Hello my fellow readers,
Here’s the third post in the “Fashion Through the Decades” mini-series. Today’s post is dedicated to one of the most racially-inclusive, culturally-diverse decades in the 20th century. The 1990s were unlike anything you have seen before. No matter what type of music you listened to, or what your favorite fashion trend was, the 1990s were able to serve anything for you.
From Grunge to Gangsta Rap, the music influenced the fashion, along with having a grand impact on social culture. 2Pac, The Notorious B.I.G., Coolio, Aaliyah, Nirvana, Selena, Britney Spears, N’Sync, Backstreet Boys, Ace of Base-all of these were just a few names within the music industry that gathered large followings around them. With Nirvana being the rebellious, truth-slapping band, to N’Sync and Backstreet Boys being the origins of the famous “boy bands,” every individual, big or small, had a niche to fit into. Just as music, fashion also separated into its own “niches.”
Young and famous singers were bringing their own fashion trends into the world. Thanks to Britney’s “…Baby One More Time,” the girls at school were aiming to find scrunchies to tie around their pigtails, meanwhile, Aaliyah’s and Destiny’s Child’s Tommy Hilfiger outfits resulted in such popularity, that it eventually brought a large increase in profit to Mr.Tommy Hilfiger and his brand. TV shows and movies, however, were also significant influencers on fashion trends.
TV show, “Friends,” inspired by the less-famous sitcom, “Living Single,” got every young woman wishing to be either like Monica (Courtney Cox) or Rachel (Jennifer Aniston). Of course, there were a few, who liked Phoebe (Liza Kudrow), yet Monica and Rachel were the “perfect” girls. Put-together, living-in-Manhattan Monica, or the story of riches-to-rags-back-to-riches Rachel were the definition of what some women’s ideal lives would be. The wardrobe of the actresses, however, was one of the many things that attracted young women to the show. Monica’s shirt and mom-jeans pairing, or Rachel’s mini-skirts and leg-warmers outfits, are still widely known to this day. In real life, however, the actresses stuck to a color scheme, which mainly consisted of the neutral shades, such as beige, black, navy, and brown. A complete polar opposite of the 80s, that’s for sure!
Movies, such as “Clueless” and “10 Things I Hate About You,” were the epitomes of teenage culture. Cher’s enviable closet and Dionne’s quotes were just some of the iconic things that attracted millions of American adolescents to the TV-screen. The romantic comedy, “10 Things I Hate About You,” on the other hand, focuses on a more different side of women. Independent? Smart? Do not want to date and are rebellious? Or want to date, but not the stereotypical, “macho” boy? What are they, crazy? But luckily, young women, who could relate to the main character, Kat Stratford, were finally represented on a movie screen, showing another, less familiar side to women. The outfits in “Clueless” and the prom scene in “10 Things I Hate About You,” caused the fashion world to go crazy with velvet, black panties, and checkered print.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, musical icons, such as Selena, made Latin women, who were less represented in the media, love themselves and become proud of their culture. Since my friend, Denise, is a young, Dominican woman, who has a connection to her culture, I decided to find an outfit that would be wearable, yet inspired by Selena and the culture of the 1990s (especially since she is a fan of Selena). The outfit we took inspiration from could be found here.
Since the 90s are back, or at least the trends from them seem to be back, here are three ways you could bring the decade into your daily look.
Denim (What else is new?)
Denim, whether in jeans, overalls, or skirts, became more popularized in the 1990s. Jeans are comfortable, practical, and if experimented with, they could become a statement piece. Besides, various retailers are now offering not-your-mother’s-denim, such as Topshop, which has recently been selling sequined denim jackets, sequined jeans, jeans and denim skirts with floral appliques, and more. If you are wearing a pair of your favorite denim jeans while reading this sentence, then congratulations! You’re channeling the 90s in you (or you just like jeans).
Every top shall be a cropped top!
In “Friends,” Rachel Green (Jennifer Aniston) wears plenty of cropped tops. In the colder months, she opts out for something warmer, like a cropped sweater, meanwhile in the warmer months, she picks a shirt that barely reaches her belly button. Selena Quintanilla, for instance, wore bras when she performed, and for her casual looks, she would take an oversized white shirt, and tie it around her waist. Maybe it was not as cropped as an actual crop top, but the idea was still alive and well.
Stay on the neutral side
The 1990s were not playing around with color. They went safe or they went home, completely opposite to the 1980s. Yet, the color scheme was manageable and easy to work with. Beiges, browns, blacks, blues, and whites were all colors widely worn on and off the TV screens. It all varied on how someone felt. Whether they were channeling their inner Grunge, or wanted to be one of the friends in “Friends,” the clothing stayed on the neutral side. The only two exceptions to this rule were Gwen Stefani and The Spice Girls. Gwen was a punk-rock princess, and The Spice Girls were British pop-queens, period.
Go out into the world confidently today because believe me, you are most likely wearing one item that could be related to the 1990s.
Styling by Sophia Ostapenko in collaboration with Denise Todman
Photography by Vanessa Flores & Sophia Ostapenko
Videography by Vanessa Flores
Thank you for reading, and go get your 1990s on!
Sophia from Fashion Caption.