Costumes, Make Up, and Halloween-related DIY's and Tutorials.
So a little while ago, there was a request to expand upon the costume possibilities for subcultures between 1980 through the present. I know quite a bit about subculture, which is both a help and a hindrance in this case. It made me realize just how massive an amount of possibilities there really are. So instead of going into detail about EVERY SINGLE ONE, I’m going to highlight the big three, and then point you in the right direction from there.
New Romantics (or, Early Goth)
Like basically all 80’s subcultures, New Romantics started with people moving out of the 70’s glam and punk scenes. Elements of their style were borrowed from English Romanticism, Sci-Fi movies, and leftovers from their old punk and glam wardrobes. Both men and women wore heavy eyeliner and lipstick. Hairstyles involved heavily back-combed quiffs, or mullets with a hefty spray of Aquanet. Clothing was dark and dramatic, with frills and lace, huge collars and tight, shiny pants. Simply put: If you look like a dead space pirate, you’re on the right track. Style icons of this scene include: Adam Ant, Boy George, David Bowie, and Duran Duran.
In the 90’s - 00’s, New Romanticism gave way to these scenes:
Punk didn’t die in the 80’s, it just branched out in a million directions. However, basic stylistic elements remained the same. Old band T-shirts (or DIY Sharpied band t-shirts), leather or denim jackets and vests, ripped up jeans, and Doc Martens or combat boots. Accessorize with patches, studs, safety pins, and spikes on everything. Hairstyles included the ever-popular mohawk, liberty spikes, and (come the late 80’s) the devilock. All of which were bleached and dyed the brightest color you could handle. For celebrity style inspiration, see: The Sex Pistols, Billy Idol, and The Misfits.
In the 90’s-00’s, Punk gave way to these scenes:
Even though it is now one of the most prevalent subcultures in the world, I have to admit - I don’t know fuck all about hip hop culture. So what I’m about to describe is only based on me having lived through the late 80’s - 90’s and seeing it on TV. Suggestions and corrections are welcome! Anyway, from what I remember, early hip hop/rap fashion consisted of tracksuits, parachute pants, and bomber jackets. Fancy Nike and ADIDAS sneakers with fat laces, giant gold chains, and huge hoop earrings for the ladies. Hairstyles included the Jheri curl and high-top fade. For early hip hop style inspiration, see: Run DMC, Will Smith (in the 80’s and 90’s), and TLC.
In the 90’s - 00’s, Early Hip Hop gave way to:
Post year 2000, there has been TONS of splinter genres off of these main groups. Detailing all of them would be enough to fill up it’s own blog. However, if there’s one scene in particular you’re out to masquerade as, I suggest you visit this site:
It’s meant to be a parody of all the obscure subgenres that we have nowadays, but it’s actually incredibly accurate costume-wise! Just in case you get invited to a crusty punk show or a steampunk fair or a hipster craft group, you’ll know exactly how to dress :)
jack-o-lantern-night asked: I really enjoyed reading your "historical Accuracy" post. If you could make one about subculture from the 80's on (up to the hipsters of today I suppose), I'd really like that. Thank you!!!
Thanks, I’m glad you liked it! I can definitely do a subculture post for you. It’ll probably take me a few days to put together, but keep watching, it’ll get posted.
Because my biggest pet peeve as a costume-maker is when someone says, “I need a 70’s costume…like a hippie!” Here’s a list of fashion trends throughout the 1900’s:
1900-1918: Edwardian Fashion
Women: Long dresses with puffy chests and sleeves. Huge hats with feathers. Think Rose from Titanic.
Men: Three-piece suits and ties, mostly in black or navy. Brass buttons. Top hats or bowlers. Think Theodore Roosevelt.
1920’s: Prohibition/Silent Film Era
Women: Flapper style dresses, fur coats, bob haircuts, and cloche hats
Men: “Gangster” fitted pinstriped suits, fedoras, neckties or bowties
1930’s: Depression Era
Honestly, there wasn’t a lot going on fashion-wise in the 30’s. People had more important things to worry about (Y’know, like being dead broke and jobless). However, if for some reason you’ve picked the 1930’s as your era, maybe try the “Dilapidated Housewife” or “Man Desperate For A Job” look.
Women: The 40’s saw an explosion of popularity for the Pin-Up Girl. Anything military or patriotic. Pin-curls and victory rolls in your hair. Also, working-women’s fashion (think Rosie The Riveter), since women were often working in factories during this time.
Men: Since most men were drafted into the military, it’s safe to say that they were mostly in uniform. US Army uniform consisted of olive green shirt, pants, overcoat, and combat boots
1950’s: Teddy Boys/Teddy Girls
Women: Poodle skirts, ponytails, neck scarves, bobby socks and saddle shoes.
Men: Think Elvis. Long suit-jackets, white tee shirts, pants short enough to show off your socks, creepers, leather jackets and pompadours.
Unisex: Beatniks, the counter-culture of the 1950’s. Turtlenecks, sunglasses, and berets.
1960’s: Hippie/Mod Era
Women: Early 60’s Mod look - sleeveless mini-dresses in bright colors and patterns, go-go boots, short, neat hairstyles. Late 60’s hippie look - Bellbottoms, tye-dye, headbands, peasant tops, sandals.
Men: Early 60’s Mod - Crushed velvet suits, frilly shirts (think Austin Powers), longer hair. Late 60’s Hippie - Bellbottoms, tye-dye, sandals, even longer hair
Women: Jumpsuits, leotards, crop tops and tube tops - anything in spandex or polyester. The shinier the better. Platform shoes, winged “Charlie’s Angels” hairstyles.
Men: Brightly colored three piece suits with huge collars. Jumpsuits - like Ziggy Stardust era David Bowie - anything shiny and outer-space like. Mullets were in. So were afro’s and creepy mustaches.
1980’s: Bright Colors
The 80’s saw an explosion of different subcultures, which would take me forever to describe. So I’m just going with a mainstream 80’s costume here. I can expand on 80’s punk, goth, and hip-hop in another post if requested.
Women: Neon colored everything. Mix and match wide-necked sweat shirts, leotards, leggings, and leg warmers. Big hair - teased and crimped. Put a scrunchie in it. Accessorize with jelly bracelets and crazy colored earrings.
Men: Parachute pants, overalls, sweatshirts with colored turtleneck underneath. Also, Miami Vice style - light colored suit jackets with colored t-shirts underneath. Members Only jackets. Mullet haircuts, or messy hair with lots of volume.
1990’s: The Rise Of Grunge
Again, the 90’s had a ton of different fashion trends, but one of the most influential was grunge and minimalist/hippie revival. The early 90’s still had the bright color fashions of the 80’s, and the ‘98-‘99 end led us into the popularization of hip-hop fashion, but the mid-nineties were as follows:
Women: Reemergence of hippie styles - flowing dresses, floral patterns, light-wash jeans, belly-baring tops. Wedge shoes and “The Rachel” completed the look.
Men: Flannel shirts, light-wash jeans, baseball caps, and overalls. Shaggy hair, or the always fashionable bowl cut.
So there you have it, the last century in fashion trends. If you need costume advice beyond 1999, you’re probably too young to be reading this blog. Enjoy!
*Also, my apologies for the terrible picture formatting*