Fashion of the 90s
The fashion in the 1990s was the genesis of a sweeping shift in the western world: the beginning of the adoption of tattoos, body piercings aside from ear piercing and to a lesser extent, other forms of body modification such as branding.
In the early 1990s, several late 1980s fashions remained very stylish among both sexes. However, the popularity of grunge and alternative rock music helped bring the simple, unkempt grunge look into the mainstream by 1994. The anti-conformist approach to fashion lead to the popularisation of the casual chic look; this included T-shirts, jeans, hoodies, and trainers, a trend which continued into the 2000s.
Overall, the 1990s saw a return to the minimalist fashion of the 1950s and 1970s, contrasted to the more elaborate and flashy trends of the 1980s. Additionally, fashion trends throughout the decade recycled styles from previous decades, notably the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.
Slip dresses first became widely worn in the mid-90s, as part of the underwear-as-outerwear trend. In 1994, young women in the UK and America wore tailored skirt and trouser suits, short skirts and dresses, baby doll dresses, animal prints, hot pants, slim pants, bright colors (even in colder months), long and short skirts, and high heels. High-shine fabrics, such as satin, metallics, sequins, microfiber, vinyl, and silk became very prominent on both clubwear and work wear. The most common look among
young women that year was the short black slip dress worn over a tight, undersized white T-shirt. Loungewear generally consisted of black Lycra leggings, large T-shirts, oversized sweatshirts, and baggy sweaters while at home or relaxing during the weekends.
A very popular look among young women and girls from 1994-95 was the “sexy school girl” look. This trend consisted of tartan minikilts, undersized sweaters, short slip dresses, baby doll tees, knee highs, thigh highs, miniature backpacks, overalls, tights, pantyhose, and chunky shoes. The sexy school girl look was prominently portrayed in films with female leads such as Clueless, Empire Records, and The Craft.
Among women over 30, 1950s ladylike fashions made a comeback in the United States. This included pencil skirts, cardigans, girdles, petticoats, satin or lace Wonderbra lingerie, and fitted suits. Popular accessories that went hand-in-hand with this revival included brooches, white gloves, sheer stockings, diamonds, sequins, and red lipstick. For more casual occasions, women opted for lean capri pants, polka dot blouses, belted trench coats, 1940s style sandals, white canvas shoes, and leather jackets.
Popular shoes and accessories during the mid-1990s in Europe and North America included Loafers, Mary Jane’s, suede sneakers, mules, clogs, knee high boots, jelly shoes, Go-go boots, black court shoes, casual sneakers like Keds, silver jewelry, dainty earrings and necklaces, conch shell necklaces, berets, straw hats, floppy hats, gold jewelry, and hipster belts. Navel piercings had started to gain popularity around this time.
Late 1990s (1997-99)