Best Fashion Moments of the 90s - 90s Fashion Trends - Marie Claire
Sigh The ’90s. What a decade. From The Big Breakfast to Britpop and beyond, if you were lucky enough to be a ’90s teen then you knew how important it was to be rocking the latest fashions. And dude, were we spoiled for choice. In ten short years a style revolution was born, and if you were right there with us (watching Buffy whilst goofing around with your Tamagotchi) then you’ll happily admit to owning at least one, or all of the below. Have we missed anything?
1. Buffalo Shoes
The Spice Girls really started something with Buffalo. Pretty soon we were all bouncing around on sky-high sponge platform trainers thinking we looked the shizz.
The Spice Girls loved Buffalo.
2. Skirts Over Trousers
Lucky you if you were one of them girls that had an actual skant (see what we did there?) hybrid. The rest of us had to make do wearing an actual skirt over trousers…
Zoë always knew what looks worked. The girls from Bwitched rocked skirts over pants…with a side of double denim.
It was the small part of Gwen Stefani’s look that we could pull off at home without having to do a thousand sit-ups a night. Thanks Gwen.
Gwen Stefani ticks so many ’90s trend boxes it blows our minds. Plus Alisha’s Attic knew how to rock some bhindi action.
SEE: 15 Trends ALL 90s Girls Will Know (And Love)…
4. Backless Tops
Less was definitely more in the ‘90s, and that included shameless back flashing. The more you bared, the cooler you were. Total nightmare for those of us generously blessed in the boob department.
Mel C knew how to bring some back to her ’90s look.
5. Babydoll Dresses
It started with Whigfield. It ended around ‘95. The high street is now full of them again. Up the My So Called Life ante by wearing a white tee underneath.
Whigfield and the original ’90s IT girls Tara Palmer Tomkinson & Tamara Beckwith…nailing a Babydoll.
6. The Cult Street Brands
Naff Naff jackets and Kickers shoes were essential fifth year fashion; if you didn’t rock at least one of the two you may as well have moved schools.
SEE: 13 Toys We Totally Loved In The ’90s and ’00s
7. The Classy Brands
We all aspired to wear chic French imports Morgan and Kookai (if just for the trophy plastic shopping bags) or quirky Red Or Dead. Let’s face it, there came an age where Tammy Girl just didn’t cut it anymore.
The Red Or Dead store in Covent Garden. A ’90s mecca.
8. Pedal Pushers
As seen on Geri Halliwell and Denise van Outen, these babies made everyone look like a confused 1950’s teenager. Not at all flattering on the crotch area.
Geri Halliwell pretty much brought back ’90s pedal pushers all by herself.
9. Dragon & Flame Motifs
Remember Natalie Imbruglia’s tee in Torn? Yeah, don’t pretend you didn’t try and hunt that one down.
Natalie Imbruglia: Beth from Neighbours cuts hair. Lisa Kudrow and Christina Ricci – sporting a rather fetching pair of flame motif/pedal pusher hybrids.
10. Butterfly Hair Clips
They came in packs of twenty, but when it came to artfully twisting your hair into that signature ‘90s updo you only ever could find one. We’re still baffled twenty years on.
Zoë knew butterfly clips were the backbone of every ’90s twist n’spike updo. Jen has gone for the rope effect here…with butterflies.
11. Combat Trousers
The All Saints ladies made utility pants a bona fide trend. It basically meant we all walked around with our knickers hanging out.
The girls from All Saints championed the low-slung look.
12. Satin Anything
Shiny satin dresses or maxi skirts (preferably cut on the bias) were the a-list go-to for red carpet glam. Drew Barrymore liked to accessorize hers with a crochet poncho. What a maverick.
Scream queen Neve Campbell loved a bit of satin. And Drew. The words escape us.
13. Mesh Tops
Anything netted or see-through meant you had major wardrobe game back in the ‘90s. Making your own out of ratty old school tights was perfectly acceptable.
Trust Mel C to work another key ’90s trend.
14. Knee High Boots
A platform heel was essential, and if you had a pair in white PVC you were the actual bomb.
Patsy Palmer AKA Bianca from Eastenders. Girl had it going on.
15. Tiny Backpacks
Completely impractical yet totally uh-mazing. Your choice of Disney character/sports drawstring/pastel fluffy blob (that got a bit matted) pretty much defined your teenage identity for like, all time.
Drew Barrymore once again is rocking our ’90s world.
16. Leopard Print Coats
From rock stars to ladettes, a leopard print coat gave you instant pub-landlady glam.
Madonna had a moment in the ’90s. Wearing leopard print.
17. Knee High Socks
sigh Clueless was like our ‘90s movie style bible, and whatever Cher wore, we wore…even if it looked a bit ridiculous for shopping with your dad in Halfords.
Alicia Silverstone & Shannon Doherty: Two ’90s icons in long socks.
SEE: Clueless: Team LOOK’s Top 13 Quotes Ever
18. Rave Gear
Gilets, asymmetric zips, cyber punk braids, parachute pants; yep, didn’t we all flirt a bit with the rave trend? Before realizing that the outlandishly large trousers just soaked up ALL the rain. And that we looked a bit of a div…
Jacqui Blake & Zoë Ball: ready for a rave.
19. Square Sunglasses
Yeah. What was with this trend? The Appleton sisters were all over it.
All Saints loved some squared off sunglasses.
20. Hanky-Hem Tops
Because that cheeky little point hid the bellybutton piercing your mum forbade you to get.
Mel C makes yet another appearance on our list….
21. Retro Sportswear
Damon Albarn (swoon) pretty much created the need for obscenely tight sports tees and Adidas Sambas.
Blur were the bona fide style fitties of the ’90s.
22. Bad Hats
Hands up who didn’t own, or aim to own a Kangol hat? You know who you are. Then there was the Bez bucket, and the Blossom-style velvet floppy style…pinned up at the front, and accessorized with a ridiculously large fake daisy.
90’s hats. No one was safe…
23. Stripy or Patterned Tights
We bought them from shops that sold incense and wore them on mufti days with our 19 odd-hole DM boots. Cause we liked Nirvana and were ‘different’.
Anything faux leather, preferably in some kind of silver or cosmic effect appealed to our developing cyber goth sensibility. And like rave gear (see above), it wound up just making us look a bit naff. And don’t even get us started on how difficult it was to sit on vinyl bus seats…
Denise van Outen & Emma Bunton looking tres shiny.
From thick velvet Victoriana style, to those weird plastic twisty things, every teenage ‘90s girl owned a choker. The cool sixth form girls rocked ones with ying yang symbols, and we coveted them from the far end of the playground.
Sadie Frost & Kelly Brooke: making the choker work for them.
Fuzzy mohair jumpers in a pastel shades gave us a kooky Bjork edge. They also meant we left whipsy balls of residue all over mum’s new three-piece suite.
’90s Bjork gave us the fluffy sweater.
The ULTIMATE ‘90s accessory. If you weren’t baring your belly, you were basically your nan.
’90s midriff was essential. Gwen Stefani & Nicole Appleton had it down pat.
28. A Baby-G
Prime arm candy for the technologically savvy nineties fashionista. The Baby-G had tons of functions, came in a whole rainbow of colours and if you owned one, you were pretty much winning at life – especially if it was pink. The best bit? They’re about to make a comeback – as showcased by LOOK’s Fashion News Editor Gemma – to celebrate the brands 21st birthday. Time to dig yours out, or invest in a shiny new one!