What is 90’s Fashion?
Nineties fashion is the fresh style made popular by entertainers and athletes during the 1990’s. These are just a few of the hot trends you’ll remember:
- and so much more
Our complete guide to nineties fashions and accessories has all the iconic styles and pictures of the stars that made them cool.
The 90’s saw the rise of HipHop and R&B music, with the likes of Biggie Smalls and TLC at centre stage. Musicians of the time became MAJOR style icons with the ability to take brands, such as Tommy Hilfiger, to whole different places and make iconic trends (Tupac’s infamous bandana, for example) happen overnight.
From Adidas tracksuits to Tweety Bird crop tops worn underneath denim overalls or a plaid spaghetti-strapped minidresses, nineties styles were undeniably incredible. Every 90’s look required impeccable head-to-toe styling (remember the array of weird and wonderful hair styles knocking around back then?).
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten our favourite girl gang, our #everythinggoals spirit animals, the Spice Girls, leading the pack for the 90’s pop music movement and bringing us some of the most unforgettable trends and outfits of the decade.
17 of the Best 90’s Styles
90’s fashion is a lot of things, but most importantly it’s A LOT OF FUN!! The founders of Cute Mistake were welcomed into the world at the beginning of the 90’s, so making this post was a massively nostalgic throwback to the good old days for us! Although we were still young at the time we still recall our favourite nineties outfits and we’re experts on all the must-have nineties accessories. Now that we are older (and sometimes wiser) we can sit back and really appreciate the iconic looks of the 90’s!
1. The 90’s Tracksuit
Where do you start with the tracksuit? A 90’s fashion staple, which enables you to throw major shapes on the dance floor or lay back and chill, watching trouble TV while still looking fresh!
The tracksuits originated long before the 90’s but the sole use was within the sporting industry. In the late 70’s it became only just acceptable for this attire to be worn out as a causal item of clothing.
Then came the 90’s! The rise in appreciation of the tracksuit is mostly credited to the major Rap and Hip Hop artists of that time whose style later followed into pop (and to one 90’s girl band pop star with a signature athletic look in particular). We know we don’t need to name name’s, but just for fun, check out a few of our fav’s styling it out, Missy Elliot, Mel B and the fly girls of TLC!
Brands such as Adidas and Champion often offered jackets and trousers in slightly differing shapes, colour combos and designs giving you endless opportunity to find one just right for you and your squad (all matching of course)!
While it made it’s stamp in fashion during the 90’s, the tracksuit, especially the tracksuit trouser has remained a key shape until today. Referred to by the cool kids as trackies, joggers or even trackie dacks, tracksuit trousers can be found in a variety of different prints, colours and cuts. As a 90’s wardrobe essential, obviously, we couldn’t do a collection without them!
2. Popper Trackies
Originally known as Tear-away Pants, Breakaway Pants or Rip-Off Pants, were designed for athletes to take off their trousers in a timely manner before competing. (We can think of a couple of fun situations in which these kinda trackies could come in handy. Nudge nudge, wink wink)
All jokes aside, we have to admit, we might love these bad boys a little bit more than the ‘normal’ tracksuit trousers. What’s not to love…a pair of super comfy baggy trousers that at the same time as hiding what we don’t want to show can, in a instant, flash a cheeky bit of the side thigh that you do want to show! They are undeniably making a comeback, so get practicing that whipping motion, they are something we are defiantly down with.
And… if all that wasn’t enough then came the velour tracksuit. Hollaaaaa!!! The Velour tracksuit made a brief appearance in the late 90’s but was a real game player in the 00’s. Check out our blog post on our top 00’s trends for more info about this GEM.
3. Trackies & Trouser Stylin’
You were the cool kid in school if you wore your tracksuit trousers LL Cool J style, with one leg up, one down. During gym class, running round the court whilst trying to keep this key piece of styling intact was a sport in itself. You know what they say, you’ve got to suffer for style!
Extra pants, under your pants, but over the top of your proper pants. That is all!
4. The Shell Suit
The shell suit was a natural development from the tracksuit. Arriving in the late 1980’s it was the light weight and shower proof edition. Made from a mix of cellulose triacetate and polyester fabrics they had a slight shine to them and were donned by the real Mac Daddies of the 90s. The panelled designs of shell jackets are found in bright colour combinations and prints.
