Before looking at 90s fashion, let’s think about this. Way back in the sizzling 70′s you had Grease, Happy Days, cutoff pants and American Graffiti. Most of this was styled from fashion and trends of the 1950’s.
Then came the awesome 80′s, bringing with it the Wonder Years, Field of Dreams and a Beach Boys resurgence, among other things, all reflecting fondly on the 1960′s.
Also see – Hip Hop 90s Fashion
Is 90s Fashion A 20 Year Retro Cycle?
When the 1990’s arrived, the next generation wanted to distance it’s self from the eighties. Everything about the eighties, its fashion and trends were to be avoided, mocked or ridiculed. In fashion circles you would never be caught wearing anything related to the 80’s.
The 70’s rejected the styles of the 60’s but embraced the trends of the 50’s. In the 1980’s, we distanced ourselves from the memory of the 70’s by adopting many of the styles of the 60’s. 90s fashion brought back into style many of the 70’s trends and in the 2000’s we had an 80’s revival.
Those that grow up in a certain era or decade tend to think of it as l it their own. In an attempt to define “their” decade as “special” they dislike the one that came before and in time, the one immediately after it. So growing up in the 90′s involved distancing ourselves from the 80′s and claiming 90s fashion and trends as new and different. At the same time we were rediscovering or redesigning all the things the 80’s discarded and belittled, which, of course was the 70’s. People of the 90′s complained about the music and fashion of the 2000′s just as the 80′s did about the 90′s.
When you start to criticize the times you live in, your time is over. – Karl Lagerfeld
Yes, 90s Fashion Is Back
When it comes to Hypercolor T-shirts, denim, Keds, and the Doc Martin wearing era of the 1990s, I am relieved by the fact that so many of these 90s fashion trends are laid to rest. But, as we all know, many fashion styles we look back on and laugh at today, inevitably return as hot new fashions sometime in the future.
So, looking back on the 1990’s, was it all that bad? Let’s take a look at many of the 90s fashion trends and decide for ourselves.
Early 90s Fashion Trends
Early 90s fashion started slowly with a continuation of the 80s style. Common women’s fashion consisted of tight-fitting trousers or drainpipe jeans, denim button down shirts, oversized sweaters and baby doll dresses.
Cowboy boots, court shoes and Penny Loafers were definitely the in footwear of the time. It also seemed to be a trend for mothers to match styles with daughters by wearing leggings with slouch socks, oversized shirt s and Keds sneakers. Looking back, it seems funny but catsuits also had a brief moment of popularity at this time.
For men, flannel became popular as did khaki slacks and canvas. Levi 501’s made an impression along with Converse All Stars, acid wash denim jackets, polo shirts and white Adidas trainers.
The late great Freddy Mercury also added to the early 90s fashion by popularizing the Aviator sunglasses. The sunglasses also made their way into 90s fashion because of the well known late 80′s movie, “Top Gun” starring Tom Cruise.
The Mid 90s Fashion Trends
With the mid 90s came a 70s revival with the introduction of floral dresses(hippie style), lace blouses and chunky wedge heeled shoes. As a sign of stature and wealth, Italian or French designer labels (such as Gucci, Lacoste, Yves Saint-Laurent and Armani) became popular and were worn proudly. During this period it was quite common to see women wearing a baby doll dress with black opaque tights, white Keds sneakers with matching white slouch socks.
In America, the mid 90s for men is when the hip-hop 90s fashion became commercial. This is when the super baggy jeans were cool along with oversized letterman jackets, gold jewellery, bomber jackets and tracksuits.
90s Fashion, Grunge And Courtney Love
Ahh, Courtney Love, one of the original ladies of grunge. 90s fashion just wouldn’t be the same without Courtney’s pixie-goth fashion style.
Even thou torn tights with biker boots, a pink lace dress and leather jacket is not quite as shocking now, as it was then, this style is definitely having a revival. Add a loose fitting blouse, a lace skirt with a pair of ankle boots and you have the new pixie-goth look of the 10’s.
As a side note, it’s interesting to note that today’s new Grunge look is sometimes being advertised as “Grunge without Courtney Love”.
