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How to Create an 80s Punk Costume

80s Punk Man and Woman
Punk Costumes at Amazon UK
Creating a 1970s or early 80s punk look for both men and women is a whole lot of fun, and there are very many different punk styles you can opt for. Punk is about breaking the rules, and this also applies to punk fashion. You can mix and match different punk rock subgenres to create a style all of your own making.



Red Tartan

British punks shoved their middle finger up to the establishment by wearing Royal Stewart, which was synonymous with the upper crust and royalty. Tartan was worn in the form of shirts, skinny jeans, mini skirts, tutu skirts, dresses and jackets, Tartan bondage pants with lots of zips became very popular. You can also add tartan patches or strips to a denim jacket.

The following searches will display an extensive range of tartan and other punk trousers for both men and women. However, as tartan is more synonymous with British punks, the range of products is bigger at the UK store.

Punk Trousers at Amazon UK

Punk Pants at Amazon.com

For a skinhead (heavy mod) style wear tartan braces over a tipped polo shirt, with drainpipe jeans with turn-ups and cherry red Dr. Marten boots. Add a Harrington bomber jacket in colder weather.

Bondage Pants
Red and blue plaid tartan bondage pants
Red and Blue Tartan Bondage Pants

This pair of bondage skinny pants is a popular seller through my website simplyeighties.com. They are available from Tiger of London at Amazon UK. Sadly, they are not available in the U.S.

The store features a wide range of punk and gith clothing products including bondage pants, boots, studs, T-shirts etc. There are also some non-punk items, too. They're certainly well worth a visit.

Sid n' Nancy Ex Army Shirt by Tiger of London
Also at the store, you will find a wonderful range of other punk clothing and accessories including skirts, skinny pants, jackets and studs. The Sid n Nancy jacket shirt above is £12.99 as I write, with £1.99 delivery. This is subject to change, of course.

Hell Bunny Red Tartan Mini Skirt with Buckles

Tartan Skirts

Other styles and colours of plaid tartan also became popular. A fantastic source for punk and gothic tartan skirts and dresses is Hell Bunny at Amazon. You'll find around 60 tartan products to choose from at the British store, although in the U.S. the range isn't quite as extensive. As you will see, some of the skirts feature a punk-influenced bondage theme with buckles and zips.

Hell Bunny Tartan Clothing at Amazon UK

Hell Bunny Tartan Clothing at Amazon.com

Fishnet/Mesh Top

Mesh vest tops can be worn by both men and women. If your female, then to enhance your punk look add fingerless fishnet gloves and/or ripped fishnet stockings/tights.

80s punk girl wearing black fishnet top
Black Fishnet Top
The link above is for the UK, but you can also find a range of Fishnet Tops at Amazon.com in the U.S.

Slashed Skinny Leggings
Cut Out Punk Leggings UK
An alternative to fishnet tights are these cut out leggings which are also available in the US.

Black Leather

This was another popular choice of material in the form of motorcycle jackets, leather trousers and mini skirts. Of course, by far the cheapest option is faux leather, and this is especially useful if you are opposed to the use of real leather products.
Faux Leather Motorcycle Jacket
Finejo Motorcyle Jacket for Men
In terms of value and popularity, this faux leather, punk zip jacket really fits the bill. With a price of just over £20, that will leave you with plenty to buy the rest of your costume with. Although this exact jacket isn't available in the U.S., there are plenty of very similar punk jackets at Amazon.com.

High quality studded real leather punk rock jacket
High Quality Genuine Leather Punk Rock Jacket
At the other end of the scale we have this top of the tange real leather jacket which is available for an eye-watering £245, and that's in a sale. However, you have to agree it looks the business, and if you're feeling flush then you can't beat the real McCoy.

Camouflage Print

Combat trousers with an army/military camouflage print are a cheaper alternative to bondage pants. Jackets and even T-shirts with a camouflage theme can also be worn.

