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Top 5 80s Fancy Dress Ideas


When we think back to the fashions of the 1980s it is often with an equal mixture of fondness and cringe-inducing horror. However, this era is remembered so fondly that it makes a great basis for a themed party. There's a whole host of fun costumes to create so here's our guide to five of the best 80s fancy dress ideas to try.

5. 80s fancy dress ideas: Musical movers

80s Fancy Dress

Popular figures from the world of music are great for 80s fancy dress. This era brought us some truly colourful characters so creating a distinctive costumer is easy. Madonna is an obvious choice for women. To capture her style, wear lace gloves, plenty of bangles and a leather jacket over a puffball skirt. Team with a blond wig, bright red lipstick and paint on a beauty spot.

Cyndi Lauper and Toyah Willcox are other great options - thrown on a rainbow punk wig for a simple 80s fancy dress costume. There are plenty of musical icons for boys to choose from too. Adam Ant's unique look is easy to achieve with a military style jacket, long boots, ponytail wig and some stripes across the face.


Michael Jackson is easy to imitate with a leather suit and wig, while a thick moustache and slicked-back hair is the key to a successful Freddie Mercury impression. Alternatively a smart suit, hair combed over to one side and a touch of eyeliner and lip-gloss will give you the perfect New Romantic look.

4. 80s fancy dress: Sporting legends


The world of sport provides some great fancy dress opportunities. Tennis whites, a racquet and a sweat band are perfect for Bjorn Borg while the addition of a dark curly wig easily transforms this costume into John McEnroe.


Ian Botham is a simple costume to pull together with white trousers and a jumper, a mullet wig and generous moustache. Footballer Kevin Keegan's distinctive perm is easy to recreate with a curly wig, teamed with a football strip or shell suit.

A tennis dress, racquet and glasses would be a simple Martina Navratilova costume while ice skaters Torvill and Dean would make a great option for couples' fancy dress.

3. 80s fancy dress: Film heroes


A great deal of 80s fancy dress is centred on the films of the era, many of which have since gained cult status. One of the biggest films of the decade was Top Gun. A white T-shirt, aviation-style suit and large sunglasses are all that's needed to pull off this look - together with a whole lot of attitude.

Ghostbusters is a firm favourite that lends itself especially well to fancy dress, the costume is comfortable and easy to wear, buy a costume with a brown boiler suit and Proton Pack or use a backpack and a length of hose to create your very own. This is a party classic, especially at Halloween.


For something even creepier, a black and white striped suit teamed with ghoulish make up and a frizzy white wig are the key to the perfect Beetlejuice costume.

The other big trend in 1980s cinema was the dance movie. Legwarmers, tights, neon vests and headbands will help you create costumes from iconic films such as Dirty Dancing and Flashdance.

2. 80s fancy dress: Comic characters


Superman and Batman were iconic figures popularised by comics and film in the 1980s. A colourful cape, tight-fitting bodysuit and the obligatory underpants are all you need for a Superman outfit while a mask and some toy gadgets will make your Batman costume complete. Other heroic options include He-Man and She-Ra, both popular children's favourites in the 1980s.

1. 80s fancy dress: Television giants


The characters in 1980s television programmes were larger than life. The Miami Vice look is easy to recreate with a pale suit with the sleeves rolled up, teamed with sunglasses and a pastel T-shirt.


Saturday night favourite the A-Team offers a wealth of dressing up opportunities, from a vest and lots of gold jewellery for Mr T to a flak jacket, fatigues, sunglasses and cigar for Hannibal.

Cult show Baywatch is the inspiration for an easy summertime 80s or 90s costume, just requiring a red swimsuit and float. Dallas and Dynasty were two of the biggest shows of the decade. Stetsons and cowboy boots make simple costumes for men while glamorous cocktail dresses complete with large shoulder pads, big hair and plenty of gaudy jewellery is an easy female option.


A sheepskin coat, cigar and flat cap are essentials for any Del Boy wannabe. For Rodney, all you need is a pair of jeans and a camouflage jacket.

The 1980s offers a huge choice of different options for 80s fancy dress, from cool and colourful to the comic and quirky!


Which 80s inspired look will you pick?

Elliotts Fancy Dress