The 90s were a time of rebellion and cultural chaos, as anti-fashion dogmas and a casual, relaxed, “anything goes” kind of fashion emerged. T-shirts, jeans, and maybe a plaid shirt were the usual attire, and people were comfortable with that. There were, however, trends that seemed to take the world by storm. After all, everyone wants to look good. That’s why we’re taking a look at the Top 10 90s Fashion Trends to find out which styles stuck around and which were too silly to survive.
10. Denim Jackets
Not to be outdone by its kindred companion, the denim jeans, the denim jacket sits high among the ranks of lovable 90s fashion. Every girl remembers the first bad boy they saw sporting this fashionable item while leaning against a ’92 Mustang. Take it from Luke Perry: you weren’t cool unless you owned one of these.
9. Drainpipe Jeans
Drainpipe or “skinny” jeans are one of those 90s fashion trends that still refuse to go away. If I had a nickel for every 13-year-old skater who still wears these crotch-enhancing trousers, I’d be a millionaire. They’re designed specifically to accentuate your bulge in all the right places. They’re also popular about women, but they aren’t packing the same kind of meat cannon, so the true value of these pants is kind of lost on them.
8. Tartan Skirts
Plaid was all the rage in the early 90s. From plaid pants to plaid lumberjack jackets and hats to plaid skirts, the 90s loved their plaid. 90s women’s fashion dictated that every woman worth her weight in fashion was to own no less than three varieties of tartan skirt to hang in her closet. Much like Cher in Clueless, these were color-coded to match outfits and underscored a time period where women were very fashion forward. Skirts aren’t given enough respect these days.
As Stoney proved in Encino Man, headscarves are not just for women. If you’re spacey enough and smoke enough weed, you can pull it off. I really love how these look on women, and I feel like there should be more emphasis put on female headwear. It seems that that sort of thing has gone the way of the dodo. I miss the days of fully accessorized women sporting hats whose accents matched their wrist bangles and the straps on their shoes. Put a little effort into it, ladies! Headscarves scream 90s fashion.
6. Converse Chuck Taylors
The classic grunge shoe of choice, Chuck Taylors have expanded their influence into skater culture, emo culture, and shoegazers alike. There’s not much than can be said that hasn’t already been said about Chuck Taylors, but their comfortable minimalism really denotes their value. They don’t have to be flashy to be popular and their monochromatic design only serves to make them both fashionably utilitarian as well as aesthetically pleasing while maintaining a humble sort of charm. The same could really be said about 90s fashion in general.
Another iconic example of 90s fashion that decided to stick around, leggings are a man’s best friend. There are few things in life that can beat out a beautiful sunset or a clear, starry night, but a woman’s butt in a pair of leggings wins hands-down. The contoured curves that leggings create on the female body are a thing of beauty. From lazy, casual girl next door to rigid fashionista, every girl had a pair of leggings in the 90s. Let’s hope they never decide to go away.
4. Gypsy Tops
As with the resurgence of 90s fashion nowadays, 60s culture mage a reemergence in the 90s. Women went gaga over gypsy tops and who could blame them? The bare midriffs and airy nature of the material was probably pretty comfortable. I always thought it gave women an innocent glow. Far out, man.
3. Penny Loafers
With the sudden onslaught of preppy clothing styles like sweater vests and khaki pants in the 90s, it was only natural that shoewear would follow suit. Penny loafers were the default footwear for the image-conscious rich boy. Their pale brown charm was only complete with a penny tucked in the slot on the tongue of the shoe. I think almost every man in the world owns a pair of these babies, and there are still loyal fans of them in this generation.
2. Chain Wallets
In the 90s, it seemed as if fashion accessories were more highly valued. There was almost no one without one of these safeguarded wallets buckled securely around their belt loop. Whether it was brands like No Fear, Billabong, Mossimo, or any of the various wallet manufacturers, they all included a steel chain with a clasp that buttoned around your belt loop, hopefully preventing theft as well as accentuating style. Whether you were a skater kid, a goth, or just a fashionable female, you owned and wore one of these things.
1. Neon Colors
Turning on your TV in the 90s revealed eye-burningly bright seas of color littering every teenager’s t-shirt. Someone decided that it was cool to sport neon pink, purple, and yellow clothing that looked like the vomit of a kid who ate a box of crayons. It was gaudy, cheesy, attention-grabbing, and absolutely awesome. I guess it started with surf culture, but it was one of the only times in history where it was socially acceptable for men to wear neon pink. Talk about social liberation.