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Planning a 1980s house party? Awesome! (If you’re reading this in April 2020 then I’m guessing you’re planning it for after this crazy COVID-19 time is over). House parties are perfect occasions to get creative and tap into the 1980s diva, punk, or rocker inside.
Plus, it’s the best excuse to go vintage shopping. If you’re lucky enough to live in London, head to iconic vintage stores such as Rellik, Rokit, Atika to find a gem, or trawl the markets in Portobello and Kensington. If your town is lacking in vintage finds, go online to find retro treasures and style them with whatever you’ve got at home.
Welcome to our list of 23 of the best 80s house party outfit ideas where you can find inspiration for your next sartorial creation.
- 1980s London punk: black leather
Go back in time to London and Brighton Beach in the 1980s and take a few tips from the punks and rockers who favoured black leather and mohawks.
- Shop for ripped, tight jeans, lace-up boots, and studs
- Madonna-chic: corsets, cut-off gloves, and a perm
You can’t go wrong with 1980s Madonna!
- Go vintage shopping for a back corset, cut-off gloves, ripped jeans, and multiple chain necklaces to layer
- Tease and curl your hair and wear it piled high with a bandana tied with a bow
- Don’t forget the bushy dark brows and red lips
- 80s Mom: blue jeans, belt, and sweater
Be the Mom of the party with:
- High-waisted Mom jeans in acid wash or pale blue denim
- Add a leather belt, and tuck a sweater into the waistband
- Pair with white sneakers and big clip-on earrings
- Extra points for a fanny pack!
- Flashdance-inspired: off-the-shoulder sweater, heels, and full hair
One of the sexiest 80s fashion moments was Jennifer Beals in iconic 1980s dance movie ‘Flashdance’.
- Try a reworked version with an off-the-shoulder grey sweater, tight black jeans, point-toe heels, and full, teased hair
- Double points if you can learn her iconic audition dance to show off at the party (after a few cocktails)
- Double denim: acid wash overload
Everyone loves an 80s double-denim moment.
- Trawl the second-hand stores for baggy, oversized acid-wash jackets, jeans and jean skirts
- Mix-and-match your denim colors and washes
- Wear with feathered fringes and headbands
- Stuff your jeans into colored cowboy boots, or opt for white sneakers and socks
- Workout queen: neon spandex and headbands
Take a leaf out of Jane Fonda and Olivia Newton John’s books and nestle into some 80s sportswear.
- Think high-rise leotards, Spandex leggings, leg warmers, trainers, headbands, and plenty of neon
- Add more coverage by wearing a wraparound mini skirt over your spandex, and a neon bomber jacket
- Channel The Rock: blue jeans, black turtleneck, fanny pack
For a 1980s Halloween house party, you really can’t go wrong with Dwayne Johnson’s iconic get-up (you know the one!).
- All you need is blue jeans, black leather belt, black turtleneck, brown fanny pack, and chunky silver chain necklace
- Polish it off with a smirk. (Muscles optional!)
- 80s supermodel: big hair, lush lips, LBD’s
Who doesn’t want to be a supermodel for a night? Models in the 80s had big hair, pouty lips, golden tans, and the best designer fashion on their enviable bodies.
- Find a form-fitting little black dress (see Stephanie Seymour and Linda Evangelista), high pumps, and pop a beauty spot above your lip (a little dash of Cindy Crawford)
- Glam rock: tight pants, big hair
Find inspiration with 1980s bands such as Poison and Kiss, with their fluffy hair, bold makeup, and lots of tight leather.
- Make it cost-effective with faux-leather leggings
- Go the whole 9 yards with a leather codpiece
- Tease your hair with a comb and plenty of hair spray
- Find a YouTube glam-rock tutorial and follow it with a heavy hand
- 80s prom queen: the poofy dress
80s prom queens were there to be seen, with voluminous dresses with drop-waist seams and meringue-like sleeves. For reference, check out the 80s prom flashback scenes of Drew Barrymore in 90s movie ‘Never Been Kissed’.
- Find metallic or sequined dresses with fitted, ruched bodices, puffy sleeves, and asymmetric hemlines
- Wear with matching heels, permed hair worn as a side ponytail, and lots of blush
- 80s businesswoman: the power suit
Be the boss lady of the party! Grace Jones is a great reference for suit-meets-cool. Also check out supermodel Cindy Crawford’s OTT grey shoulder-padded suit, scarf, big earrings, and bold blush.
- Find a monochrome power suit with pencil skirt and blazer with super-wide shoulder pads
- Make it extra chic with a silk scarf tied at the neck
- Go the ‘Working Girl’ route with white sneakers and socks (if you haven’t seen this classic 80s flick, watch it now, please!)