They became a popular ‘staple’ for the hip hop and breakdancing crowd of the 90s. The shell suit designs for athletic competitors, however, tend to be a little more low key.
5. Oversized Denim Jackets
One of our favourite denim trends of the nineties were the oversized boyfriend jackets. For us they are a go to, sling it on over just about anything…the less clothes you’ve got on underneath the cuter it looks, the more clothes you’ve got on the more bad ass it is, and if you’ve got another denim item on with it, then that’s even better, the old double denim whammy!!
Boyfriend fit denim jackets quickly became an essential piece of nineties attire…the grunge kids were wearing them over their ironic floral dresses, Drew Barrymore being the leader of the pack. The main stream crowd (aka Freddie Prinze Jr and his ‘I know what you did last summer’ hoooneys) had them on in unison, and Mr ‘All Eyes On Me’ himself, Tupac Shakur was donning the most Pimp Daddy denim jacket of them all!
We love our vintage 90s denim. Make sure to check out our full range of Hand painted and Customised Jackets, shorts, skirts and dungarees.
6. Double Denim
We remember our teeny boppers phase, in the 00’s, when denim on denim was by far the biggest fashion faux pas going, strict dress codes for our thirteenth birthday parties read – NO double denim and NO boys. However, when we throw it all the way back to the nineties, it was all about the denim on denim. Check out our homeboy JT in a dark denim wash matching set and Tia and Tamera Mowry from ‘Sister Sister’ in mom jean shorts, acid wash old school denim jackets and tartan tights with matching bucket hats .
Check out our Custom Denim shop for more Denim Combos!! All our denim is vintage from the 90s, so we are staying 100% true to those naughty nineties shapes (just adding a little sumin’ sumin’ of course)
What are Dungarees? A Dungaree is the fashionable follow on from the overall. Originally designs for workman of many trades the overall was loose longs pants with a loose top bib attached which buckled up over the shoulders.
Dungarees made from denim fabric are durable and long lasting. The front bib is designed with multiple pockets for keeping all those tools handy. The dungarees where bought into mainstream fashion again through the music influence of the 90s. Keeping on trend with the baggy pant legs, major artists caught onto this easy going, cool, utilitarian style.
The ultimate gal pal duo Cher and Deon wearing almost matching bandanas as neck scarf and hair bow (check out our bandana section below) while Cher teams it with a super girly set of pink corduroy dungarees, Cher keeps it cool af with a loose pair of denim dungarees, styled with one strap open (and we spot a cheeky bit of denim on denim there too). On the flip side below is Tupac Shakur donning the ultimate utilitarian overalls personalised with his famous slogan ‘THUG LIFE’
8. Mom Jeans
According to google, mom jeans are ‘women’s jeans in a style regarded as unfashionable or unflattering’…well we very much beg to differ, google! We will admit that, yes, they do potentially make a lady’s heiny look ever so slightly longer and maybe a smidgen flatter, but these high waist straight leg jeans were and still are most certainly fashionable.
As if you needed any more convincing here is three of our fave nineties layyddeeees rocking mom jeans and styling them out with some equally, on point nineties trends. Tyra Banks looking laaaid back as Jackie Ames in The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air, mom jeans teamed with the classic cropped top and baseball jacket combo. Sarah Michelle Geller giving us grunge style with a black sleeveless turtleneck and plaid shirt (which she is definitely about to tie round her waist for ultimate 90’s styling) and most importantly roller blades, because if you weren’t blading to your destinations in the 90s, noone really cared if you arrived at all. And last but most certainly not least, Drew Barrymore looking casj AF in a pair of cut off mom shorts, a black vest and a rad ‘middle finger in the air’ bum bag aka the fanny pack, depending which side of the world you are from and therefore how funny you find the word fanny (sorry mum we can’t be mature ladies all the time)…
Here are a few of our styled up custom mum jeans!
9. Baggy Pants
Denim or parachute all trousers where baggy! And often the baggier the better. Here’s TLC, giving it the sexy tomboy look with luminous parachute pants with matching mesh crop tops…side note Lisa Left Eye’s bunches and bangs are toooo much.
10. Varsity Jackets
Originating from America, and formally known as a “Letterman Jacket”, varsity jackets were worn in American high schools by basketball or football players. Each wool jacket was embroidered with the team name and player’s initials and had cotton ribbed neck and cuffs. Traditionally the American high school students had to earn the letters on the jacket as a sign of a school accomplishment. Varsity jackets were available from various American football teams and you would often see a celeb sporting there favourite teams jacket.