Whether you liked her or hated her, she did add something to the fashion scene and we are sorry to hear of her passing.
The Late 90s Fashion
The late 90s had women wearing flared trousers, miniskirts and crop tops revealing the belly button. There were also Capri pants, low-waist jeans inspired by Alexander McQueen and thong underwear.
During this period it became increasingly popular for men to leave their shirt untucked. From a trend started by Bill Gates from Microsoft, suits fell out of favor as men started to dress smart-casual and business casual. Other things to become popular at this time where Reebok and Nike running shoes, bootcut jeans and hoodies. 90s fashion was good for global commercialization of as high priced sports shoes became must-have fashion accessories.
Slap Wristbands Were Definitely A Part Of The Nineties
Slap wristbands or Slap bracelets were the perfect accessory for the bored or hyperactive. For those not familiar with this popular 90s fashion accessory, here is how it works. Wearers would slap these flexible strips across the back of their wrist or any place they wanted the band to fit. The impact of the slap would, like magic, cause the band to curl around, making the perfect fit. To the annoyance of many teachers, this 90s fashion craze had almost everyone slapping their wrists, arms, legs and anything else silly like hyperactive kids. Aside from being addictively interactive, these slap bands came in a wide range of colors and patterns to match any personality of fashion statement.
Hypercolor T-shirts and pants were around in the late 80s, becoming exceedingly popular as an early 90s fashion. The shirts were usually a solid color that, when heated would change to another color. This was the “wow” factor with the clothing because, simply by touching or hugging another person, you could bring out the new color resembling your heat pattern. For example, placing your hand on the shirt would leave a different colored hand print.
The downside of this is if you were nervous or sweating, it would become VERY obvious. Also, if the clothing, in particular pants, was worn over a naturally warm area of your body… well, you get the picture.
Kelly had the classic “saved by the bell” charm in how she dressed.
This style was the “sweet girl next door” fashion of cropped shirts and overalls. This fashion also lead to the exposed midriff and the navel ring.
It’s easy to see why her flirty crop tops and zippered skirts have caught the attention of fashion icons, Blake Lively and Rihanna.
Super Baggy Pants A Definite Fashion Failure
Come on girls, an honest answer – Does any woman really think it’s, in any way, sexy when a guy’s pants are hanging half way down his backside? The answer I hope I got was a resounding “NO!” If that is the case, then why did young males of the nineties, so readily adopt this fashion trend and see it as being ultra-cool? This was definitely 90s fashion gone wrong (just our opinion). Also see – Hip Hop 90s Fashion
In the words of Cher (played by Alicia Silverstone) from the movie “Clueless” -
“So, OK. I don’t want to be a traitor to my generation and all, but I don’t get how guys dress today. I mean, c’mon, it looks like they just fell out of bed and put on some baggy pants, and take their greasy hair, Ew! And cover it up with a backwards cap and like, we’re expected to swoon? I don’t think so!” – Clueless
90s Fashion From Youtube
Cher Horowitz – Preppy 90s Fashion
The mid nineties brought us the “preppy schoolgirl” look as seen in the 90’s movie, “Clueless”, to mention only one. Tartan miniskirts, Mary-Jane strappy’s and the classic knee-high socks of this Valley Girl uniform is again attracting the attention of fashion designers today if the latest lookbooks are any indication.
To experiment, lower the hem of a plaid skirt and add a pair of brown Oxford shoes and see what you think.
The Seinfeld character, Elaine Benes displayed many of the eras fashion trends during this 90’s sitcom. Even thou I’m still not that crazy about some of the fashion statements she made, I must say her “little house on the prairie” meets the big city look is, yet again, becoming popular as street wear and also in magazines. Remove the sleeves on an ankle dress and add some trendy socks and you have the new style for summer. A new twist on a 90s fashion statement.
Also see – Hip Hop 90s Fashion
Other Links Of Interest
- In The 90s – Movies Of The 90′s and a general flashback to that era.
- Wikipedia – Nineties fashion Wikipedia style.
- Life.com – Nineties fashion trends done the way only Life Mag can do.