For most of us who grew up in the 90s, we wore whatever our mothers picked out for us that they thought looked cute and stylish. Special occasions called for babydoll dresses or velvet numbers. We had bangs, pulled our hair back in big chunky scrunchies, and may have had a fanny pack strapped around our waists for day trips. The grunge trend brought back flares, jean jackets, flannel shirts, and band tees. Like the popular phrase, “history repeats itself,” sometimes fashion trends do too. With that in mind, dig through your closet and break out some 90s styles that are back on trend!
Jean Jackets & Jean Skirts
Jean jackets and jean skirts were a popular way to express the grunge trend that became defined by successful 90s Seattle grunge bands like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. Acid washed, pre-ripped, and raw hem denim fabrics became readily available in retail stores in the form of jackets, pants, shorts, skirts, and blouses. Popular actors like Brad Pitt, Drew Barrymore, and Pamela Anderson definitely helped cement the jeans trend. Today, these clothing items are often seen as closet staples, as they are often versatile enough to pair with almost anything, and are also great to layer with. Denim is an American classic, so it’s easy to see why it’s making a comeback!
Plaid Flannel Shirts
Another American classic, the plaid flannel shirt has been around for over 200 years. While first worn for its functionality to keep outdoorsmen warm, the pattern of the plaid flannel shirt quickly became a favorite for both men and women. The grunge trend also made loose-fitting, baggy flannels a popular choice. Much of the 90s style was defined by a return to minimalist fashions, and flannel shirts fit the bill. Like jeans, they are a classic trend that may never truly go out of style.
High-Waisted Jeans & Crop Tops
High-waisted blue jeans, or mom jeans, are appearing more frequently on the runway these days. For many people, high-waisted jeans can be much more comfortable than low-rise jeans, and they help to hide any extra muffin top you don’t want peeking out. Combine them with a high-cut crop top and bomber jacket and you have a complete and sexy 90s outfit.
Everyone from kids to adults wore backpacks in the 90s. For kids, neon colors and flashy graphics were all the rage. For adults, small backpacks were used as everyday handbags and purses. It’s common to ditch traditional purses for mini backpacks these days, and for good reason – they look cute, are functional, and come in all sorts of materials. For a casual, everyday look, try pairing a canvas backpack with your sneakers, or reach for an embellished backpack made of faux leather or suede if you’re after a dressier look.
Graphic & Band Tees
Graphic and band tee shirts are at the heart of 90s style. While in the 90s we had band tee shirts for popular musicians of the time, today it’s just as popular to have graphic band tees of those very same ‘throwback’ bands and even ones that go back to the 60s and 70s.
Back in Style
It’s easy to see why the classic styles and trends that became popular in the 90s are resurfacing. Aside from looking cute, they are comfortable and functional essentials for anyone’s wardrobe. And, for many of us, they take us back and let us feel nostalgic. So, if you don’t fit into your old digs, don’t worry. New versions of jean jackets, flannel shirts, and mini backpacks look even better than the ones that came before.
What are some of your favorite 90s trends?
Tess DiNapoli is an artist, freelance writer, and copy editor. She enjoys covering the fashion industry, and often writes about health and wellness, as well as fitness.