11. 90’s Jerseys
Now you might picked up the pattern already, but the 90’s was when the major boundaries between active/sportswear and fashion were crossed. With that, came the everyday wearing or actual field sports jerseys. The easy going baseball jersey which is short sleeved, made from a lightweight fabric and the basketball vests, well we all know what they are, were popping up on everyone who mattered. Musicians began wearing their favourite basketball, football and baseball teams shirts on photo-shoots and in videos. It is suggested that because the hip-hop culture began the popularity of the basketball jersey, teams started to make the designs of their jerseys more colourful and playful to represent the ‘rappers bling.
One of our biggest loves of the 90’s trends is the Sports Jerseys…here we took our fav’ baseball jersey and Girl Power’ed it up! Adding sexy side zips and mesh panelling this is one we love to wear to the beach or to the club! This has already been a fashion blogger/TV personality favourite. Check out these looks NOW!!
12. 90’s Cartoon Clothes
DISNEY is point of call number 1!! Everything Disney became the forefront of any nineties kids life. Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Lion King, Pocahontas…the list can go on! The best thing about it all was the holiday fun and the clothes. If we find a vintage Disney diamond you can be sure we will be wearing it every day! (of course alongside some Cute.MSTK originals)
We have to say the Disney design team were just having so much fun! The designs had no limit, you can get every character on t-shirts, denim jackets, dungarees, baseball shirts, bomber jackets, we mean any 90’s staple was available with your favourite character emblazoned all over it.
13. The 90’s Crop Top
Cropped tops, belly tops or cut off tops were a staple of the nineties uniform (everything was a staple according to us, we know) and we still consider them to be a fly girl essential today! From Madonna showcasing a mesh cropped vest in her Lucky Star music video of the 80’s to Rihanna rocking a bright orange, just about boob length, cropped top at the grammy’s this year, crop tops come in all shapes and sizes, and are basically just a cuter, much more sassy version of a top. The crop top is exactly what it says on the tin, you can take any style of top and, well, crop it! Stripes and turtle necks were popular variations on the trend, as was wearing a cropped casual vest with low rise belted jeans for maximum midriff exposure (Gwen) .
Check out our range of tops in the Cute Mistake shop. We are sure you will love our 90’s inspired Crops!
14. Oriental Influences
If you weren’t rocking a transfer tribal dragon tattoo on your upper arm in the nineties, then it’s probably because you were too busy getting the real thing…don’t be shy we know you’ve got a Chinese symbol scribed somewhere on your body, which you can’t be 100% sure the meaning of.
Body art was only the start of the late nineties oriental trend, tattoo style dragons were all over everything and girls were keeping bangs out of eyes with chopsticks. Destiny’s Child here doing a pretty good job at staying under the radar as usual in a full HOT pink and gold matching ensemble.
This saucy image of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and her controversial Vampire boyfriend Angel, slung in a sexy manner over the back of a pimped out car is what nineties dreams were made of! Angel’s open neck long sleeve black shirt and their matching voluminous roots and quaffed hair are beaten only by Buffy’s London bus red knee length oriental print fitted dress, with lace hem trim. Scorching! The matching shoes are just the icing on the 90s cake.
15. Slip-Dress-Over-Tee Styling
The perfect way to casual down a slip dress, giving a feminine basic a much more laid back tomboy feel. The trend covered a lot of bases – pyjama style satin dresses, printed mini slip dresses, full length floral spaghetti strap dresses, styled over plan white tees, stripes, turtle necks or long sleeves. Here are three of our ultimate nineties icons showing us how it’s done…
We love a little strappy dress combo. It’s a great way to keep you look feminine but laid back when your not in that Girly mood.
16. 90’s Plaid and Flannel
Plaid was all over the shop in the nineties, most notably in the grudge scene where plaid or flannel shirts were worn tied around the waist as more of a style accessory than a jacket. Here’s our fave mini fly girl Ashley Banks from Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air keeping it super relaxed and maxed with baggy jeans, fresh white creps and a basic white tee.
