I don’t think the fashion from any decade fits better into 2021 style than the ‘90s does, in part because the casual style built around basics is so wearable. And lucky for us, it’s making a serious comeback! And with good reason. From Cher Horowitz on Clueless to Rachel's and Monica’s style on Friends, the ‘90s was filled with lots of great fashion, perfect for inspiration if your closet has been in need of a revamp.
The 1990s saw big changes in fashion with the rise of the supermodel and street style influencing designers (rather than the other way around) for the first time. Supermodels and fashion were becoming such a big part of pop-culture for the first time that George Michael decided to have the Big Five (otherwise known as Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangalista, Naomi Campbell, and Claudia Schiffer) star in his music video for “Freedom!”. And, of course, icons we know and love today like the one and only Gisele Bündchen were just starting out.
Thanks to the internet, trends of decades past come back into style all the time when seen on it-girls and influencers on TikTok. Despite the fact that lots of time has passed since the ‘90s, the influence that the fashion of the time holds still remains. So for the best looks to bring into your 2021 wardrobe, keep reading.
The Layered White Tee
Nothing says '90s like a sundress with a white tee underneath. Layering is a great way to make one dress into lots of different outfits, so take your inspo from Topanga and layer up!
The Lumberjack Shirt
Did you even grow up in the '90s if you didn't wear one of your dad's old plaid shirts over... well, everything? Instead of grabbing a jacket, next time throw on a good fleece flannel instead.
Kate Moss has long been the reigning queen of the slip dress, but luckily she’s kind enough to let the rest of us have a crack at it. This dress style is super versatile and works really well as a layering piece. Dress it up with a pair of heels or dress it down with a t-shirt and sneakers. Whichever path you take, a slip dress will be your best friend!
No, Rachel’s hair on Friends did not just magically land in that effortlessly perfect updo. She had the help of a little thing called the claw clip. You’ve likely seen this hair accessory trending on Instagram before. It’s a real favorite with Gen Z, but as you may well remember, they weren’t the first to discover it. And along with much of the internet, current it-girls Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner have been following in Aniston's footsteps.
Plaid and Pleats
I just know that Cher’s computer outfit generator would land her on a plaid skirt — even in 2021! While you might think it’s school-girlish, it really has stood the test of time and, when worn right, can avoid the dreaded “I feel like I’m in a cringey Halloween costume” moment. (Check out the Alice + Olivia Fall 2021 Collection for more plaid inspo.)
But if the plaid just really isn’t your thing, one ‘90s style trend that I’m excited about is just pleated skirts in general. You can find one at a length you feel comfortable in and, bam, you’ve got a great outfit! You can pair it with anything from a sweatshirt to a nice blouse.
Skinny jeans might have been all the rage for some time now, but they’re apparently out. Don’t worry, we have a list of all the ways to wear boyfriend jeans and other loose styles. But the quintessential '90s jeans were super high-waisted with a loose leg. Maybe your mom did know something about style.
And we have more denim! The ‘90s were all about basics. A good pair of overalls will last you a lifetime and add versatility to your denim, especially if you’re someone who wears jeans most days (I know I do).
Crop Tops (and Sweaters)
The '90s and 2000s knew the power of the crop. There's really nothing cuter than a pastel cropped sweater with your pearls and kitten heels. Trust me.
Who doesn't have a childhood photo with at least one insane sweater? You can't be a '90s kid without it. Pair one with your new boyfriend jeans for the ultimate casual comfort look.
In keeping with the basics theme, the ‘90s were all about oversized crewnecks that have that certain vintage look that’s become popularized today by influencers like Emma Chamberlain. It’s not only hard to find a vintage Nike crewneck because of her, but they are also really expensive when you do find one.
Jennifer Aniston just casually wore one of the most ‘90s outfits of all time. That photo of her is so iconic that Selena Gomez actually recreated the outfit over Memorial Day last year. Now that’s what I call influence. Today you can spot the style on models like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid. It’s one of the easiest ways to give your outfit a ‘90s inspired twist.
‘90s hair was all about that big bouncy supermodel blowout à la Cindy Crawford. You’ll need a blow dryer and a round brush so you can create volume and a subtle wave in the hair. And we know heat can be damaging, so be sure to use styling products that have heat protectant. One that I love is the ProStyle Brazilian Blowout Cream.
‘90s style is built around basics so it’s able to stand the test of time and is just as on trend in 2021 as it was years ago. It’s personally one of my favorite decades of fashion that I love for its wearability today. So give yourself a blowout, put on a vintage crewneck with some flare jeans, watch Clueless, and enjoy this trend while it lasts because the next thing to be resurrected might not be so cute.
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