As this website focuses on 80s fashion, then I will be mainly focusing on creating a costume based around the original T-800 Model 101 cybernetic android played by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the original 1984 Terminator film. is a participant in the Amazon Associates affiliate program which allows us to earn fees from linking to products on their websites.
Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Terminator

Arnie in the first Terminator movie

To create a costume you'll need a black, leather (or faux leather) motorcycle jacket, fingerless motorcycle gloves, a grey T-shirt, brown cargo pants and some shades - the motorcycle is optional!

For a Terminator 2 costume you will need to swap the grey tee for a black one and the pants/trousers need to be black leather. The shades look sleeker, too.

Out of the two looks, the one created in the second movie is definitely cooler, but as the movie came out in 1991, it's useless if you need a costume for an 80s party. However, the easiest option is to opt for this ready-made costume which I found at
This Terminator T-800 costume by Smiffy's on Amazon includes the jacket, shades and bullet belt. Unfortunately, the costume looks cheap and the shades have a red sticker to represent the red eye, which looks rather cheap. They also are the wrong style for both the first or second movie.

I recommend buying separate components for a better quality, more authentic look.

This Endoskeleton costume looks pretty cool and comes in two sizes. It's officially licensed and includes a bodysuit and a light-up mask. It's perfect for 80s, movie and Halloween themed dress-up.
The Jacket

This is going to be expensive if you opt for real leather, obviously. But if you want an authentic look then you can't beat the real McCoy.
This is, by far, the best value and best rated jacket which is available from Skintan on Amazon. It's made form genuine leather and really captures the look of the original jacket. Sadly, it's not available in the U.S.
The Gloves

For the first movie you'll need studded fingerless gloves, but for T2: Judgment Day then you need full leather gloves, although Arnie didn't wear gloves for a good part of the film, so you could leave them out completely.
The Trousers

You'll need a pair of mud-coloured cargo/military pants to capture the look of the first movie, and they were really quite basic. If you have a pair of brown chinos they they would be ideal, but they can be bought relatively cheaply at Amazon.
Tobacco Brown Cargo Trousers for The Terminator Costume
Determining the exact shade of brown for the pants is difficult - the official toy features a deeper shade of brown than those worn in the movie. I like this pair of slim fit tobacco brown cargo trousers in tobacco brown which are very reasonably priced.
The T-shirt

A basic, grey T-shirt with a round neck is all that's required. However, you may like to add a splash or two of fake blood

For a Terminator 2 look add a black tee instead.

The Shades

The sunglasses worn by Arnie in the first movie were bigger and more squared than in the second film, and the best pair I could find were at The Movie Shop at Amazon.

Terminator T1 Glasses by The Movie Shop

Terminator 2 Sunglasses by The Movie Shop
The Boots

You'll need a pair of tall, leather biker boots with a buckle. Be sure to tuck your trousers into the boots. Now this is going to add a serious dent to your budget, so you may choose to leave this part of the costume out. 

Terminator T1 Leather Calf Length Biker Boots
Calf length Terminator Biker Boots

The most authentic looking boots were this pair available in the UK. However, at close to £70, for a fancy dress costume this may not be an option.

The Make-Up

Although it will add to the overall cost of your costume, this make-up kit would add an awesome finish to your look. A less fiddly alternative would be to wear a face mask.
Terminator Latex Face Mask
Terminator T-800 Skull Mask