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Prepped and Punked: Bringing 1980s and 1990s Flair to Your Wardrobe

80s Fashion Book by Allison Crotzer Kimmel


While recently searching through Amazon's huge array of 80s themed products, a book that really caught my attention was Prepped and Punked: Bringing 1980s and 1990s Flair to Your Wardrobe by Allison Crotzer Kimmel.

If you lived through the 80s or 90s, then you will know that many of today's fashions trends borrow heavily from these decades, and also other decades from the 20th century. Indeed, if you keep anything in your wardrobe for long enough, then it's almost guaranteed to come back into fashion! But unless you're a fitness addict, then it's also guaranteed not to fit you any more, too - time for an 80s workout!

According to the author, this book will show you how to add some 80s and 90s flair to your current wardrobe, and let 20th century fashions style your current look. 

In the first chapter, 80s and 90s Fashions Lurking in Your Closet, you'll discover that if you wear leggings and crop tops, then you are already paying homage to the 1980s, and many of today's trends are simply recycled from the past. It's a brief chapter, but a nice introduction, nonetheless.

Big, Bold, 80s Style is the title for chapter 2, and here we are reminded of princesses and pirates in the form of Princess Diana, Adam Ant, Boy George and the New Romantics. We learn that it was Vivienne Westwood who started the 80s pirate look, but it is one of her punk looks that we are shown how to recreate in the form of a plaid mini skirt, military boots and other accessories. 

Ant Rap rear sleeve
Adam Ant on the "Ant Rap" single sleeve (rear) 1981

The influential fashions of Nancy Reagan and Margaret Thatcher are also discussed, and this takes us back to power dressing, when women could look feminine but also in full control, too. We are also shown how to recreate an 80s shoulder pad look, and also a prime time TV look influenced by Dallas and Dynasty, when big hair and bold make-up were essential. Of course, no 80s fashion book would be complete without discussing YUPPIE fashion, and we are shown a casual cool YUPPIE look to recreate.

Going 80s to the Max is the subject of chapter 3, in which American street styles, preppies and valley girls are discussed. Wearing leg warmers over heels was the norm back in the day, and here we are also shown one of Madonna's influential looks, with fingerless gloves, mini skirt, and all the many accessories. Plus, you can also recreate Cyndi Lauper's iconic eye make-up. 

The 80s keep-fit craze is the next subject, and takes us back to a time when wearing gym and dance gear outside (such as headbands and leggings) became the norm. You will learn how to make your own Flashdance sweatshirt as worn by Jennifer Beals in the popular movie. 80s hairstyles are also examined, with a look that you can recreate using curling irons and plenty of hairspray - it's no wonder there was a hole in the ozone layer back then!

Chapter 4, It's All Good: The 1990s, takes us to the next decade, and we are shown how to make your own thick headband, as worn by Hillary Clinton. Hair scrunchies were big in the 90s, with pop stars such as Paula Abdul wearing them, and we are shown how to make a patriotic red, white and blue one. Although aimed at an American audience, thankfully, we have the same flag colours here in the UK. 

90s supermodels also had a major influence, you may well remember the fashion styles of Claudia Schiffer and Cindy Crawford, which are also discussed. 

Colour Blocking is next up, although this was a popular 80s fad, it continued into the 90s, but with more muted colours, with grunge and hip-hop styles becoming more dominant. We are also shown how to recreate a 90s look with ripped jeans, plaid flannel shirt and accessories, and a no-fuss, grungy hair style.

All That and a Bag of Chips is the title of the fifth chapter, and it shows us how fashion trends became less business-like and more relaxed and casual, something that Calvin Klein had predicted. The babydoll dress is also discussed (which was made popular by Baby Spice Emma Bunton), and we are also reminded of when underwear became outerwear, and when hip hop fashion was da bomb - who could forget MC Hammer's parachute pants! An example of how to recreate a cool hip hop look influenced by Salt-N-Pepa is also included. We are also shown other stylish looks by Jennifer Anniston, Princess Diana and Angelina Jolie.

The final chapter shows us how the 80s and 90s are alive and well today. It's a rather brief chapter, but is a nice way to conclude the book.

Overall then, this is a pretty decent read with some nice examples of how to recreate a number of fashion looks. While it's not the most comprehensive book on 80s fashion, there are plenty of decent celebrity photos and outfit examples to browse through, and I really like the writing style, which is clear and grammatically almost perfect. The paragraph layout of the Kindle edition could do with a little tidying up, though, and the centred justification is a little odd.

Although the book is aimed towards an American audience, it doesn't alienate the British audience, and there are plenty of examples of British fashion icons. Many of the fashion styles were also popular here in the UK. If you're looking for some guidance on creating a retro look, then this book will certainly help you and will be a worthy addition to your book collection.

Buy Prepped and Punked: Bringing 80s and 90s Fashion to Your Wardrobe


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