The 1980s unknowingly created a plethora of fancy dress costumes, which we at MorphCostumes simply adore. The decade which is famous for it’s fashion choices, electro pop, new age rock, geometric shapes, and destroying the ozone with lacquers of hairspray to keep big hair in place – all perfect to create 80s Fancy Dress. There are so many brilliant costumes hidden within ten years, you’ll never go wrong!
Ghostbusters, The Terminator, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future, Tim Burton’s Batman (or moreover Jack Nicholson’s characterisation of the Joker), Top Gun, Poltergeist, Beetlejuice, Labyrinth, and the many, many John Hughes movies. These are just a selection of the genre-making films, known as classics today. Each of these films makes for brilliant, eye-catching costumes but there is one that just pips the others to the post.
In a costume store far, far away…
Star Wars Episode V: Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi were released in 1980 and 1983 respectively. These films introduced the trilogy format by introducing Episodes V and VI. This format has been “stolen” by loads of franchises since, such as most Marvel films, the Hunger Games, Back to the Future and so many more. Of course, the sights of Darth Vader and original Stormtrooper costumes are everywhere on Halloween but that’s because Star Wars costumes are awesome! Although, don’t get too tiddly and hit your head off of a low hanging beam or a tree-branch or something, like that one Trooper did in Episode IV…
Any costume from an 80s movie is always a hit, especially Ghostbusters, Beetlejuice and Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie. The best thing about these is that they’re easy to make your own, plus Ghostbuster costumes are all the more relevant right now due to Paul Feig’s remake in 2016.
We at MorphCostumes think that Jack Nicholson’s Joker from the 1989 Batman is a brilliant costume basically because he played the Clown Prince of Crime so well; there’s a reason the character has been brought back into popular culture since 1940 time and time again. The character just asks to be revamped, as seen by the differences in movie interpretations, and it emphasises the madness of the character, furthermore playing into the Three Jokers theory (which is really cool and you can check out here.)
If you want to get some *ahem* ‘female attention’, we would recommend opting for a Raiders of the Lost Ark costume, or a Han Solo costume, or any Harrison Ford costume. He had this charm in the 80s that saw young women go wild, and looking back, he still does. It’ll grab at least one person’s eye if you rock up with that waistcoat and pistol. (Just saying, #HanShotFirst)
The 80s saw music truly come to life and it was beautiful! More genres developed, sub-genres evolved, and music became the spectacle it is known to be today. The 70s had a very large hand in making a community surrounding music, as did the Beatle-mania of the 60s but the 80s is where it became legendary. There are so many great costumes within the world of 80s music alone, not even considering general fashion or cultural trends! So we will talk about a few genres and let’s start with rock. Rock music was transforming during the 80s, it was getting heavier, angrier, more rock and less roll – it grew into rock, glam rock, heavy rock and so on. Each sub-genre had its own very dedicated following usually with its own strong look. Mainstream rock icons were the likes of Tom Petty, Aerosmith and Journey so a great and easy costume is Steve Tyler. We think a really cool Steve Tyler costume could be from the scene in the Walk This Way ft Run DMC music video when Steve Tyler breaks through the wall. The costume would contain the wig, the mic, and the light through the bust-up wall (using cardboard or something similar). Imagine how cool that’d be?!
Heavy metal consisted of the legendary AC/DC, Iron Maiden, and Ozzy Osbourne. Ozzy costumes are pretty common as a result of the Osbourne reality TV-show but dressing up as the creature from the cover of Iron Maiden’s first self-titled album would be INCREDIBLY brilliant. Or any of the creatures from Iron Maiden album covers – all of them would make bloody impressive costumes!
A classic 80s Glam Rock costume is Axl Rose or Slash. Guns’N’Roses costumes are brilliant and they never really get old. These costumes take you down to Paradise City just by wearing them, and you won’t get November Rained on. We can assure you that!