- 80s Vogue cover: bright makeup, bold jewelry, windswept hair
Look through images of 1980s Vogue magazine covers and you’ll notice that they’re all (or mostly) close-ups of women with bright clothing, bold makeup, and windswept hair.
Others have bright, large jewelry (often matchy-matchy with their clothes). 80s vogue covers are brilliant resources to find up-close beauty looks, especially the Cindy Crawford covers.
- Throw on a colorful blouse with shoulder pads, quaff your hair, and do your best matte skin, natural smokey eyes, and shimmery lips
- Don’t forget a faux-Vogue cover selfie session
- Cyndi style: tutus, layers, accessories, bold hair
Cyndi Lauper was the most fun female icon of the 80s, with her bright hair, eclectic fashion, and uplifting music.
- Find an old prom dress with layered skirts, or layer multiple tutus and wear a bustier top or off-the-shoulder tee
- Aim for as many different colors, patterns, and layers as you can manage, and that includes necklaces, bracelets, and anklets
- Tease your hair to the heavens and spray it with the brightest washable hair dye or spray you can find
- Royalty: Princess Di from hat to heels
Take the classy route and turn up to the party with Princess Di energy.
- Pick an iconic look such as the off-shoulder black dress
- Matching bright skirt suits and heels, the pearls, the pillbox hats, or even that infamous see-through skirt, vest, and rolled-up shirt
- The key to the look is the short, swishy haircut, eyeliner, and coy expression
- Hampton’s chic: Ralph Lauren lady
Click through images of Ralph Lauren campaigns from the 1980s and get inspired by the preppy, neutral tones and “wealthy lady in the Hamptons” vibes.
Burberry is also a great reference for a British take on the look.
- Wear camel-colored blazers, silk scarves, tartan skirts, loafers, glossy flowing hair, and nude makeup
- Miami Vice 2020: pastel suits and tees
Revive the pastel suits and tees a la ‘Miami Vice’.
- Find a pale blue suit jacket, white trousers, pink tee, and white leather loafers
- Style with quaffed hair, orange-toned fake tan, and a fake cigarette
- Molly Ringwald thrift-store glam: mix-and-match clothes, sweet makeup
Molly Ringwald’s style in ‘Pretty in Pink’ fits perfectly in 2020, with her boutique-meets-thrift eclectic miss-match of patterns and tones.
- Layer pale tights with a satin dress, embroidered vest, bomber jacket, big earrings, rimmed hat with faux flowers, and layered beaded necklaces
- Keep the hair short and fluffy (if you can), and edit your makeup to be soft, hazy, sweet, and youthful with pinky blush, pink lips, and softly-smudged kohl on the eyes
- Bowie on screen: Jareth from ‘The Labyrinth’
If you’ve never seen ‘The Labyrinth’, watch it ASAP, it’s a classic. Reign supreme at the party with the ultimate Jareth (goblin king) outfit.
- Make a carefully-curated version of the get-up with grey leggings, knee-high boots, a cropped lace-up vest, flouncy blouse, and feathered mullet
- Polish it off with pointy brows, matte skin, pale, angular eyeshadow, and metallic lips
- Highschool throwback: ‘Heathers’, shoulder pads, miniskirts
Relive your youth, grab your girls, and hit the thrift shops for ‘Heather’s’ costumes.
- Find plaid blazers with shoulder pads, pleated skirts, knee-high socks, brooches, and fluffy hair
- Early ‘Saved by the Bell’ episodes are also a treasure trove of 1980s high school fashion inspiration
- Hammer time: drop-crotch harem pants
Guys, looking for a way to show off that cut torso?
- Show up like MC Hammer with drop-crotch baggy pants (preferably metallic), a bare chest, and cropped blazer
- Add dark sunglasses and a chunky chain necklace
- Neon rainbow: neon, legwarmers, rara skirts, side-ponytails
When you’re in a rush but you want to commit to the costume theme, go for general 1980s party-girl style.
- Look for neon colors, tiered skirts, leg warmers, scrunchies, off-the-shoulder tops, layered necklaces, rubber bracelets, side ponytails, and bright, colorful makeup
- Workout king: Richard Simmons, tiny shorts, frizzy wig, tank top
Guys (and girls, if you like!), impress the crowd by committing to being workout legend Richard Simmons for the evening.
- All you need is teeny, tiny striped shorts, a tank top, white trainers, and a curly red wig
- Orange tan optional
- 1980s Mom and Dad: matching bright tracksuits, perms, and trainers
If you’re heading to the party with your guy or gal, dress as the perfect 1980s partners. Think American tourists at the theme park in 1985.
- Search for second-hand matching baggy tracksuits with shiny fabric and bright patterns (you know the ones!)
- Perm (with curlers) your hair and wear chunky white trainers
- Fanny packs and headbands are also welcome