It wasn’t just the girls who were pushing the boundaries with make up in the 80s. If you think back to the New Romantic and New Wave movement you’ll recall that the boys were all lookin’ real pretty too. Somehow the whole guy-in-make up thing managed to look cool so men still looked like men, only edgier...unless you’re talking about Boy George or Marilyn who pushed the make up to a more feminine level.
For any guy planning to attend a 1980 fancy dress party, 80s costumes are a must but won’t be complete without the right make up. The 80s were about everything in excess; super shoulder pads, loose pants tightly tapered at the ankles, too much make up, too much hair spray...you get the idea. If you’re going to an 80s fancy dress party dressed as one of the 80s band members, singers or TV stars then you need to find a picture of that person from way back when and try to recreate their make up look. For the majority it’s really just a matter of getting some black eyeliner to line your eyes. (Billie Joe Armstrong of Green day is one of the few who still sports the guy eyeliner look today).
If you want to go the extra mile and wear more than just some eyeliner, then take a cue from guys like Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran and do the eye shadow and blush thing as well. His make up was never quite as theatrical as some of the other 80s pop stars but it was definitely noticeable and of the moment. With the blush you’re not looking for rosy cheeks or cheekbone definition as a gal would be. For men in the 80s, the blush was more about a bold line of colour along the cheek towards the front of the face.
Another look to consider is one that was made popular by Adam Ant. His ruffled shirts, tight pants, red sash and pirate-gone-wild look wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for the trademark lines under his eyes. They usually ranged in colour; white, black or red. Sometimes it was 2 short lines on an angle under one eye and other times it was a white band that ran from one end of his face across his nose and to the other side—right under the eyes. You can do this using eye shadow, lipstick or a stick of white theatre make up. And, a stick of zinc is always an option if you happen to have any leftover from a ski or beach trip!
How much or how little make up a guy wears to a 80s fancy dress party really depends on the costume choice and nerve level! Just remember that 80s costumes aren’t really 80s enough if you don’t push it a little and add some make up. And, the more make up you’re willing to try, the more authentic the 80s costumes will look.