Let Me Put You Onto Something: 80s preppy

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woman in pink dress sitting beside woman in white shirt
A photo of people posing around dated technology. Past fashion trends are resurfacing and 80’s preppy is back in style. Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

As an observer of fashion trends, I’ve slowly noticed how the phrase “what was old is new” rings so true when it comes to what the kids are wearing these days. From flared jeans from the 70s, striped polo shirts from the 80s and thin, color filtered glasses of the 90s all coming back into style like dominoes falling into place, it’s no wonder why our parents are a little peeved off. Credit needs to be given where credit is due! 

When I was younger — I mean, when my mom dressed me still — she was all about preppy, which my 5-year-old self absolutely abhorred. However, as I’ve grown into my own style with the influence of all things vintage coming back, I believe I have found a sliver of the retro world that few took part in when “Stranger Things” first aired on Netflix: late 80s preppy.  

When preppy first comes to mind, you may think of a boy named Mason, holding a fish in a Ralph Lauren t-shirt with salmon khakis on a yacht. However, 80s preppy has all the synth-hazed and poofy hair magic you could ever need.  

How does one achieve this sort of magic? Here’s two outfits to help you get started based off of what kind of 80s movie character you are trying to go for:  

“I watch ‘The Goldbergs’ occasionally” 

If the Beverly Goldberg look is more of your style, this look is just as easy to pull off as it is comfortable. Grab a turtleneck of any neutral color — may it be cream, black, pink or tan — and pair it with a semi-dark wash of somewhat loose fitting jeans. Then grab a button down sweater (preferably a thin, less bulky one) in a complimentary color and tie the arms around your neck, almost like a cape. If this is too prep for you, opt out the sweater for a silk scarf tied on your neck like a necklace. This can create some texture depending on the pattern of your scarf. Bonus points for added chunky earrings or a slim watch!  

“I’m a Heather Duke fan” 

If you’re looking for a very Martha Stewart meets Princess Diana look, this outfit is for you. Grab a chunky knit sweater or sweatshirt in an earthy tone such as a pine green or a cream. Then, pair underneath a blue seersucker collared shirt. Don’t forget to leave the collars tucked under your sweater of choice, don’t have it poking out like a school uniform; that’s not what we’re going for here. For a sporty edge, pair with either a black or white pair of biker shorts or with a baggy pair of light wash denim for more of a New Englander approach. Match accordingly with either chunky sneakers or loafers.  

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