And remember, the 80s were all about embracing androgyny, so makeup knows no gender boundaries!

8. Get Inspired

Iconic 80s Icons

If you’re still not sure how to put together your 80s look, turn to some iconic figures of the decade for inspiration. Madonna, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Prince, and David Bowie were all fashion trailblazers of the 80s. Watch music videos or look up photos from their most famous eras to get ideas for your outfit.

9. Thrift Stores and Online Shopping

Where to Find Your Outfit

Finding authentic 80s clothing can be a bit challenging, but fear not! Thrift stores are a goldmine for retro fashion. Look for oversized sweaters, denim jackets, and vintage tees. You might even stumble upon some original neon windbreakers.

If thrift stores aren’t your thing, you can always turn to online marketplaces like eBay or Etsy. There are plenty of sellers specializing in vintage 80s clothing and accessories. Just make sure to check the sizing and read reviews before making a purchase.

10. Own Your Look with Confidence

Own Your Look with Confidence

The Final Touch

Now that you’ve assembled your 80s ensemble, the most crucial element is confidence. The 80s were all about self-expression, so own your look and strut your stuff like you’re the star of your very own music video. Remember, it’s not just about what you wear; it’s about how you wear it.


1. Can I dress up as a specific 80s movie character for the party?

Absolutely! Dressing up as a character from an iconic 80s movie is a fantastic idea. Whether you want to be Marty McFly from “Back to the Future,” Ferris Bueller, or one of the Ghostbusters, it’s a fun and recognizable way to go retro.

2. What about 80s hairstyles for people with short hair?

Even if you don’t have long locks, you can still achieve 80s-inspired hairstyles. Consider a pixie cut with lots of volume and hairspray for a bold look. Short hair can be teased and styled to achieve that 80s flair.

3. Are there any 80s fashion trends I should avoid?

While the 80s had some unforgettable fashion moments, there are a few trends you might want to skip. Excessive shoulder pads can be uncomfortable, and overly baggy parachute pants might not give you that authentic 80s vibe.

4. Can I incorporate modern clothing into my 80s outfit?

Absolutely! Mixing modern pieces with 80s classics can give your outfit a unique twist. For example, you can pair a vintage 80s jacket with modern jeans and sneakers. It’s all about creating a look that feels right for you.

5. What makeup brands and products can I use for the bold 80s look?

For bold and vibrant 80s makeup, look for brands that offer highly pigmented eyeshadows and lipsticks. Some popular choices include MAC, Urban Decay, and NYX. Don’t forget to use a good primer to make those colors pop, and setting spray to keep your makeup in place throughout the party.

So there you have it, folks – your comprehensive guide to dressing for an 80s party. Remember, the 80s were all about pushing the boundaries and having fun with fashion.

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