These ’90s fashion trends are back in style
The 1990s was a fun, exciting decade that featured an eclectic mix of new music, technology and blockbuster films. It’s no surprise that these cultural milestones found their ways into ’90s fashion and now, they’re back in style.
If you’re ready to add ’90s vibes to your wardrobe, take a look at some of the best trends to come out of the last decade of the 20th century. From chunky platform shoes to mini bags, there’s no shortage of unique pieces worth exploring.
History of ’90s fashion trendsetters
Mall culture was officially a thing in the ’90s and to some extent, malls rose to the status of social epicenters. Beyond retail amenities such as stores and dining establishments, they were the prime location of first dates, meet-ups, local concerts and major local events.
The film “Mallrats,” starring Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes, offers a retrospective view into the ’90s mall life of teenagers and twentysomethings. It features some of the decade’s notable fashion looks, including oversized jackets and boxy, wide-leg jeans. Flannel is also prevalent throughout “Mallrats,” so if you’re looking for a modern flannel shirt, visit the BestReviews buying guide.
Many musicians reached peak celebrity in the ‘90s, including new boy bands, rap artists, breakout R&B acts, Latin crossover stars, singer-songwriters and pop divas. Several hard-rock and heavy-metal acts became more mainstream.
Between shooting music videos and attending some of the most-photographed events worldwide, musicians highly influenced fashion — and still do. Many musicians embraced edgier ’90s trends including couture tracksuits, sky-high platform heels and jaw-dropping bling.
Blockbuster films often echoed or inspired ’90s fashion and sometimes, they helped define it. Considering some of these movies reached hundreds of millions of dollars in ticket sales, it’s no surprise audience members may have drawn fashion inspiration from the big screen.
“The Matrix,” for example, features some of the late ’90s more futuristic styles, including contemporary trench coats, chunky boots and blackout sunglasses. Red Carpet looks also made their ways into mainstream fashion in the form of midriff-revealing outfits, sheer dresses and metallic fabrics.
Unbeknown to them, those in Silicon Valley may have played a role in ’90s fashion. With the rapidly changing landscape of consumer technology, there may have been a discreet push toward high-tech aesthetics in fashion.
Futuristic details and metallic embellishments showed up in many types of clothing and outerwear. Popular shades of green, perhaps inspired by circuit boards, appeared in several color palettes during the decade. There also was a synthetic-material trend in which many pieces of clothing and handbags featured plastic or plastic details.
Eight ’90s fashion trends that are back in style
1. Wide-leg bottoms
Wide-leg jeans are trendy again and may even overtake skinny jeans as the preferred pair of the year. This Charter Club style has a mid-rise waist and smooth silhouette that flatters and hugs curves. Sold by Macy’s
The wide-leg trend includes office-appropriate styles such as this ultra-wide pair of culottes. Made from polyester, they drape down the hips and have natural movement while you walk. Choose from 21 colors and patterns. Sold by Amazon
2. Statement earrings
These statement earrings, whose shape resembles popular ’90s styles, feature lightweight construction for comfortable wear. Made with raffia grass and dyed in rainbow colors, the earrings match casual outfits. Sold by Amazon
Made by a well-loved designer, this bold stud is a genuine piece of eye candy with a gold-tone finish, glass stones and rhinestones. Wearers are big fans of the jewel-encrusted eyelashes. Sold by Macy’s
3. Cropped tops
With ’90s sporty vibes, this cropped Champion hoodie is a popular athleisure choice. The simple style, available in black and white, coordinates well with athletic bottoms as well as jeans or leggings. Sold by Amazon
This Guess top has a few ’90s-inspired details, including a cropped silhouette and ruched sweetheart neckline. The figure-flattering top can be styled with other staple ’90s pieces such as vests or flannel shirts. Sold by Macy’s
4. Mini bags
A small yet stylish option, this Zac Posen mini bag features oversized pearls and bold gold hardware. While small, the bag has plenty of room to fit the bare essentials — but not much more. Sold by Macy’s
This colorful crossbody is available in two snakeskin-inspired prints, both of which are versatile designs that pair well with most outfits. Its detachable shoulder strap is ultra-wide for comfortable carrying. Sold by Macy’s
5. Sheer tops
Affordable and unique, this sheer crop top comes in several bold prints, including paisley, dragon and floral. It fits over most fitted tank tops and camis, and remains a popular festival-wear choice. Sold by Amazon
In a subtle nod to the ’90s sheer trend, this sophisticated Calvin Klein blouse features sheer balloon sleeves. The blouse has a 25-inch hem, making it ideal to tuck inside of pants or skirts. Sold by Macy’s
Cozy yet trendy, this velvet tunic draws inspiration from button-down dress shirts. It’s made with a flexible blend of polyester and spandex and comes in regular and tall sizes. Sold by Kohl’s
A versatile investment, these velour leggings are easy to dress up or down with the right accessories. The machine-washable pair has a high-rise waistband and frequently is worn with cropped sweaters. Sold by Amazon
7. Platform shoes
Given their unusual silhouette, these Madden Girl high-tops definitely are statement shoes with chunky 2-inch platforms. They draw inspiration from classic Chuck Taylors and come in black, white and camo. Sold by Macy’s
These lug-sole platform combat boots have a rugged, edgy appearance that echoes ’90s rockstar vibes. They have smooth, buttery leather uppers and a six-hole lacing system. Sold by Macy’s
This corset top has a flattering cut that accentuates the bust with a deep-scoop neckline and cap sleeves. A smocked back panel adds a touch of texture to the neutral, simple design. Sold by Macy’s
A bold option for going out or resort clothes, this cropped bustier camisole features a ’90s color-splash print, hook-and-eye front and sweetheart neckline. It’s made with a stretchy blend of polyester and spandex. Sold by Macy’s
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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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