Costumes for Murder Mystery Games set in the 1980s

The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.
— Robert Harling
Murder Mystery Games Logo

1980s Icons

Madonna. Alexis Carrington. Del Boy Trotter. Jane Fonda. Jerry Hall. Marie Helvin. Iman. Grace Jones. Boy George. Paula Yates. Princess Di. Michael Jackson. Prince. Adam Ant. Don Johnson. Simon Le Bon. M.C. Hammer.

A time for decadence, confidence, celebration, style tribes and style wars. New Romantics. Sloanes. Goths. Power dressers. Rappers. Ravers. Fetishists.

Among the highlights/lowest depths (it’s subjective):

  • Neon colours, giant earrings, ra-ra skirts, deely boppers. Nothing ever knowingly understated.
  • The shoulder pads, big hair and power suits of the Dynasty and Thatcher wannabes.
  • The leggings, leg warmers, lycra, dancewear, scrunchies, trainers and headbands which let women tell everyone “I go to the gym”, even when they don’t.
  • Dungarees, boiler suits and slogan T-shirts which make clothes a form of protest and an act of liberation.
  • Big coats and big sweaters over tight, short skirts. Anything goes or just not sure about the weather?
  • The Sloane-meets-country Princess Di effect. Piecrust blouses, pearls, lace, tweed, pumps, plain skirts.
  • Other style choices:
  • Mules. Bolero jackets. Parachute pants. .

Costumes for Men in the 1980s

After punk’s sneery anarchism, the New Romantics do something different. They ignore all the Bad Things in Life - and decide to Have Fun. They are kids let loose in a theatre props box. Pirates. Highwaymen. Bolero hats and frilly sleeves.

As with women’s fashion, new male style tribes are emerging. To name a few:

  • Goths (thick black layers, thick white face paint, crucifixes, that semi-embalmed look which shows how sensitive and artistic you are).
  • Rappers (gold chains, baseball caps, gangsta gear, string vests, parachute pants big enough to catch fish with).
  • Yuppies (braces, padded shoulders, big phones, double-breasted jackets, pin stripes, polo shirts, neutral colours).
  • Headbangers (chains, black t-shirts, studded leather jackets, black jeans).
  • Imitation Athletes (Shell suits. Sweatshirts. Nike trainers. Fred Perry shirts. John McEnroe headbands).
  • Miami Vice T-shirts and jackets. The Brideshead Revisited English Country Gent look, helped along by Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. 

Murder Mystery Games that can be set in the Eighties

Other Costume Eras