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'90s Comfort and a Touch of Fantasy

A dream for a wardrobe full of the edginess of the '90s mixed with the fantasy romance of movies and games.

By Eryn MillikenPublished 2 years ago 4 min read
'90s Comfort and a Touch of Fantasy
Photo by nic on Unsplash


That’s quite a word in my family.

My grandmother always looked like she stepped off the cover of Vogue magazine, even the time we took a tour of an historic prison and went underground into the copper mine where the prisoners worked. She wore high heels and somehow managed to walk through the place at least as well as I did in sneakers.

For most of my childhood and through my 20’s my family owned a bridal shop. I started modeling for it when was just a kid, eventually wearing my first wedding gown as a teenager. As the baby of the family, seeing me in the beautiful gowns made my family cry.

We also dressed up every year for the family get-togethers on Christmas Eve and Easter at the very least. I loved picking out a pretty dress every year in December, often looking for something red so it could match the decorations. The girls and women wore dresses or skirts, and the men and boys wore button-downs and often ties and jackets. Add to that that I went to six (yes, 6) proms and an additional formal in high school, where I got to wear sparkly pretty dresses, and I was hooked. I LOVE dressing up now and then.

A Child of the ‘90s

At the same time, as a child of the ’90s, I like comfortable clothes that are sometimes baggy, sometimes skin-tight, but always a little bit edgy. I grew up alongside Buffy (she’s only a couple of years older than me, after all) and Blossom (I wanted to be Six), wanted to look like Rachel (I had the hair!), and loved My So-Called Life. To this day I adore Julia Styles and Heath Ledger and 10 Things I Hate About You is still near the top of my all-time favorite moves.

Also, who can forget American Pie, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the movie - no matter how bad it was), Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, and - even though it was 2001 - Save the Last Dance? Crop tops, loose jeans, holy jeans, halter tops, combining tight and loose together, as well as bright and washed out colors. As much as the ’90s are remembered for grunge, there was SO much more than that to the decade! Who can forget when Buffy ripped a slit in her dress so she could dust some vamps? Willow's semi-corset tops and loose skirts, or Kat Stratford's tank tops and cargo pants.

What also comes with the ‘90s is the hard edge with Edward Scissorhands and Sleepy Hollow (anything Johnny Depp, honestly) Brandon Lee and The Crow, The Craft, and others, and you get the amazing edgy and dark styles that I also loved but wasn’t honestly really brave enough to wear. (Oh how I wish I had!) Chunky tall black boots, strappy black dresses, black crop tops with mini skirts, buckles, and heavy eyeliner… I could go on and on about the rebellious goth styles that a lot of people kind of laugh nervously talking about these days like they would prefer to forget it ever happened, but I still love.

Fairytale Romance

But now to make it even more confusing.

This one harkens back to the actual dressing-up of my childhood but takes it even a step further. The ethereal flowing dresses of Lord of the Rings and The Princess Bride - the fairytale elegance that both explores the ideas of times-gone-by without the pain and passing out of things like corsets and pinchy shoes. To an extent, you could even pull in some of the clothing I’ve recently come to find in games like Genshin Impact and some mobile games as well.

Maybe it’s not the most functional of styles, so I can’t say I’d want to wear it every day, but it’s beautiful and creative, so much more so than a simple pair of jeans ever could be, and that’s why I love it. Laced dresses, capes, tails (clothes, not necessarily real ones), big-brimmed hats, open-necked shirts, and, of course, swords and wands. For the most part, it would never work in winter without someone creating coats and warmer dresses and tunics, but instead of finding that to be a detriment, I get excited thinking about the possibilities it could provide a great designer.

Is it practical? Probably not, at least most of the time. But I do see some of it when I gleefully wander through Renaissance Faires (pre-COVID that is), and talented cosplayers I know have created some truly impressive pieces as well. It makes me nostalgically miss the days when people would dress up to leave the house or have a party.

A Girl Can Dream, Right?

Do I think either of these styles will easily exist in reality any time soon? Especially together? No, not really. But I can, and do, dream of the possibility of days in the future where form and function carry equal weight to designers, and we might be able to have fabulously beautiful clothes that are at times functional, and others just straight-up beautiful and dreamy. I see no reason why I can’t have both all wrapped into one amazing wardrobe!


Please note: I do not own any rights to images used, they are for demonstrational purposes only.


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