4 Ways to Dress Like an '80s Rocker

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4 Ways to Dress Like an '80s Rocker
4 Ways to Dress Like an '80s Rocker

If you want to have a creepy style or just be more rocker in everyday life, get ready for fun. Excess was the watchword for the eighties rocker. The artists of the decade are remembered not only for their amazing music, but for their huge hairstyles, tight clothes and lush accessories. You can follow the classic rock side, more sober, or glam metal, much more flashy. No matter what style you choose, your look won't be complete without that firm, resolute rockstar attitude.


Method 1 of 4: Creating a Rocker Look

Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 1

Step 1. Wear ripped skinny jeans in a black or faded wash

To be really bold, look for a pair of pants with tears in the knees or vertical tears. Prioritize very tight models.

  • Skinny pants are still in vogue today. You can take your old pieces from the bottom of the trunk or buy a new pair at a store, but keep in mind that the stretchy jeans you wear today are quite different from what you wore in the 80s.
  • If you want to be more authentic, buy vintage pants at a thrift store.
Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 2

Step 2. Wear the shirt of your favorite band at the time

Rock stars are rarely seen wearing their own bands' T-shirts, but this is the way ordinary people show affection for musical styles. Provide a black and logo-embossed t-shirt from outfits like Iron Maiden or AC/DC. A brand-new, unharmed T-shirt doesn't have the same effect as an old, worn-out T-shirt.

  • Ideally, the print should have a slightly faded appearance and be in colors such as bright red or navy blue.
  • Only wear t-shirts from bands you love, as people can use your t-shirt to make conversation.
  • You can also wear an unpatterned white, gray or black t-shirt. But the lack of prints needs to be compensated with other rocker pieces and accessories.
Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 3

Step 3. Overlay a leather jacket or denim vest over your shirt

Look at the thrift store for a worn leather jacket with an interesting cut: big shoulders, tapered waist and decorated with chrome zippers and rivets in the lapels. The vest, which can be leather or faded jeans, is a lighter option.

  • Customize your denim vest with patches and buttons.
  • Put it on the back of your jacket or collect a large patch related to your musical tastes.
  • A good idea for women is to apply tulle or lace in leather clothes or jeans, as Cindy Lauper and Madonna did.
Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 4

Step 4. Finish off the rocker look with a pair of chunky black leather boots

They'd better be bold and worn, with misaligned shoelaces, beaten leather, and heavy buckles.

  • If the style you are looking for is more up-to-date and contemporary, wear black leather boots.
  • Avoid wearing sneakers in conjunction with your rocker clothes.
Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 5

Step 5. Wear chunky silver jewelry

Extravagance marked the fashion of the time. Wear leather goods with thick rivets and chains, stack bracelets of different designs on your arms, and don't be afraid to wear bold necklaces, rivet belts or even wrap chains around your neck, wrists or waist. You can also wear heavy metal rings and a hoop earring in just one ear.

  • To be true to eighties rock, choose chrome or silver jewelry. Avoid any golden accessories or details.
  • Give preference to accessories with the recurrent images of the time: skulls, snakes, crosses, roses. A snake ring or a skull pendant is infallible.

Method 2 of 4: Creating a Glam Metal Look

Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 6

Step 1. Use light or saturated colors

Ripped skinny pants and old band shirts are also important in glam rock, but use light washes and shades of gray. It was common for rockers to wear a white T-shirt with faded jeans. Or use pink, yellow, or blue pieces in saturated or fluorescent tones.

  • An all-black look with colorful accents would also be a good option.
  • Likewise, you can wear white or bright colors from head to toe.
Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 7

Step 2. Be glamorous with bold prints and stretch fabrics

Black and white patterns, colored stripes, diamonds, and tiger or leopard fur are great print ideas, and can play a big or small part in your look. To give yourself to the glam of body and soul, wear tight spandex pieces with these prints.

  • The style of some eighties rockers came close to the circus. Don't be afraid to look eccentric!
  • Remember the scandalous overalls of Freddie Mercury, leader of Queen, and the spandex pants of the glam metal stars.
  • Glam metal is derived from glam rock, which emerged in the 70s.
Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 8

Step 3. Create dynamism with shine and fringes

Sequins, glitter and silver materials were essential to glam metal. The same can be said of the leather fringes, so representative of the American influence on the culture of the time.

  • The glow attracts the eye with the light, while the fringes shake, emphasizing the movements. These elements are, in part, what makes the Eighties style so interesting.
  • If you want a more historic feel, provide pieces with the metallic brocade and ruffles Prince and Adam Ant used.
Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 9

Step 4. Create layers with large jackets or blazers

Not every '80s star wore leather jackets. Your look can be topped off with a baggy blazer in a garish or pastel color and huge shoulder pads, à la Miami Vice. Or arrange for a flashy metallic windbreak jacket.

Put the jacket on over a T-shirt with a big V-neck that exposes your chest, like the rock stars of old

Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 10

Step 5. Finish with sturdy-soled boots

Platform-soled boots reached men's clothing in the 1970s and survived into the 1980s. You don't need to have any modesty: provide a pair of colored or metallic toned boots or black boots that have a bold shape.

