1980s

Pizzazz from Jem and the Holograms

In Jem and the Holograms, Pizzazz (real name Phyllis Margaret Gabor, which she can’t stand) is the main vocalist and guitarist of the rock band The Misfits. She dresses in classic 1980s garb, with neon green, hot pink, and animal print from head to toe. She wants fame above all else, and harbors jealousy towards Jem.

Angela from Stranger Things

Angela (played by Elodie Grace Orkin) is a minor antagonist in the fourth season of Stranger Things.  A bully who picks on “Jane” at her new school in California, Angela has all the hallmarks of a stereotypical mean girl; pretty, popular, and cruel.  There are two costumes you could choose to recreate for her–the pink outfit she wears at school or the one she wears to the roller rink.  The first consists of a bleached denim skirt, pink and white striped blouse, pink beaded earrings and necklace, as well as scrunched-up white socks and white keds.  At the rink, she wears a teal bodysuit with pink shimmery shorts, multicolor star earrings, and a set of holographic bracelets.  You can use a blouse instead of a bodysuit, but may want to pin the hem to the inside of your shorts to make it look more fitted.  If you want to go as Angela after Jane takes her revenge with a roller skate, don’t forget a little blood gel to complete the look.

Robert Palmer Girls

Robert Palmer Girls from “Addicted to Love”

One of the most iconic music videos on MTV in the 1980s was Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love”. Behind Palmer stands a quintet of beautiful women in sheer black dresses and bright red lipstick. Even while grooving to the song, they keep stoic facial expressions.

Janine Melnitz from Ghostbusters

Janine Melnitz from Ghostbusters

Janine Melnitz is the inexplicably loyal – if somewhat exasperated – receptionist for the Ghostbusters, played by the ever-memorable Annie Potts. She put herself between the Ghostbusters and a possessed Louis Tully, not to mention the Ghostbusters and the EPA. She does a kind of busting all her own and her distinctly ’80s outfits would make a great cosplay.

Janine’s outfit is quintessential ’80s. A short brown wig, large glasses on a red cord, a red button down, black skirt, black tights, and simple black heels all say ’80s office worker. The look is wrapped up by a sleeveless shrug in grey that you’ll need to add black stripes to using black fabric markers.

ali mills from the karate kid

Ali Mills from The Karate Kid

Ali Mills (played by Elisabeth Shue) is a main character in the 1984 movie The Karate Kid.  Ali befriends Daniel LaRusso as he trains for the All-Valley Karate Championships under Mr. Miyagi.  A popular and stylish girl, Ali wears a number of 80s-inspired outfits throughout the film.  If you can’t find the exact pieces to match her costuming, be sure to focus on the colors and silhouettes; she often wears bold colors but in more pastel shades than many might associate with the decade’s fashions.

Flash Gordon

Flash Gordon

A football player isn’t the most likely interplanetary hero. But he might just be the one Earth needs with Ming the Merciless pushes the moon closer to our planet in an attempt to destroy it. Thankfully Dr, Zarkov finds Flash Gordon (played by Sam J. Jones) and takes him to the planet Mongo to save all of humankind!

It might sound like a stretch. But, hey, it was the ’80s. And it makes for a really great closet cosplay.

You’ll want to start with a blonde wig, tan slacks, a brown leather belt, and white sneakers. After that all you need is the signature Flash Gordon t-shirt and you’re ready to save the galaxy!

Star from The Lost Boys

Star from The Lost Boys

The movie might have been titled The Lost Boys but Jami Gertz stole every scene as the vampire coven’s one woman, Star. She looks after Laddie and is supposed to be with David. That is until Michael comes along and changes everything.

Star’s look is one that was popular with certain groups in the ’80s. She wears her long dark curls loose and opts for a flowing maxi skirt and simple tank top to combat the California heat. Her sandals aren’t ideal for the motorcycle rides her coven is fond of but she makes them work. With her shawl, jingling belt, and stack of bracelets, she is a lowkey beauty on the boardwalk.

Axel Foley from Beverly Hills Cop

Axel Foley from Beverly Hills Cop

Eddie Murphy has been a household name for decades. And one of the roles that cemented his status was Axel Foley in 1984’s Beverly Hills Cop. Murphy brought his usual charm and charisma to a character who could have easily been made bitter by everything he has to face. But when justice for his friend on the line, Murphy’s humor just keeps Foley going and made viewers everywhere root for him.

Because Foley knows his job is an active one, he tends to keep things casual. A pair of trainers, jeans, a grey pullover sweatshirt, a letterman’s jacket, watch, and a pair of sunglasses make up the bulk of his look. For Foley’s jacket you can either go for a generic Letterman’s coat or you can get a replica, depending on the investment you want to make. Then grab your badge, gun, and holster and you’re ready to solve your own case!

Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac

Stevie Nicks from Fleetwood Mac

The band Fleetwood Mac’s lineup has gone through multiple changes since its bluesy beginnings in the 1960s, but their most recognizable sound is thanks in part to the musical contributions of Stevie Nicks and her songwriting partner (then romantic partner as well), Lindsey Buckingham. Flowing black dresses, shawls themed after her hit songs, and extremely high-heeled boots are practically synonymous with Stevie Nicks’ stage presence.

Madonna (1980s Virgin Tour)

Madonna from The Virgin Tour

From the start of her decades-long career of pop stardom, Madonna embraced a scandalous, envelope-pushing image. As tame as it looks through modern eyes, Madonna’s penchant for wearing cropped tops, short skirts, and singing about “sensitive” topics like virginity raised eyebrows in the 1980s. She unabashedly titled her debut concert tour The Virgin Tour, and wore this lacy, white getup consistent that turned the culturally traditional bridal aesthetic completely on its head.