How to Dress for an Eighties Party

I've known for a long time that my friend's 40th birthday bash was going to be a Big Deal, but I had no idea how much until we received the invitation. It contained a big F Bomb -- Fashion Bomb, that is -- it was an Eighties Party, which basically upped the ante for the guests; instead of just showing up, we had to get in the spirit and come up with an 80's costume.

Now, I am the Queen of all Dressing Up (see any October/Halloween post I've ever done), so the 80's theme was great news. The 80's are my element -- all I needed to do for inspiration was look in my high school photo album and listen to the music on my iPod -- and I knew I could put together a Madonna-style outfit without breaking a sweat.

Cut-up shirt, miniskirt, fishnet stockings, leg warmers, heels, side ponytail, neon pink earrings, fingerless gloves, crucifix bling. Easy peasy.

But the dress-up element threw Alfie for a loop. I haven't quite managed to convince him that dressing up is fun, or that he won't feel ridiculous if everyone else looks ridiculous along with him. To make things worse, he hates 80's music and fashion, so he couldn't really get too excited about it. And it's not like you can rustle up a genuine male 80's outfit from your closet (unless of course you live in a trailer park). Do you know how many 80's costumes there are for men in your local costume store? None. Maybe a rocker wig or a mullet, a Michael Jackson outfit if you're lucky. I searched for weeks to find a good outfit (I must have hit every Goodwill store within a 20-mile radius from our home, searching for a Miami Vice white jacket or acid-wash jeans), and Alfie must have changed his mind about a dozen times. In the end he decided on an 80's rocker look, with acid-washed jeans and big, poufy hair.

I was spraying bleach on these jeans about 3 hours before the party. I used so much bleach, I'm surprised Alfie's legs didn't fizzle away along with the denim. And in case you didn't know, that hair is not his. No way I would marry a guy with big, curly mullet hair!

I think we did okay in the costume department. But as much as I enjoyed putting together our outfits, seeing what other people came up with was even more enjoyable! We saw some great outfits, and just in case you need an 80's costume idea -- or a good laugh -- I'm sharing them here with you:

Men can pretty much put on a mullet wig and claim they're in an 80's costume, but frankly, I think that's kind of lame. To be truly in the (80's) zone, you need to put in a bit more effort, and I loved seeing all the effort that showed up at my friend's party. I do think Alfie was one of the male standouts, with his long, flowing locks, but there were quite a few other creative male outfits:

* Don Johnson in Miami Vice (white suit with pastel colored tshirt)
* Larry Bird (complete with #33 jersey and caterpillar mustache)
* Preppy boy (pastel Lacoste or Izod shirt with upturned collar, white sweater draped across the shoulders, khaki shorts or chinos with rolled-up pant legs, loafers without socks, wayfarers)
* Beat boxer -- neon colored shirt, baggy pants, Converse hi-tops or Vans sneakers, Sony Walkman (yes, the real thing! He must have a big attic to be keeping stuff like that).

As I expected, we saw every variation of Madonna imaginable, from her grungy Suddenly Seeking Susan look to her corseted Like A Virgin lace getup to her sleek Vogue look with headset microphone and cone bra. And since the 80's look is creeping back into fashion, I wasn't surprised to see loose belted shirts, skintight jeans and heels. But I should have known that Girls Just Wanna Have Fun -- I was amazed at the other kinds of outfits my fellow females came up with! No detail was spared, from shiny blue eyeshadow to teased hair to lace gloves (fingerless, naturally) to Swatch watches.

* Krystle Carrington.
* Any and every variation of the hideous Gunne Sax prom dress and white, low-heeled shoes (the birthday girl even had a gigantic wrist corsage!).
* Acid washed jeans skirt and jacket.
* Shoulder-padded dresses and fringed, stiletto-heeled cowboy boots.
* Flashdancers (off-the shoulder shirts, leggings -- some were neon! -- and legwarmers).

The winning outfits for male and female would have to go to the Jane Fonda aerobicizers. "Jane Fonda" wore a headband across her forehead, wristbands, a thong leotard and shiny lycra tights (I couldn't wear that even in the 80's!). Her male counterpart wore exactly the same thing, except instead of a leotard he sported a midriff shirt with cutoff sleeves. It was absolutely horrific, and absolutely brilliant! Or should I say, totally rad....

Can anyone think of any other 80's outfit I need to add to this list?


Anonymous said...

Wow! an eighties party theme sounds cool :)
Thank you for sharing all those tips and tricks :)

Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama said...

You and Alfie look awesome and a total departure from your super chic self! I think you are missing an arm full of jelly bracelets though! Perhaps you could substitute Silly Bandz in a pinch! Hope you got your Vogue on and had a great time!

JJ said...

I love this We are having an eighties themed Zumba class for Halloween and I being a 90s girl was not into the 80s look til I read this post I have gotten some great ideas thank you!

PS Before all I could think of was my exersize barbie doll HAHA I dont think so!