  • If you want to lean more American-style, wear cowboy boots.
  • Look for an authentic pair of '80s shoes at thrift stores and vintage boutiques. There are also some contemporary brands that faithfully reproduce the shoes of the time.

Method 3 of 4: Hair and Makeup

Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 11

Step 1. If your hair is long, shred and curl it until it resembles a lion's mane

'80s style doesn't reproduce without the right hairstyle - glam rock glamor has to come from somewhere after all. Make your hairstyle in order to make your hair as voluminous and armed as possible. Curl, crimp or comb your hair for texture. Wear it at shoulder height or longer. Cut a layered, chopped cut into the crown and fringe for that lion's mane-like look. Keep the hairstyle in place with hairspray and volume spray.

  • Being androgynous, glam rock artists used to shave, but some left the stubble unshaven or even wore it full.
  • Don't let your hair run out, or you'll be mistaken for a seventies rocker.
Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 12

Step 2. If your hair is short, have it shredded or spiky

You can shred it just near the roots and keep it skewered on top and sides of the head with ointment or hairspray. It would be interesting to grow mullets. Consider spiking only a few strands in front of your head if your hair is short at the back of your head.

  • Short or medium-length hairstyles can be inspired by the hairstyles of Rod Stewart and the members of A Flock of Seagulls.
  • Short hair was a rarity among male rockers. If you don't want to grow your hair, you can reproduce the eighties hairstyles with wigs.
  • Women can bet on Madonna's curly and bulky look.
Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 13

Step 3. Finish the hairstyle with a blue or red cashmere-print headband

The item would go well with a frayed denim vest, a combination immortalized by Bruce Springsteen. If you want to be more glam, wear a brightly colored or leopard print headband. Tie it to cover your forehead and make your hair stand up.

  • Very popular item at the time, the bandana was not only worn on the head. You can try wrapping it around your arm, for example.
  • The traditional headband goes great with aviator glasses.
Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 14

Step 4. Use a touch of black eyeliner or heavy makeup

Makeup is essential for any self-respecting eighties rocker. You can be conservative and limit yourself to framing your eyes with a little black pencil or eyeliner, or you can be glam and go for heavy, androgynous makeup. Sculpt your cheekbones with bronzing powder and blush, use eye shadow in some garish color, and highlight your lips with dark lipstick.

  • Or paint your face with Kiss members' theatrical black and white makeup.
  • Unlike what happened in the previous decade, makeup was used not to erase the barrier between the sexes, but only as a means of expression.
Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 15

Step 5. paint your nails with black nail polish.

Enamel was used by both male and female rockers. Keep your nails short and apply two or three coats of opaque black nail polish. Wear fingerless gloves if you want to be even more rebellious.

Don't worry if the nail polish peels off a little - this gives off a stripped down look and suggests you've been playing a lot of guitar

Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 16

Step 6. Create a tough look with permanent or temporary tattoos

Many musicians of the time covered themselves with tattoos. Make use of temporary tattoos if you want to recreate the style for just one night, or permanent tattoos if your commitment to rock is lifelong. Your chest, neck, and fingers are great places to get a tattoo, and an even better idea would be to close your arms.

Tattoo yourself with images alluding to the rock of that decade: skulls, roses, crosses or drawings inspired by song lyrics

Method 4 of 4: Getting Inspired

Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 17

Step 1. Customize your style based on a specific band or subgenre

The music at the time was very varied! Try to remember your favorite artists and bands. What was their style? Do you identify more with heavy rock or glam? There is no clear-cut barrier between the many strands of rock 'n' roll, but to be more authentic, its style should be limited to a specific artist or subgenre.

  • AC/DC, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses and Def Leppard are some of the most famous rock bands of the time.
  • Mötley Crüe, Poison, Bon Jovi, Ratt, White Snake, Twisted Sister and the like were glam rock.
  • Female singers and groups led by women were also very common; namely: Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, Pat Benatar, Heart, Tina Turner, Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett, Eurythmics.
Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 18

Step 2. Look for photographs, interviews and concert recordings of the chosen artist

Also search in period magazines if you can. Study essays and candid photos he has taken for magazines, taking note of the types of pieces and accessories he uses, as well as the predominant colors and textures.

  • Gather a large amount of images to estimate whether the artist's style has changed frequently or has remained cohesive throughout his career.
  • Many artists of the time started their careers in the previous decades and continued active in the following ones. To better understand the 80s, it's important to study only their style during this period.
Dress Like an 80's Rocker Step 19

Step 3. Decide between recreating specific costumes or composing your own style

If your inspiration is a specific artist or costume, provide the necessary items to imitate them. Or you can get a general sense of the type of clothing your favorite artists wore and incorporate that into your style.

  • Once you know what you need, rummage through your wardrobe looking for items you can enjoy. Then buy what you need at thrift stores and boutiques.
  • Some pieces you might need to make at home. Dust your sewing box or recruit a good dressmaker to help you with this.

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