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Dressing for the Decade: 1990s Fashion

Posted by Natali on Nov 26th 2014

1990s fashion was full of diverse looks and clearly evolved throughout the decade. Interestingly enough, 1990s fashion is actually not that different from contemporary fashion. Fashion is noticeably recycled, and the 1990s is no exception.

Salt-N-Peppa, influencers of hip hop fashion

Salt-N-Peppa, influencers of hip hop fashion

While designers had a great impact on decades of the past, the 1990s were notable for the great influence of musicians on fashion. MTV was a household staple. Fashion worn by early 1990s hip hop artists became increasingly popular with the influence of MTV. Urban styles were not just confined to big cities. Hip Hop style was arguable the most popular style of the 1990s.

Though the focus of influence of 1990s fashion was on musicians, supermodels dominated the fashion world as well. The reigning supermodels of the time were Cindy Crawford, Tyra Banks, Kate Moss, and Naomi Campbell. Kate Moss’s fame was surrounded by controversy. Her thin, waif-like figure evoked a “heroin chic” look that was often criticized. She often modeled for Calvin Klein, a brand with notoriously controversial advertisements. Adding to the controversy and speculation of eating disorders, Moss was famous for saying “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

1990s Grunge Wear

1990s Grunge Wear

The 1990s had an indifferent, anti-conformist approach to fashion. The casual chic look was popular. T-shirts, hoodies, jeans, and sneakers were the go-to look for many of the decade. Many favored loose-fitting clothing. Baseball caps were a popular accessory for both men and women.

A notable movement of 1990s fashion was the grunge look. Inspired by bands like Nirvana, grunge fashionistas wore lots of flannel shirts, hole ridden jeans, and wore their hair long. Industrial and military styles emerged, such as camouflage pants.

By the late 1990s, rave culture was making a splash on the fashion scene. Name brands were coming back in a big way. Neon colors were a popular choice as well as the leggings and leotards of the 1980s.


Preppy Revival in “Clueless’ (1995)

A unique trend of the time was the underwear-as-outwear look of the mid-90s. Slip dresses were widely worn. Following the trend, was a revival of Modernist clothing styles and the preppy look of the mid-1960s. The 1995 film Clueless inspired the revitalization of the preppy look, with the lead character Cher Horowitz, sporting knee-high socks, blazers, and skirts in matching plaid patterns throughout the film.

1990s fashion continues today. Trends like destroyed high waisted denim, baby tees, slip dresses, and overalls continue to show up on runways and in street style. Fashion truly is recycled throughout the decades.
For more 1990’s fashion inspiration, head to!

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