The plaid skirt/kilt was a cute little addition to the nineties wardrobe, this too was often seen teamed with cropped band tees and leather or denim jackets in true grunge style, or with knee socks and a cropped knitted sweater for the real school girl vibe. Obviously we couldn’t let the phrase ‘school girl plaid’ go by without a shout out to Cher Horowits, the queen on shirt, vest, kilt combos, and when she throws in a matching plaid blazer we practically go weak at the knees.
We haven’t added flannel to our collection yet but watch this space…. We might do soon.
This was for the girls (and guys) with the super lean bods. Lycra is a two-way super stretchy fabric with a shiny and smooth texture. Lycra was the ‘leave nothing to the imagination’ fabric of choice for these skintight styles, it slides over the body like a second skin making it easily available in a bunch of super sassy styles. A hard look to pull off, but when it’s done good, IT’S GOOD!!
5 All-important Accessories of the 90’s
But wait there’s more. A style is nothing without its accessories.
5 All-important Accessories of the 90’s
But wait there’s more. A style is nothing without its accessories.
If we want to talk about platform shoes, and we can’t talk about 90s fashion without doing so, we must bow down to the platform prins themselves, The Spice Girls. We like to imagine a union jack emblazoned London bus time capsule of Spice Girls original 90s attire, stashed full of every variation of platform ever made! They wore trainers, strappy sandals, knee high boots. There was leather, jelly, metallic, multi-coloured and animal print. Every girl between the ages of 7 and 15 wanted a pair, or five pairs…one for each spice alto ego.
Did we mention that Scary Spice often donned over the knee platform boots that matched her sassy, fierce and oh so 90s outfits?
Platform shoes were designed in the 15th century purely for the function of keeping women’s feet dry when the streets were rain flooded, in those days it seemed to be function over style. In the 90s however, it was style over function, practicality, stability and even safety. Here’s Niomi Cambell who, in 1993, famously went ars over tit on a in a pair of 5” platform and 9” heeled faux snake sky scraper shoes.
The two main trends in the headgear department of the nineties were bandanas and caps, don’t get us wrong there was dabbling happening in other head accessory areas. Bucket hats got some serious time…Kangol being the go to brand for all your bucket hat needs, thanks to LL Cool J, who donned the branded hats at various events and in music videos. There were some flat caps knocking around too, a few strange variations of the classic, leather or floppy and over sized being the most bizarre. And Run DMC rocked their fair share of fedoras (staying true to their 80s roots).
The adaptable and versatile bandana really held its own, with the ability to transform to suit whichever nineties vibes you were going for. Celebrities jumped on the trend styling it in their own ways…most notably these two bad asses.
Caps were, still are and will forever be a style staple, everyone is at it. The way you wear it can tell us a lot about a person. Worn forward represents the ‘you will never be as cool as me’ vibe, demonstrated here by NWA (who, if we are honest, you or we will never be as cool as)! Worn backwards was and still is a major ‘laaiiiiiiid back’ style, Jenny Anniston shows us the ultimate cute girl next door look here, with backwards car worn over side plaits, teamed with small round frameless sunglasses and the old faithful 90’s girly girl trend, dress over tee. And last but not least…caps worn sideways, for those days when you’re just feeling a bit kooky, fashioned here by Screech from Saved By The Bell (the ultimate wacko).
3. Jelly Shoes
Rubbery, comfy, jelly goodness. Every 90s girl had a pair of jelly shoes. They were cheap and cheerful which helped increase their popularity! They were made from PVC which came in a mad selection of block colours, iridescent shades and glitter options. There’s a definite classic flat cage style in jelly shoes, but varieties are out there, including the mini heel’s…which were peeeerfect back in the day because it meant you felt like you were in high heels, and that everyone thought you were at least and your mum just went along with it.
The origin of them is a little unclear but some reports suggest they were first created by a French shoe designer in the war to compromise for the leather shortage. (I bet you never knew your jelly shoes were so interesting!)
We know socks may seem just like a practicality, but for nineties fashion, how you wore your socks was a key bit of styling to complete your look.
Look 1/ 90’s street style was sock & trainers. This was more for the hip-hop crowd.
Look 2/ Knee high socks – seen styled on tv programs and films such as clueless this finalised the 90s preppy look.
Look 3/ Over the knee sock’s. As seen here on Baby Spice, they were a ‘cute’ key accessory.
There are too many amazing styles to name them all! What’s your favorite 90’s fashion? Rhinestone sunglasses? Add yours in the comments and you may be lucky enough to see it in our next collection.
Thats all folks!