Butterfly clips, body glitter and literal stacks of skinny bangles jangling with every step, there’s no denying that the 90s were iconic. Hungover from the voluminous trends of the 80s, people were ready to throw away their shoulder-padded blazers and slip into something more grunge… at least on the catwalks.
Off the runway, the rest of us enjoyed billowing pant legs and a lot of chokers, content to consume megababes like Cindy Crawford and Elle MacPherson in all their printed glory, while copying Jennifer Anniston’s now-famous cut. The 90s were relatable like that.
Fast forward 20 years and here we are again. While Jennifer Anniston still graces our screens and Elle MacPherson is still a force of nature in her late 50s, things have changed. And they haven’t.
Let’s take a look at five of our favourite 90s styles that are making a splash in 2021.
1. Baggy Pants
Big loose and baggy pants were prevalent on the streets back in the 90s. An icon of both style and comfort, baggy pants quickly became one of the most loved fashion items of the decade.
Cinched at the waist, these pants hug your hips comfortably and give your legs room to breathe with their wide cut. They also came in a large variety of colours and designs, which is what made them so popular. Green, red, and pink are some of the colours that you’d see these in – other than the traditional blue.
The two decades following the 90s saw the rise of skinny jeans. While this form-fitting style ruled for quite some time, the 2020s bought the baggy pants back. You’re likely to see baggy pants in even more artistic designs now too!
Baggy pants decorated with hearts or flowers are quickly rising in popularity among young adults these days. In addition, custom baggy pants have become quite a trend and a way for individuals to express their personality through their clothes.
Also – most baggy pants come fully equipped with pockets, making them extremely practical to wear as well. This also makes them great to wear with small bags that may not be able to hold most of your items.
All these elements allowed baggy pants to become one of the 90s most iconic fashion statements, and they’re back with a bang in 2021!
If you’re looking to wear baggy pants, we recommend wearing them with a cropped top, tube top, or a camisole shirt (as made fashionable by the legendary Jennifer Aniston). They can also be worn with oversized denim jackets (an iconic Hailey Bieber look) to help you stay both warm and stylish on a cold day!
2. Statement Jewellery
Accessories can make or break an outfit. They play a key role in the fashion world, and just like with clothes, we see many trends come and go in the world of accessories. In the 90s, one such trend that took the fashion world by storm was 90s minimalist jewellery – and it’s back in 2021.
In addition to baggy pants, the 90s were characterised by selecting minimalist statement pieces, including chain necklaces, simple ear studs, and sets of bangles. Outfits in the 90s often consisted of one big statement jewellery piece.
The prevalence of this trend can be attributed mostly to the 90s grunge scene, which was all about meshing edgy clothing, like fishnet tights and leather jackets, with only a handful of statement accessories. 90s grunge fashion was accentuated with the help of simple black lace chokers, cross necklaces, and thick leather bands typically worn across the wrist or even as belts.
Style icons of the 2020s, such as Bella Hadid and Kendal Jenner, have been pioneers in bringing this 90s trend back. They’ve traded in bright rhinestones for simpler options reminiscent of what we would see in the 90s, such as chunky silver hoops or a simple chained necklace.
Where the 2010s called for excessive layering and flashy accessories, the 20s are now all about paying homage to the concept of “less is more.” The 90s were never about heavily layered necklines or excessive frills and rhinestones. The latter was more common in the 2000s and 2010s.
The 90s also saw an increase in the number of men donning jewellery. Most of this was inspired by the rise of boy bands like the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC, to name a few.
However, this minimalist 90s trend doesn’t just stop at jewellery. That’s what’s so exciting about fashion trends – they leave no stone unturned. The less-is-more attitude also became common with purses.
Women swapped out large, chunky bags for much smaller pieces. The 90s emphasised smaller purses, many of which were just large enough to carry your favourite gloss and a bank card. Despite their small size, these bags were quite the style statement and came in all sorts of shapes, colours, and sizes.
These small purses have returned in the last year. However, their designs are now slightly modified. Current designers have updated the minimalist purse design to accommodate any large smartphones we may need to carry.
If you’re a stickler for true 90s fashion, you’ll also find an exceptional number of stores selling the tiniest bags that won’t do much heavy lifting. You may have to pop your phone into the back pocket of your baggy jeans, instead.
3. White Tanks and Tops
It’s easy to see that minimalism was the overarching theme of fashion trends in the 90s. This was the time when the likes of Mariah Carey and Jennifer Anniston donned the streets in plain white tank tops and tees, saying goodbye to the flashy clothing celebrities would often be expected to wear.
Fashion icons paired these simple white tops with trendy baggy jeans or stylish skirts in multiple colours, for a fresh look. The white top has remained a fashion staple for years but has definitely reached the peak of its popularity in the last few years with multiple fashion brands releasing their own versions of the standard white tee.
If you’re trying to stay true to 90s fashion, switch out a casual, sleeved t-shirt for a white, ribbed cropped top instead. Or, you can try wearing a white tube top with a pair of baggy pants and a statement necklace, blending multiple trends into one look.
Many fashion enthusiasts pair an all-white top with an oversized leather jacket during the cooler months. This look helps fend off the cold and adds a bold edge to your outfit, while simultaneously remaining true to 90s fashion.
4. The Leather Jacket
When it comes to fashion items, leather jackets are in a league of their own. Not only were they crucial to the 90s fashion scene, but they have also become a timeless staple in modern fashion over time. Each decade has churned out new cuffs and cuts to reclaim this classic fashion piece.
The post-world war fashion scene saw a significant rise in the popularity of bomber jackets. However, the 90s featured a more sophisticated remake of this classic piece, featuring clean cuts and distinct lines, which made the leather jacket appear more blazer-like than before.
Needless to say, this style has reinforced itself today, especially with regards to the clean cuts – as opposed to thick and puffy jackets popular before the 90s.
A lover of leather jackets, Cindy Crawford used to blend leather jackets into most of her daily looks. She took pride in pairing a leather jacket with simple tops, including all-white tanks and loose-fitting pants. Paired with simple statement jewellery, the final outfit made for an iconic look that has become one of the most prominent references to 90s fashion.
So, next time you need to choose a piece of outerwear, consider wearing a leather jacket to add a bold edge to your outfit.
Leather jackets are also an excellent option if you want to pay homage to the 90s grunge and rock music scene. The same jacket can also be flaunted with a more laid-back, casual look.
The beauty of the leather jacket lies in its ability to easily fuse with any outfit, which is one of the reasons why this clothing item has failed to go out of style despite being around for decades!
5. Cropped Jumpers
One of the most popular trends to make a comeback are cropped jumpers, which were popular in the 90s. Today, they’ve become a staple item of casual wear, making them a brilliant choice for almost any occasion.
One of the best things about the cropped jumper is its ability to be worn with virtually any outfit. You can style one with a short skirt for a night out with the girls or wear one to Sunday brunch coupled with nude makeup! The versatility of this piece means it has rapidly reestablished itself in many wardrobes.
This 90s statement piece looks great when paired with skirts and pants, allowing individuals to create multiple outfits with the same jumper. You can also find them in multiple styles. From button-down jumpers to knitted jumpers! They’re available in a vast range of styles and colours.
There’s no denying that 90s trends are making a comeback in 2021. Over the last year, outfits with ribbed white tees, cropped jumpers, and colourful baggy pants have been making rounds on the streets and social media. So, how many of these 5 styles are you going to be trying out?
Kate has over a decade of fashion experience, covering everything from catwalk looks to cost-effective catalogues. When she isn’t writing about clothes, Kate loves watching bad rom-coms and relaxing with her loved ones.