In the world of style, the saying, “what’s old can be made new again” is proven every few decades. Fashion cycles often breathe new life into stale trends, while running on a limitless source of fuel: nostalgia. Right now, it’s the ’90s that are experiencing a resurgence. Kids who grew up wearing baggy jeans, over-sized blazers, chokers, white keds, and anything with a smiley face attached are reaching adulthood and they’re aching to take back a bit of their old school trends. The easiest way to get it? Bringing back a little bit of style from that familiar era and then adapting it for now.
From chokers to crop tops and platform shoes, here are a few ’90s fashion trends that are making a comeback.
Bandanas have been around for a long time but they seemed to peak in the ’90s, especially with the rise of hip-hop. Now, bandanas are being used as a statement piece to resist a presidency intent on curbing social freedoms. During this year’s New York Fashion Week, Business of Fashion founder Imran Amed launched a tied together movement using white bandanas to symbolize the industry’s commitment to unity and inclusivity during Fashion Month. Designers like Prabal Gurung, Tommy Hilfiger, Thakoon, Phillip Lim, and Diane von Furstenberg all sported the trend, with Hilfiger incorporating it into his looks on the runway. But the bandana isn’t just leaning political. Louis Vuitton reformed it to serve as a neck-tie replacement a couple of years ago, Coach, Hermes, and Pucci all styled lines with the color-popping accessories, and celebrities like Rihanna have begun to prove the bandana is the perfect bridge when mixing high fashion and ultra-cool street wear.
Different styles suited different people in the ’90s when it came to chokers: puka shell bands for the surfer crowd, spiky dog collars for the Goths, and tattoo-like chokers for pretty much every angsty middle-school aged girl who’d one day rock out to Avril Lavigne.
Now the trend, which started popping back up late last year, is shooting for classier look. Oscar de La Renta’s Fall collection spotlighted the neckwear with a romantic, elegant twist while Alexander Wang harkened back to its punk-rock origins with clunky, belt-like designs. Rihanna teamed up with Puma for a gothic-inspired choker to accent her latest stylings and Balmain took things to the extreme with its warrior-like gold cuffs wrapped around models like Kendall Jenner during its Spring showcase.
This year, with the necklace still gracing runways for brands like Dior and Celine, expect to see the choker evolve again to something more delicate and a bit daintier.
View this post on Instagram
Hens at Chatsworth House @chatsworthofficial are captured in the #GucciCruise17 campaign, with a leather jacket and pleated skirt featuring Sylvie stripe trim, and the rainbow platform sneakers. #GucciPlaces Creative director: #AlessandroMichele Photographer: @_glen_luchford Art director: @christophersimmonds
There’s one thing that never goes out of style, and that’s the human desire to appear just a few inches taller than we actually are. Most women accomplish this with stilettos – an invention crafted by the devil himself to punish those of us born below average height – but before we were cramming our toes into death traps, we were standing tall thanks to platform shoes. Vivienne Westwood and the Spice Girls made them popular in the ’90s, ushering in the platform sneaker. Now, the flatform (sandals with platforms) and the classier platform pump have become the go-to shoes for stylish people everywhere.
Vogue declared last year the year of the platform, and for good reason. Everyone from Miu Miu to Balenciaga and Marc Jacobs hopped on the eye-raising trend and it was Gucci that kicked it off with their Elton John-inspired Spring collection. The musician – also a fan on the clunky kicks – served as the muse for the brand’s line and that influence was seen most noticeably in their choice of footwear. Six-inched wedge sandals and red leather pumps adorned with eclectic rhinestones harked back to Sir Elton’s fashionable foray in the ’70s, while Coach chose to use their collection to highlight the punkish ’90s era of the shoe’s reign.
Sure, they’re bulky, unattractive, and still just as dangerous as pumps, but what’s a sprained ankle when you can reach the top shelf of any major department store?
The Slip Dress
There’s a reason the fashion industry continues to fawn over Kate Moss. Besides being a legend on the runway, she also introduced one of the biggest trends of the ’90s, one that lives on today. The slip dress Moss wore to a fashion party in 1993 made headlines thanks to its simplicity (and sheerness). Stars like Gwyneth Paltrow and Winona Ryder emerged soon after, sporting the thin, unassuming look.
Satin, lace, velvet — a slip dress came in many different colors and types of fabric but it was adored because of its versatility and modern edge, which explains why it’s returned to popularity today. Last year, Burberry and Saint Laurent showcased the style in their spring shows before designers like Alexander Wang – who gave it an S&M inspired twist – and Narciso Rodriguez debuted it in their Fall collections. With minimalism making a comeback, the slip dress is the easiest go-to when it comes to wardrobe staples thanks to its flexibility and simplicity, but figuring out how to wear it without looking like you just rolled out of bed in the morning is on you.
Are crop tops just shirts cut in half? Sure. Are they only intended for teen, tweens, and people who religiously work out? Definitely, but that didn’t stop them from becoming a fad in the ’90s. Blame it on Drew Barrymore, Gwen Stefani, and Sarah Jessica Parker. Anything that was worn on Sex And The City became popular, fast, and Carrie Bradshaw loved showing her midriff almost as much as she loved ridiculously priced shoes.
Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid are still rocking the crop top, as are other models walking for brands like Tory Burch, Alexander Wang, and Blumarine. A few designers are taking the trend a step further, focusing on bra-tops – which are exactly what you think they are. Victoria Beckham chose to pair silky bras with men’s trousers for her Spring collection while Oscar de la Renta and Altuzarra opted for bold prints and frilly pieces for their version of the trend. Less is more as they say.
As ridiculous as some of the most popular ’90s fashion trend were – you’ll never convince us that bucket hats are actually cool, no matter how many odes Jay-Z decides to rap – we should be happy that they’re back. The ’90s were a strange decade to grow up in –wars, financial crises, the impending doom of Y2K – and fashion reflected that. Grunge and Goth fought against the establishment, giving a voice to rebellion and teenage angst. The fluffed up trends of the ’80s – padded shoulders, neon leg warmers, and hairspray hardened up-dos – were stripped down for something more authentic. Clothes weren’t just fashionable anymore, they were a way to convey identity.
No matter how many Kendall Jenners and Gigi Hadids of the world try to own chokers, platform shoes, and brown lipstick, those fashion statements belong to a decade that shaped how we view clothes as part of projecting identity. That’s reason enough to start rocking them again. They’re also hella fly.