The 1980s were years of earnest excess and outrageous cultural expression. They left behind instantly-recognizable looks and sounds; this is why the decade has lived on as a potent source of retro nostalgia. An ’80s theme is a solid choice for all sorts of parties and corporate events. We’ve collected a range of useful tips for triggering your guest’s nostalgia meters with an ’80s-themed party of your own:
The ’80s: Looking The Part
Nothing sets the mood for an ’80s party quite so well as dressing up. The ’80s were a stunningly flamboyant era, and you should encourage your guests to dress the part by looking to the decade’s pop stars for inspiration. Musicians and singers like Michael Jackson, Madonna, Boy George, and Cyndi Lauper are all solid choices for style cues when you’re dressing for an ’80s party.
Women should reach for neon colors, eye-catching fabric patterns, lace, and rah-rah skirts. As the host, you can help things along by providing chunky plastic jewelry – it’s cheap and it suits the period perfectly. Men can draw fashion inspiration from performers like Duran Duran and Adam Ant. This was the era of pleated trousers, pastel blazers, popped collars, and the almighty mullet! You can add some glowsticks and necklaces from premierglow.com for an even better ‘80s experience.
The ’80s were an especially rich time for music. While tastes for everyday listening might have changed, the ’80s produced so many instantly-recognizable hits that you’ll have no difficulty assembling an evening-long playlist that’s wall-to-wall classics. Good full-album choices include Madonna’s True Blue, Michael Jackson’s Bad, and Kylie Minogue’s eponymous 1988 album. Don’t neglect chart-toppers by acts like Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Wham!, Dead or Alive, Peter Gabriel, and Chaka Khan.
If you have the budget for it, a great way to boost the memorability of your ’80s party is by foregoing the digital playlist and engaging a live band. This is a particularly apt step to take for a corporate event; live tunes will go a long way to getting the team fired up.
Decorating for an ’80s party is a lot easier than some other themes. This was a decade that had plenty of its own heavily-merchandised decorative products and lots of them remain in production to this day. In many cases, you can buy an all-in-one party pack that’s already customized to suit an ’80s theme!
You can easily find iconic ’80s posters for dirt-cheap prices online. The ’80s contemporary movies, music, and video games provided more than enough memorable posters to fill up the walls of even the largest venue.
Food And Drink
Catering for an ’80s party is easy. This decade established many of the standbys for party buffet food. Lay on shrimp cocktails, cheese and pineapple on sticks, and other classics to feed people the right treats.
At the bar, line up cocktail ingredients that match the era’s high-intensity colors. This is the time to dust off those bottles of Blue Curacao, Grenadine, and Campari. Creamy drinks like Pina Coladas and White Russians are appropriate, too. Don’t forget to provide soft drinks for non-drinkers and designated drivers.
You can add to the fun with some ’80s-appropriate amusements. Rubik’s Cubes make perfect centerpieces or giveaways, and for the right kind of crowd, a few Twister sets will see heavy use. You can also try hitting thrift shops for period-appropriate periodicals and comics; these make great table pieces, too. If your budget allows it, you might consider renting some arcade cabinets to offer guests the decade’s classic video games, e.g. Space Invaders and Pac Man.
Happy party planning!