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How to Make an 80s Valley Girl Costume

Valley Girls at an 80's Party. CC BY 2.0, via Flickr.

Valley Girls at an 80's Party. CC BY 2.0, via Flickr.

What is a Valley Girl

Okay, like a really long time ago, in the 1980’s, like, this new slang emerged from like the San Fernando Valley in California, and, like, it totally caught on. It was really bitchin’ the way the girls (and guys) in the Valley talked, and soon, like everyone was talking like that.

But, like, that’s not all. Aside from using gnarly language that, like, totally defined the era, the girls of the Valley were totally radical trend setters, and like, had their own style, and stuff.

And like, soon everyone wanted to be just like the totally bitchin’ Valley girls. As if. But not everyone can pull off this radical style.

So, unless you, like, enjoy being grody to the max and want people to tell you to bag your face, you should like totally follow this radical hub to help ensure your 80’s Valley Girl costume is like totally authentic.

Different 80's styles at an 80's party; CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr.

Different 80's styles at an 80's party; CC BY-SA 2.0, via Flickr.

The Costume

The 80’s, like, were all about excess. Think bright, in your face, totally neon colors, lots of bangles, scrunched socks, and, like really big hair.

Main Costume

For the main part of your Valley Girl costume, you’ll need lots and lots of neon. In fact, the more neon, the better. And, it shouldn’t really match.

Obtain a bright neon shirt, in any color, that is a bit big on you. If possible, cut the collar off at an angle so that one side falls off your shoulder. You’ll also want a neon tank top or undershirt to go underneath, but you can also wear black.

If you want to wear pants, locate some spandex leggings or shorts. Either black or neon work best. If you use neon leggings, make sure they are a different color than your shirt.

If you want to wear a skirt, you’ll want a poufy, crinoline skirt with lots of layers. A ruffly skirt would work too. If you can’t find a skirt like that, try a short, straight jean skirt. Either way, you’ll also want a pair of neon tights underneath to offset the whole look.

Note: If you’re afraid of too much neon (as if there was such a thing) then wear a black tank / undershirt and black leggings, which will offset some of the brightness of the rest of the outfit.

Lots of 80's style socks -- look at the Orange and Red scrunch socks. Swap colors on the opposite foot (to red and orange) to complete the 80's look. CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr.

Lots of 80's style socks -- look at the Orange and Red scrunch socks. Swap colors on the opposite foot (to red and orange) to complete the 80's look. CC BY-ND 2.0, via Flickr.


Any 80’s Valley Girl costume wouldn’t be complete without the accessories. Here are a few recommendations to keep your costume looking authentic.


For your costume you’ll need bracelets, lots and lots of bracelets. Jelly bracelets are your best bet, as they are totally 80’s, but any neon plastic bracelets will do. If you can’t find any plastic ones, you could also use metal bangle bracelets.

Stack bracelets up on both wrists, until you’re wearing a ton of them. If you are using jelly bracelets, try tying them together for a totally 80’s look.


Just like everything else, 80’s earrings were nice and big. To pull off an authentic 80’s look, find big, neon earrings. Good choices include large metal hoop earrings, or bright, neon colored plastic earrings.

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Legwarmers / Wrist Warmers

Another way to add extra flare to your Valley Girl costume is to wear legwarmers, or wrist warmers, or both. Of course, these should be also be neon colored.

Wear legwarmers over tights, and pair them with a pair of neon colored heels (black also works).

Wrist warmers should be fingerless, and should be worn with bracelets, as mentioned above. Black lace fingerless gloves are even better, if you can find them (think Madonna in the 80’s).

Scrunched Socks

If you grew up in the 80’s, you probably remember scrunched socks. To pull off this look, you’ll need two pairs of long tube socks in two different colors, preferably neon.

Put one sock on, and then put the second sock in a different color over top of the first sock. Scrunch both socks down. Repeat for the second foot, swapping the colors so that they are opposite from the first foot.

80’s Hair

Of course, your costume isn’t complete without the proper hairstyle. To look like you’re totally from the 80’s, try any one of these styles (or a combination of a few).

Big Bangs

80’s hair bands weren’t the only ones sporting the big hair – Valley girls did too. To achieve the Valley Girl look, it’s all about the bangs.

First, curl the ends of your bangs. Then, hold your bangs straight up, and spray them with a ton of hairspray until they stand on their own.

Crimped Hair

Crimped, frizzy zig-zag hair was all the rage in the 80’s. Luckily, it’s easy to achieve, all you need is a hair crimper. You can pick one up at most dollar stores, and even some major retail stores. Some hair straighteners also come with crimping plates.

Side Ponytail

If you don’t want to spend a ton of time on your hair, but you still want an 80’s look, try pulling your hair up in a side ponytail. Secure with a neon colored scrunchie.

Big 80's Bangs!

80’s Makeup

Just like the outfits, 80’s makeup was all about the neon. Think bright, neon eyes, coupled with hot pink lips. Go crazy with your makeup. There’s no such thing as too much color in the 80’s, so go bold.

80's Valley Girl Inspired Makeup

80/s Slang

Complete your look by utilizing some of this gnarly 80’s slang, and you’ll totally be a Valley Girl.

Bad: used to describe something or someone that is cooler than the word cool can convey. Example: Oh my god, Brenda, your shirt is totally bad.

Bod: used instead of body. Example: He’s so totally hot, just look at his bod.

Bag Your Face: a harsh way to say you look hideous, as in “you are so ugly you need to wear a bag over your face”. Example: Like, your blue eye shadow totally clashes with your outfit, and brings attention to that mondo zit. Like, oh my god, bag your face.

Barf Me Out: a reaction to an offensive comment. Example: Like did you hear that Suzie is dating John? Barf me out, gross.

Gag Me With a Spoon: A sarcastic response to an offensive comment; like barf me out, but more versatile. Example:

Gnarly: slang to describe how good something is. Example: Totally gnarly place you have, man.

Grody to the Max: A way to communicate that something is distasteful or extremely gross. Example: Oh my god, did you see that peach-fuzz mustache Steve was sporting today? And what was he wearing? He is like grody to the max.

Like: a filler word, similar to “um”. Insert randomly into every day speech. Example: Like, I can’t believe that like Christy went to the party with Mark instead Steve. Like wasn’t she just like telling us the other day that like Mark is a huge jerk and like Steve was totally awesome?

Psych: use to give something you just said a negative meaning. Example: Oh man, like I totally just hit your car in the parking lot, it’s like totally wrecked. Psych!

No Duh: A sarcastic expression to point out the obvious. Example: Like that shirt is totally hot. No duh, that’s why I bought it.

Radical: something that is more awesome than awesome. Example: While those parachute pants are awesome, if you paired that mini-skirt with a black mesh top and a half-shaved head, it would be totally radical.

Take a Chill Pill: meaning relax, chill out, calm down. Example: Like take a chill pill, Brenda, it’s only the mall.

Totally: a word used to stress how cool something actually is. Example: The mall was totally awesome today.

What’s Your Damage: means what’s your problem, or implies someone’s an idiot. Example: Then, like he wasn’t even paying attention and totally walked right into me. Like, what’s his damage?


Sophia on September 22, 2014:

This is like totally gnarly to the max! (stops val talk) I am really excited to use all of this for halloween! (who needs $30.00 costumes at target?)

JulieStrier (author) from Apopka, FL on February 19, 2013:

Thanks! I had a TON of fun writing it.

Megan Garcia from Florida on February 19, 2013:

Wow this is great. I was laughing half the time as I was reading.

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