How to Dress a Child as an '80s Rock Star

by Ava Lee

    The '80s never seem to die. From Care Bears to My Little Pony, your toddler or preschooler is probably as familiar with these characters as you are. If you want to continue the '80s theme for a family costume party or you simply want your 2- or 3-year-old to be a standout trick-or-treater, consider dressing your little one as an '80s rock star. You probably don’t want to dress your toddler like Madonna in her more risque stages, but you can find clothing around the house, at thrift stores or maybe even in a friend’s closet that will be appropriate for both pint-sized boy and girl rockers in a 1980s theme.

    Items you will need

    • Toddler or Preschool Boy:
    • Stonewashed or black jeans
    • Combat boots
    • 1980s rock star T-shirt
    • Leather or "pleather" vest
    • Headband
    • Bandana
    • Fingerless gloves
    • Toddler or Preschool Girl:
    • Leggings in pink, purple or yellow, or zebra-striped or colored tights
    • Cyndi Lauper-type crinoline skirt, if desired
    • White tank top
    • Old sweatshirt
    • Sneakers or ballerina slippers
    • Headband
    • Flavored kids' lip gloss

    Toddler or Preschool Boy

    Step 1

    Locate a very tight pair of stonewashed or black jeans. Use jeans your toddler has grown out of, but ensure that they are comfortable. If he’s still in diapers or wearing pull-ups, they must be easy to pull off and on.

    Toddler or Preschool Boy

    Step 2

    Tuck your tiny rocker’s jeans into black combat boots, if available. Any boot will work if you can’t find combat boots.

    Toddler or Preschool Boy

    Step 3

    Put him in a tiny rocker-themed T-shirt that represents bands of the '80s, such as KISS, Duran Duran or Bon Jovi, if available. If you can’t locate an '80s T-shirt in his size, let him wear a plain T-shirt with a leather vest. For an authentic '80s look, fringe the leather.

    Toddler or Preschool Boy

    Step 4

    Tease his hair. Use a fine-toothed comb and tease downward from the ends to the roots. If his hair is very short or fine and you don’t feel comfortable teasing it, let him wear a fluffy wig if you can find one in his size that he will wear! Alternatively, spray a colored, child-safe hairspray onto his hair, such as green or blue. As a finishing touch, wrap a headband around his head.

    Toddler or Preschool Boy

    Step 5

    Tie a bandana around his thigh that matches his headband. If available, let him wear a pair of fingerless "rocker" gloves.

    Toddler or Preschool Girl

    Step 1

    Put a pair of leggings on your little girl in colors such as pink, purple or yellow, or use zebra-striped leggings. Try long or capri-length leggings. If desired, let her wear a Cyndi Lauper-type crinoline skirt over her leggings or her tights, if she prefers tights.

    Toddler or Preschool Girl

    Step 2

    Dress her in a white tank top. Cut off the sleeves of an old sweatshirt; cut a "V" neck into the collar and cut off the mid-section of the shirt an inch above her waist. She can wear the sweatshirt over her tank top. Keep it classy and age-appropriate: You don’t want your little girl to look too mature.

    Toddler or Preschool Girl

    Step 3

    Dress her in matching sneakers -- either low- or high-top. Alternatively, slip her feet into ballerina slippers in a coordinating color.

    Toddler or Preschool Girl

    Step 4

    Drape her in chunky, non-breakable costume jewelry to coordinate with the outfit. Ensure that the jewelry is appropriate for her age and manufactured specifically for children her age or younger.

    Toddler or Preschool Girl

    Step 5

    Tease her hair into the “big hair” look of the '80s. If her hair is short and she will wear a wig, put one on her in her size. Let her wear a large, flowered headband. Order or find fingerless gloves for a finishing touch.

    Toddler or Preschool Girl

    Step 6

    Rub some colorless lip gloss on her lips -- in the traditional 1980s Dr. Pepper flavor of course!

    Tip

    • Dress your little rocker immediately before the '80s-themed party or event, as some of the clothing may not be as comfortable as her normal attire.

    Warnings

    • Ensure that all clothing is toddler or preschool-age appropriate, which means avoiding large buttons, snaps or zippers that might harm delicate skin. Choose jewelry and accessories that will not harm children and are manufactured specifically for kids ages 2 to 4.
    • Let your little one wear age-appropriate clothing only.

    About the Author

    Ava Lee began writing professionally in 1982. She holds a master's and a bachelor's degree in English literature, and has proofread and copy edited for "Better Homes & Gardens" and the American Marketing Association, among other outlets. She has edited for more than 25 years.

    Photo Credits

    • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images