All of the '90s Fashion Trends That Have (and Haven't) Made a Comeback
The resurgence of '90s fashion has resulted in a truly mixed bag of emotions. While the '90s can be credited with providing us with now-favourable slip dresses and kitten heels, there's also a raft of trends we'd like to keep in the past. After reaching out to the rest of the Who What Wear team, we reminisced about all the pieces we used to be so proud to own but can't imagine ever wearing again (we think), as well as the celebrity looks we'll happily revisit time and again.
Just when you think all of the possible forgotten looks from the 1990s had remained hidden, along comes another one. How much do you want a really ridiculously small bag right now? And how much better would it be if it had tiny handles and was rendered in silk-satin (see Kate Beckinsale below)? Or what about those '90s Kate Moss images you come back to time and again for inspiration on what to wear on a night out? We've recently rediscovered a love for old-school SJP and combat trousers, too. The revivals are coming in thick and fast, people. Thick and fast.
Keep scrolling for our guide to the '90s fashion items, trends and combinations we wore to death and then forgot about until now.
Style Notes: She will forever be remembered for that safety-pin dress from Versace, but let us not forget this stunning chainmail number, please. The fabric became popular after Gianni Versace created a more wearable version, and the idea has returned yet again with chainmail tops popping up all over the high street.
Style Notes: If your top wasn't a) a vest or b) a corset in the '90s, then you were living in a bubble! SJP was a strong supporter of boned and bodiced bandeaus, wearing them with everything from short suits to fancy red carpet skirts. The look feels a bit restrictive in 2018, so it's probably better to go for the milkmaid-style bustier-top trend instead.
Style Notes: Slip dresses will be popular forever and ever, but there's something about the slinky bias cut that feels so right now. Kate Moss has long been an advocate of the simple style, but she was a particularly strong figurehead for them in the '90s.
BEING A BIT HIPPY
Style Notes: If you weren't grunge or super polished, you probably spent the '90s trying to imitate Lisa Bonet and her artfully thrown-together NYC hippy look. The mini sunglasses and sneakers still stand up today, and we all know celebs continue to love a "naked" dress.
TEENY TINY BAGS
Style Notes: Tell us truthfully now: You want a mini bag again, right? Kate Beckinsale's little fabric bag (and pink skirt) look so right for now. We wonder if she still has the pieces she wore to this film premiere. Also, props to Clare Danes on the very au courant tiger-printed top.
Style Notes: This item's popularity probably has a lot to do with the fact that The Matrix was such a huge hit—everyone wanted to wear Neo's long leather coat. But because that maxi silhouette isn't exactly practical (and is more associated with goth kids), it evolved into this shorter form instead, as seen on Winona Ryder and on Kate Moss. Today, you'll rarely find a cool girl in a leather blazer—it's all about the classic biker.
Style Notes: As modeled here by Victoria Beckham, pedal pushers weren't shorts or trousers, and they definitely weren't cropped kick flares. They sat somewhere in a tasteless no-man's-land that accentuated your thighs and made your legs look short by cutting them off in the middle. Very popular at Tammy Girl. These were filed under "never to wear again" but then influencers have been experimenting once more…
WAISTCOATS (AS TOPS)
Style Notes: Kurt Cobain was a style icon for many reasons. His baggy cardigans and love for the general grunge look inspired a whole generation of fashion. But we still love these oversized red sunnies he wore on the red carpet for the MTV Video Music Awards in 1993. While they've just started to come back into fashion, we'd forgotten about them for so long.
BAGGY CLOTHES AND BEANIES
Style Notes: Thanks to The Craft, there wasn't a group of friends in the '90s who didn't try the "light as a feather, stiff as a board" game (if you know, you know). But trying out spells isn't the only thing the goth movie inspired—it also impacted our wardrobes. Cue lots of layered necklaces and black.
SASSY BLACK DRESS
Style Notes: Sure, the LBD hasn't exactly disappeared, but in the '90s, it was all about the super-short and sassy version. No one did it better than Jennifer Aniston's Rachel from Friends.
Style Notes: Blossom, played by The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik, was probably singlehandedly responsible for our obsession with ridiculous quirky hats. While we're much more for a cute beret these days, back then, the school of thought was "the bigger, the better."
Style Notes: After '80s fashion gifted us acid brights and neon bum bags, '90s style icons like Goldie Hawn and Drew Barrymore gave the look an altogether cooler vibe with black-leather bum bags slung around high-waisted jeans.