On January 20, 1981, the presidential candidate for the Republican Party, former movie actor Ronald Reagan, was sworn in as the fortieth president of the United States. Under Reagan, the country underwent a political and economic revolution characterized by deregulation (the lessening of government controls over the banking and industrial sectors) and large tax cuts. This political mood corresponded exactly to that of the then prime minister of Britain, Conservative Party leader Margaret Thatcher. It may seem strange to preface a book on costume with a discussion about politics, but the way people dress is deeply influenced by the political climate in which they live. While liberal governments tend to inspire more adventurous, artistic styles of clothing, conservative governments, with their emphasis on the pre-eminence of the private sector, often produce fashions that reflect a sober, businesslike conformity. This book examines the main costume and fashion trends in the United States and Europe during the 1980s and 1990s by drawing on the styles promoted by fashion designers and store catalogs and featured in movies and television programs of the time. It examines the world of couture - evident in fashion magazines such as Vogue and social picture magazines such as People - and, at the other end of the spectrum, the “street,” where young people reflected popular culture by dressing in styles they created themselves. Theater and fashion students, re-enactors, and those interested in amateur dramatics will find inspiration here - whether costuming a group of 1980s “power dressers” or a 1990s “grunge” band.