Women like Joan Jett and Cyndi Lauper are no longer among the few people rocking the punk style.
What was once portrayed by the ’80s and ’90s rebellious generations is now seen gracing the runways and streets alike. Even on the BYU campus, the punk rock style is making its way into the style of students.
Even with spikes emerging in prominence, people may still associate this style with the rebellious rock world.
David Burgos, a junior majoring in international relations, feels that the punk chic style can be unsuitable for religious circumstances.
“Let me quote General Conference: You can’t keep a summer house in Babylon,” Burgos said. “A big fat studded bracelet, that’s not church appropriate, but maybe a little one would be OK. As far as style in general goes, girls can do what they want. I don’t find it attractive, but they can wear studded bracelets.”
But even men who don’t like the punk style won’t deny that leather is flirtatious and intriguing.
“I’m fine with leather pants and jackets as long as they’re tight,” Burgos said.
Holly Lyons, a senior majoring in art, is among the women illustrating this image.
“I am naturally drawn to flashy and quirky clothing items, and so army jackets and studded sneakers catch my eye, and I end up buying them,” Lyons said. “Those things come in and go out trend-wise, but I’ve always liked things that look rough, worn-in or tough, because there’s an aura of history and excitement to them whether it’s genuine or fabricated.”
In spite of the image that this style potentially emits, Lyons said she is not doing it to make a statement.
“If I ever wear anything punk, it’s not in a direct effort to be a punk,” Lyons said. “I think I only have a very general idea of what the word means, and it probably has very little to do with my personality.”
Students are influenced by styles from all over the world, and BYU students are no exception.
“I think there’s enough variety in style in Provo, with kids coming from all over the country, that I don’t get any special attention or different treatment for my personal style, unless there’s something very extreme about it,” Lyons said.
Gerilyn Cardon, a 1988 BYU graduate of , reflects on the influence of the punk style in her life.
“One of the memories that stands out the most from the ’80s and ’90s is that MTV was the new big thing — people mimicked what they saw,” Cardon said. “Madonna started the sloppy layering phase — lace gloves, boots, tacky crosses, ratted hair with a ‘rag’ tied around it — kind of a tattered yet cool look. Then there were the rockers like Mötley Crüe, Def Leppard and Bon Jovi with leather, animal prints, heels and big hair.”
Even though this style was gaining popularity, Cardon didn’t fully relate to the punk-rocker look.
“The look I could relate to the best was the ‘prep,'” Cardon said. “Music themed with movies such as ‘The Breakfast Club’ and ‘Pretty in Pink’ solidified this look with artists such as Howard Jones, Duran Duran, The Thompson Twins and a whole slew of one-hit wonders. DEVO, Annie Lennox and The Talking Heads brought the large shoulder pads, punk hair and stark makeup.”
People put themselves in defined cliques, and these were often formed because of their style.
“I think the movies and music definitely divided people into specific groups,” Cardon said. “It was uncommon not to identify yourself with one of these groups. We didn’t see piercing or tattoos unless you were a rocker, and even then, they weren’t as prevalent as they are now. No one gauged their ears or self-mutilated themselves the way society accepts it now. I think kids feel the need to ‘shock’ people — they need to be recognized and stand out. If they did, they were the exception, not the rule as you see nowadays.”
Cardon may now be grown with children, but she still occasionally embraces the styles of her youth.
“I even found a pair of leather pants on clearance yesterday that I picked up to wear to the Bon Jovi concert next month — I just wish I had a perm to go with those!” Cardon said.