Camouflage Pants
Camouflage Pants by Dallaswear (12 designs available)
The pants above come in 12 different print designs and are available at the UK Amazon. You can see a big range of combat pants sing the links below;

Camouflage Pants UK

Camouflage Pants US


Metal Studs, Spikes and Rivets

These were often worn on denim and leather jackets and were also used on accessories such as belts, bracelets and boots.

Sex Pistols Never Mind The Bollocks T-shirt
Sex Pistols T-shirt
Shrunken or Ripped T-shirts

These featured political and offensive messages, anarchy symbols, union jacks or graphics featuring popular punk bands, Add one or two slashes (or maybe three of four!) to an old T-shirt, or you could buy a new punk T-shirt and give it a distressed look. Some punk tees come with a ready-made distressed print.

Look out for tees with Sex Pistols, The Clash, Union Jack, Anarchy symbol and The Ramones themes.

Punk Tees at Amazon UK

Punk Tees at Amazon.com

You will find a fantastic range of exclusive and original punk T-shirts at Redbubble.com and they ship worldwide. Just select your currency at the bottom of the page on the site. What I particularly like about their website is the fact that each design is available for men and women and on a range of clothing inc. V neck, scoop neck, tank tops, sweatshirts, hoodies etc. They are often available in a range of colours, too.

Punk Skull T-shirt for Men
Punk Skull T-shirt

Bin Liners

The Sex Pistols popularised the use of plastic rubbish bags as clothing. The use of offensive swastikas and safety pins has its origins in New York, but was soon adopted by The Sex Pistols and less mainstream punk acts. However, I certainly would advise you NOT to use a swastika to create your look!

In the 80s, Mohawks and studded leather vests became popular, as did denim jackets.

Sleeveless Denim Jacket with rivet for women
Sleeveless Denim Vest Jacket for Women
The Denim Jacket

Denim jackets can be bought relatively cheaply these days. Add studs, rivets, safety pins and patches featuring tartan, skulls, anarchy symbols, policital messages and punk bands.

Punk Costumes

Tartan Punk Chick Costume - tartan shirt and faux leather mini skirt
Punk Chick Costume at Amazon UK
There are several ready-made costumes available for men and women, and you can add as many or as few extra accessories as you wish, such as studs, patches, a wig and boots. The costume above is only available in size 14-16 for some reason, but is ideal for creating an instant punk look. However, the description does not say whether the boots or boot covers are included, although it is quite likely that they are not.

Punk costumes/accessories at Amazon UK

Punk costumes/accessories at Amazon.com

Boots

Gothic Punk Rock Biker Boots for Men
Gothic Biker Boots by New Rock
For punk boots, New Rock have some very interesting designs. Those boots above look fantastic and are available at the U.S. Amazon store, although they were not available in the UK, sadly.

The most authentic boot choice for the UK is Dr. Marten. Tall boots were popular with both punks and skinheads in the late 70s and into the early 80s.

Ladies Punk Ankle Boots
Ladies Punk Ankle Boots
Punk Ankle BootsThese punk-influenced boots have obviosuly borrowed their style from Dr. Marten, but they are about a third of the price. While they're not going to last as long as a pair of Doc Marten's, they would be ideal for fun punk dress-up.

There are literally hundreds of punk and goth boots for women available at Amazon UK and Amazon.com.

Knee High Canvas Punk Boots
Knee High Canvas Boots. Black, red or white.
Tall canvas boots were also a popular choice with punk girls. These Converse All Stars replicas are aviailable in range of sizes and in three colours. A similar pair are available at the US Amazon in 27 styles. Opt for black, red, tartan or the styles with coloured laces for a punk look.

Punk Button Badges set of 6
Set of six punk pin badges
Pin button badges are the quickest and easiest way to accessorise your punk costume. The link above is for the UK, but you can also buy them at Amazon.com.

Further reading;

Punk Anarchist Costume for Men

Vyvyan Basterd Costume

Punk costumes and clothing ideas for women at SimplyEighties.com

Punk costumes and clothing ideas for men at SimplyEighties.com

Punk clothing and accessories at Amazon.co.uk


Have fun creating your punk look!


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