Fashion in the 1990s
You’ve probably seen a lot of 1990s and early 2000s fashion trends resurface, especially through social platforms like Instagram and TikTok. If we just look at 20th-century fashion, the 90s were perhaps the most laidback, an epitome of casual, if you will. It took nearly a century for both men’s and women’s fashion to become less restrictive and more expressive.
It was a time when wearing jeans and a t-shirt became the norm, as it still is to this day. But not every trend of the 90s is well-liked in the fashion world.
After the bold and vivid era of 80s fashion, the 90s favored casual comfort over everything. Women embraced tops and pants, particularly jeans, made famous by the often provocative imagery of Calvin Klein campaigns.
Sportswear trends continued from the 80s, with oversized sweatshirts, leggings, and shorts becoming the go-to for women whether or not they hit the gym.
The 90s also saw the rise of the grunge style. Although this style was made popular by Vivienne Westwood in the 1970s, the rise of thrifting resulted in punk rock looks making a comeback. It was yet another way for women (also men) to express their individuality.
Marc Jacobs also sent down the runway a grunge-inspired collection at his first Perry Ellis show.
The mid-90s saw womenswear becoming more feminine, which became even stronger towards the end of the decade, especially with the popularity of female artists such as Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. Dresses with minimalistic cuts and lightweight fabrics were in trend for both day and evening looks.
The movie Clueless made the schoolgirl look extremely popular for several years after its release. It’s safe to say that pop culture contributed heavily to the fashion trends of the 90s.
Many American designers like Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger became household names as they produced accessible clothes, mostly for the masses.
Pop culture, from the US to the UK, influenced men’s fashion heavily. The 90s was a glorious phase for rock music, with many bands earning cult-like status. These bands often personified grunge, which their fans also followed.
But overall, fashion for men became the most casual. Baggy jeans, graphic t-shirts, and colorful sweaters became the norm for men.
For men, the 90s was also the time when sneakers gained even more popularity. While the Air Jordan brand started in 1984, the craze for the brand’s sneakers got to new heights in the 90s.
The Khaki pants emerged in the 90s to create a more quasi-formal or dressy casual look for men. These pants were worn with sweaters and blazers.
Since the early and mid-90s were more about casual minimalism, people were not that big on accessories. However, the grunge style included a lot of accessorizing. Boots like Doc Martens fit well with the punk rock vibe revived in the 90s.
Colorful scrunchies, charm bracelets, peace sign jewelry, fanny packs, and tiny sunglasses were all in trend at different points during the decade. These accessories were, in a way, designed to enhance the simple looks.
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