Why We Miss The ’90s: Fashion Trends We Loved And Loathed
From cargo pants to tie-dye tees, ’90s fashion seemed to be the complete antithesis of the flashy and over-the-top ’80s. Women were dying to get rid of the shoulder pads and men were embracing hi-top fade hairdos. The ’90s were simpler times when women looked like women and men looked like men. Let’s look at fashion trends we loved and hated from this super-awesome decade and understand why we really miss the ’90s.
We Loved: Grunge
No other decade has been as synonymous with grunge as the ’90s. Grunge clothing was characterised by an overall sloppy and unkempt look. The kind of clothes you’d find in thrift shops became very popular. You’d find boys in flannel shirts over their graphic tees probably discussing how to get their band together. Girls in combat boots and belly button rings (thanks to Alicia Silverstone in über-cool Aerosmith videos) were seen everywhere. Bed head was the order of the day. Musicians like Kurt Cobain with uncombed hair and flannel shirts were a big influence on the fashion of the time. They promoted a look that was accidentally put together and not contrived. Singles, a romantic comedy set in the ’90s captured the grunge fashion and rock scene beautifully. Watch the movie for cameos by Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains and Sound Garden, if not for the dark sweaters and grey tees.
Singles captures the essence of grunge; Kurt Cobain of Nirvana took grunge to the next level
We Loved: Small Backpacks
What are we actually carrying in those massive totes that we can’t really do without? All you needed in the ’90s was your matte brown lipstick and a scrunchie. The infamous small backpack was anything but practical, and yet we loved it. You’d see girls carrying these mini backpacks in denim and basic black and sometimes olive green. Friends, the sitcom that spawned multiple fashion trends such as the ‘Rachel’ haircut was also responsible for popularising the ridiculous small backpack we all adored.
The impractical yet cute small backpack
We Loved: Floral Dresses
Remember Winona Ryder in Reality Bites with all her ’90s angst running around in her floral dress and rejecting the hottest stereotypical angry musician. Floral dresses were big in the ’90s. Although short-sleeved and sleeveless floral dresses were popular, what really became a rage was the strappy floral dress worn over a tee. You could wear these dresses long or short, with sandals or boots. The trend of wearing dresses with boots wasn’t really new, but the femininity of the floral dress and the androgyny of boots truly found their balance and bliss in the ’90s.
Winona Ryder and Janeane Garofalo wear floral dresses to their graduation day in Reality Bites; floral dress with boots
We Loved: Slip Dresses
What’s raunchier than wearing a slip to dinner? It was provocative and risqué, but the trend caught on overnight. Girls wore slip dresses to clubs, parties, proms and they were also seen on the red carpet. The skinnier the girl, the better the dress hung. Those were the days when Kate Moss had just popularised the heroin chic look. No, there was no concept of a healthy body image back in the day.
Alicia Silverstone grunges up a feminine slip dress with combat boots; a white Calvin Klein slip dress in Clueless
We Loathed: Bodytops
What the hell is a bodytop, you ask? Remember how women in the ’80s would wear workout-inspired clothes when they weren’t working out? The 90s’ bodytop was a residual effect of that. It looked like a combination of a swimsuit and a onesie. You couldn’t help but love it. It hid nothing and put everything out there when worn with mid-rise jeans. They were available in neutral colours like white, beige, black or grey. You’d see the occasional red or maroon, but no flashy yellows or pinks. In the 90s, one did everything in one’s power to forget the unfortunate loudness of the ’80s. Speaking of workout-inspired clothes, let’s all just collectively take an oath to never ever talk about those cycling shorts that we wore under our skirts and dresses. Seriously, who thought of that?
The unforgiving ’90s bodytop; no one should wear cycling shorts, not even cyclists
We Loathed: Goth Chokers
One can’t help but wonder how this silly piece of jewellery became such a craze. The goth stretch choker necklace, often accompanied by dark lipstick, was too cool for school. Remember how at 16, we thought that all we needed was a wiccan love spell choker and a magic slap bracelet to kickstart our dormant love life. Don’t even try to deny the fact that you owned one.
Natalie Portman wears a goth choker in Léon; Fairuza Balk, the favourite bad girl of the ’90s vamps the goth choker
We Loathed: Oversized Clothes
We all know that Clueless had a great influence on women’s fashion in the ’90s. Everyone wanted to look like Alicia Silverstone in her preppy clothes and berets. But that movie successfully did for men’s loose slouchy clothes what no R&B video ever could. Although in the movie, Silverstone berates the way boys dressed in the ’90s, the oversized tee and baggy pants look had really come into its own by then. If your pants needed to be hiked up every five minutes, you knew you were really cool.
Allegedly cool high-school boys in slouchy, oversized clothing: how is this look supposed to attract girls?
We Loved: Denim Overalls
You didn’t have to be knocked up to wear denim overalls in the ’90s. Light washes in denim were more popular than dark. The look was completed with sneakers. To really rock the look, you had to leave one strap undone. This is one trend we want back.
Katie Holmes in adorable denim overalls
We Loathed: The Backwards Cap
You weren’t a true rebel if you weren’t wearing a backwards cap. I mean, it must have taken so much lateral thinking, hours of brainstorming and focus to think of simply turning the cap backwards. Of all the dated looks of the ’90s, this one scores the highest. We all blame Limp Bizkit.
Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit in his signature red backwards cap
Can you think of any other ’90s trends you loved or loathed? Drop us a line and let us know.
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