Pop and electro went hand in hand during the 80s, key-tars were in and the keyboard itself was the most important instrument on the stage. Wham!, Madonna, The Pet Shop Boys, Cher and Cyndi Lauper all made the cut for leading pop icons. Madonna’s 80s era is famously elaborate and the most diverse of 80s pop icons, meaning that you can choose any number of her looks to wear for Halloween 2016. You could go with the famous lace-wedding-dress Madonna, androgynous Madonna, or Club-Kid Madonna – there are many, many more options but these are just a few of our favourite options. Everyone knows a Madonna costume so don’t worry about anyone not knowing who you are – just get a scrunchie and 10 cans of hairspray to get your hair all teased and tuggy. Have fun getting that out on November 1st!
Women’s fashion was revolutionised in the 80s with trends popping up again here and there today in mainstream fashion, never mind in costumes. Mom jeans? 80s. Crop tops? 80s. Acid wash denim? 80s. Intense layering? 80s too. The election of Maggie Thatcher saw women launch themselves into roles with more responsibility and wear the pants in the family – literally. Women’s suits were all the rage, equipped with the biggest shoulder pads known to mankind. Androgyny was in, but so were tutus and spandex. Molly Ringwald, Grace Jones, Annie Lennox, Princess Diana, and Madonna were all fashion icons – the range of styles between those few women alone is incredible! The 80s saw the birth of the first truly iconic supermodels too – Cindy Crawford, Iman, Brooke Shields, Elle Macpherson. By combining traditionally feminine pieces with traditionally masculine pieces, you got a cool grungy vibe that the 80s is known for. Jane Fonda paved the way forward for women’s activewear and made the leg warmer the famous 80s icon it is today. Oh and for when the pilates class is on, make sure you have a high-leg leotard over a pair of lycra leggings in the brightest of shades – we think a baby pink leotard and hot-pink leggings would look ravishing on you as a women’s 80s costume. Get Richard Simmons on and get moving! Image Source
Men’s fashion in the 80s went through a metamorphosis. Gender norms had flown out the window (only to be thrown back in over the next two decades), TV shows were the main source of fashion inspiration, and music allowed men to explore their dress sense a bit more. The likes of Boy George, Annie Lennox, the late Prince and Adam Ant made it okay for men to explore their style with makeup, have fun with clothes and truly make their style unique. It was okay to play around with traditionally feminine things and transform them; this freedom to create is partly why the decade is revered so highly. Yeah, Boy George costumes are always fun, but Miami Vice or Magnum PI costumes are even better. On TV or on film in 2016, you’re most likely going to see flashbacks of the 80s where men will be wearing the iconic white suit with the sleeves rolled to the elbow with a pastel coloured t-shirt underneath. This shoulder-padded trend grew to be a signpost for 80s male fashion and has simply stuck. Furthermore, like mentioned before, music created whole new looks which are great for men’s costumes. Big fan of rock? Bruce Springsteen had a brilliant laid-back look throughout the 80s, and any Springsteen costume is so easy! Recreating the Born in the USA album cover is forever a good’un, brilliant for a last minute costume. Just don’t forget the red baseball cap in your back pocket. That part is crucial because otherwise you’re just a guy who couldn’t be bothered dressing up. Lover of hip-hop and being comfortable? MC Hammer pants are made for you! Comfy, roomy and perfect if you’re going out for a big meal; no need to make room for your food baby in these bad boys! Also, if you love zombies and werewolves and the like, Michael Jackson’s Thriller came out in 1984 – no mere mortal can resist the evil of the thriller after all. We are obsessed with zombie costumes so if you do chose to become a creature crawling in search of blood, then take a picture and send it to us. We’d love to pop you up on our Inspiration pages or our social media! Image Source
In general, 80s costumes are vast. There were so many classic films and musicians in their prime during the 80s that it’s pretty much anything goes. Choose a film from the 80s and cosplay the main character (any John Hughes costume will be a hit). Choose your favourite musician from the 80s and get a costume inspired by one of their videos, or an actor, or a tv show, or a kids’ cartoon. No matter what, 80s fancy dress is classic for a reason. You’ll never get anyone asking what decade you’re from when dressing up in 80s garb. You’re sorted.
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