Monday, December 28, 2009

Styles of the 1990s

The nineties are my favorite fashion decade. Courtney Love actually seemed cool back then in her baby-doll dresses and combat boots. The Spice Girls also rocked short dresses + chunky shoes. Clueless came out and mocked the loose baggy pants trend, which was new at the time. Grunge was huge. Tattoos and body piercings became ubiquitous. Short boyish hair became trendy thanks to girls like Linda Evangelista and Winona Ryder. Wino also rode the wave of the "waif" trend (also popularized by Kate Moss). Drew Barrymore had a big comeback, and we weren't even sick of her yet.

I loved the make-up and hair from the 90s; the look was bold, but not clownish like the 80s. It was all about a clean, matte, minimal-but-dramatic look, with opaque colors, high contrast, and sharply defined lines. Lips were dark, almost gothic. Hair was sleek, eyebrows were thin and arched (a rebellion from the bushy big brows of the 80s).

Some more details (some of which I completely forgot but found on this blog): The "Rachel" haircut, and chunky highlights.
Butterfly clips ("little plastic butterfly clips that girls of all ages wore by the gross in their hair. The typical way of wearing them was to part your hair in several different places and to clip each section of hair so that the butterflies would be all in a row on top of your head.")

Fanny Packs (okay, this was a bad one).

Overalls ("In the early 1990's teens wore their overalls in two ways: They wore their overalls with a belt, and let the 'front flap' and 'back straps' hang straight down. The other way, was to only hook together one side of the overall straps, and leave the opposite side open. The popular over-all styles were: light blue; or gray stone-washed.")

And still more more details from Wikipedia:

"Fashion in the 1990s was characterized by minimalist styles, some of which were dubbed "anti-fashion". Nineties fashion was very casual and comfortable, and featured items such as flannel shirts and overalls. Retro clothing was popular in the 1990s, which led to minimalist takes on styles from previous decades, notably the 1920s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Fashion inspired by sports clothing was also popular during the 1990s.

"Following the minimalist trend, mens business wear in the 1990s moved back away from three piece suits towards simpler styles. Women's business and formal wear also became simpler over the course of the decade. Denim followed the minimalist trend, moving away from acid wash and other designer denim styles towards the simpler and more traditional stone washed jeans. The fancy women's hairstyles of the 1980s gave way to straighter styles parted in the middle, and men's hairstyles also became simpler.

"Hypercolor clothing, made of material which changes colors according to temperature, was briefly popular in 1992. The popularity of bright colors declined as the 1990s wore on. Hoop earrings were a popular accessory for girls and women in the first years of the 1990s.

"One of the most significant events in 1990s fashion was the rise of grunge fashion in 1992. Grunge fashion consisted of both sexes wearing flannel shirts and other typical outdoor clothing, often bought in thrift shops. The general appearance was unkempt and androgynous. The rise of grunge fashion coincided with the rise to mainstream popularity of grunge music from Seattle. Popular colors in grunge fashion included white, black, red, forest green, indigo, and brown.

"By 1993, other plaid inspired styles were popular. These included plaid vests, plaid sweatshirts, plaid babydoll dresses, and plaid boxer shorts. Although grunge and its related styles waned after 1994, flannel plaid shirts continued to enjoy a somewhat increased popularity though the end of the decade, especially for outdoor wilderness activities.

"Belly button piercing became a hit in 1993 among teenage girls, young women, and even briefly among young men. This led to the popularity of midriff style shirts that expose the belly button. Other types of body piercing became popular later in the decade, and lasted into the 2000s.

"Wide leg pants became popular among teenaged girls and women in 1994, inspired by the wide leg pants of the 1940s and 1970s. Wide leg jeans became popular with teenaged girls, and women's pantsuits with wide leg pants enjoyed popularity in colours such as light brown and violet. Women's spaghetti strap tank tops became more popular than when they were first popular in the late 1970s.

"Many men began wearing dress shirts without ties, a style that continues to be worn by many men to this day. Women began increasingly wearing pantsuits to the office. By the end of the decade, Casual Fridays became the norm in many offices, with both men and women wearing jeans to the office on Fridays.

"Punk, goth, preppy, sporty and hip-hop styles continued to be popular at the close of the 1990s. Some of the more overt 70s influences waned in 1998, although other 70s influences continued to be felt at the close of the decade. In women's fashion, baby t-shirts and spaghetti strap tank tops continued to be popular, and long wraparound skirts were popular from 1998. Dark rinse-wash denim beame fashionable for both men and women, and the low rise jeans phenomenon began in women's fashion."


  1. Well, it was better than the *80s*, but...

  2. Oh come on--there are some great looks there!