How To Make 80s Clothing

Girl with wig

The 80s were such a colorful era with big hair, big shoulders pads and music that will rock your leg warmers off!  This is the era when MTV (music television) started. Many former pop and rock icons are still in the current music scene. The music, movies and television programs of the 80s are continually being remade and re-imagined for the current generation.

80s fashion was definitely distinct!  It wasn’t only punk and rock a la Cindy Lauper or Billy Idol. It was a whole mix of preppy, punk, acid washed jeans, spiked hair, neon and psychedelic looks. If you are thinking of making your own 80s clothing for a theme party, watch some 80s movies or music videos to get some inspiration.

Let’s Get Physical!  Olivia Newton-John’s song paved the way for sweating it out in the 80s.

  1. Find a brightly (as in neon) colored one-piece bathing suit and wear it over a different neon colored pair of spandex leggings.
  2. Wear a sweatband on your forehead.
  3. Make instant leg warmers by cutting the foot part off a colorful pair of tube socks (a few sizes bigger than your size). Scrunch it around your calves. You can cut several and stack them up your lower leg.

Thrill everyone with a white glove. Michael Jackson’s Thriller jacket, cropped black pants and one white glove definitely screams 80s.

  1. Pants: Look for black tapered pants, the kind that becomes narrow as it reaches your ankle. Or use regular black pants and taper it yourself by sewing the excess fabric. Cut or fold the pants a few inches above your ankle.
  2. White glove: Buy a pair of white gloves and stud it with fake gems.
  3. Thriller jacket: Look in vintage shops or just wear any solid red jacket.
  4. Finish off with Thriller make-up if it is Halloween.

Like a Virgin on the Borderline. The master of reinvention is no other than Madonna!  She has gone through many phases and during the 80s, she wore a lot of lace, mini-skirts, and one-shoulder tops.

  1. Try wearing a denim mini-skirt over leggings.
  2. Top this with an off-the shoulder t-shirt.
  3. Wear a lace glove for the Madonna effect. Just make sure to cut the fingers off.

She’s a maniac!  In the movie Flashdance, Jennifer Beals was a woman welder who definitely had the moves.

  1. Get an oversized t-shirt or sweatshirt (in gray if you want to channel Jennifer Beals).
  2. Cut off the collar and some extra fabric around it. You are going for the one-shoulder look.
  3. Cut off the sleeves, leaving roughly 1 third of the total length.
  4. Wear a tank top or sports bra underneath.

Peppy Preppy. If there were jocks and nerds, there were the preppies, too. This was a popular style for men and women. No preppy will be caught without a sweatshirt tied around his shoulders.

Let the acid reign. Acid washed jeans were popular with the younger set of 80s denizens. Check out thrift stores or turn your dark blue jeans into one by bleaching it.

The 80s were a fun and rebellious time. Look for 80s inspired fashion accessories: big plastic earrings, bangles, beaded necklaces and chains for the rockers and punks. Keds, jelly shoes, high-tops and topsiders were in together with RayBan sunglasses, fingerless glove (for men and women), hats and big hair. It’s fun to dress in 80s fashion so go wild and have a great time!


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