Originally written November 13, 2017
With Black Friday upon us and the shopping season about to kick off it seems the perfect time to mention my recent 90s fashion inspiration.
For the past few years, browsing through Urban Outfitters and now H&M is like traveling in a time machine and visiting my college days. The clothes are literal copies of what we wore back then. Somewhere a factory that was shut down 20 years ago has been dusted off and reopened. Someone has flipped the “on” switch and the machines are once again happily churning out the exact same products for a new generation.
Not that I’m complaining, far from it. The 90’s actually had some pretty cute stuff (think 90210 and Melrose Place) and it was much easier to wear than 80’s clothes. In fact, when I’m in these stores I sometimes end up buying the items I think I can still get away with at my age. Other items I just look at and for a moment I’m back in the 90’s. I catch myself staring at a top and remembering all the raves/nightclubs I attended wearing a top just like it. A corduroy miniskirt might remind me of the times my friends and I used fake ID’s to buy beer at the Discount Liquor Mart. A pair of ripped or frayed jeans could take me back to the time we went crowd-surfing at the Nirvana concert.
Following is a trip down memory lane. Maybe even a chance to bring some nostalgia back to your own closet.
1. Doc Martens are making a large comeback. In fact, I sometimes work in an office on the top floor of their headquarters in the heart of London’s vibrant Camden town. Every employee there sports some of the coolest looking Docs I’ve ever seen. Not just the regular black workman’s high-tops but all colors, pattern and styles. There are even special limited editions such as Beavis & Butthead and New Order. Wear them with jeans or dresses or long skirts just like back in the days when Lalapalooza came to town every summer
2. Baby Tees are back and just as cute as always. Pair them underneath a dress, overalls or a plaid shirt if, like me, you don’t feel you can get away with wearing them alone these days. If you can wear them alone, that’s great too. It’s all about preference, really. We can explore the “age-appropriate” debate in another post.
3. See-through Mesh Tops – Honestly I never imagined that this whimsical fad would come back to haunt us. I remember wearing my black mesh top with just a black bra underneath. These days if I ever revisited the trend, it would be in an opaque blouse with patches of mesh.
4. Animal Print anything – Note I said “anything” not “everything.” Use it sparingly and this could look great on any generation. Pair a shirt with solid color pants or jeans or get a pair of those cute leopard print shoe-boots that are popping up everywhere.
5. Adidas Tops – God I loved mine. I’m talking about the kind with the double white stripes going from the shoulders to the end of the sleeves. So many nights dancing in that cute little crop top that cut mere inches below my bra line but was spandex so it stayed in place. Now they come like that but there is also the regular-sized t-shirt version. Both styles are pretty popular right now.
6. Palazzo Pants or whatever they are called now are ballooning out everywhere. I imagine that these cotton, flowing pants that echo the days of MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice are very comfortable though I have not yet brought myself to buy a new pair.
7. Faux Fur Jackets of all shapes, sizes and colors – I feel so sneaky like I cheated the system here because I still have one of mine from the 90’s and call it “vintage” now. I saved money there but then I went out and bought another one that I wear just as much.
8. Corduroy Jumper/Mini-dresses Wear them with baby tees in the Fall and with sweaters, black tights and boots in the winter. I have seen a lot of these around lately on the hanger as well as on children, mothers and everything in between. At first I didn’t think I could wear one of these now but recently I saw one on a woman about my age and she looked great. Next time I’m on one of my nostalgia tours I just may pick one up.
9. Black Floral Dresses I love this look because you can be feminine without being too feminine if that makes sense. There are so many different styles that there’s bound to be a style that works for every type of person. They look great paired with jean or leather jackets, black tights, boots or any combination.
10. Maxi Skirts – Talk about 90210. I think this was a staple for Shannen Doherty, Jennie McCarthy and Tory Spelling. These skirts make a great staple now as well and they are comfortable, versatile and can be worn by women who want to look like they grew up but didn’t grow old.
11. Oversized Jean Jackets - This one I feel was a carry-over from the 80’s into the early 90’s but yes they were around then and they are back now. They can be worn at any age and let’s face it, the larger version is much more comfortable than its fitted counterpart.
12. Overalls - Just as back in the day, I wear mine now constantly. I would wear them every day if I could get away with it. They are so comfortable and they hide all of the parts of me that have, lets say, “shifted” since the 90’s. Pair them with baby tees, tank tops, long sleeves, sweaters underneath. Throw a cardigan or a plaid shirt or leather jacket over them. Wear them with boots in the winter or flip flops in the summer. You can’t really go wrong.
13. Biker Jackets - A classic. Do these ever truly go out of style? Pair them with mini-dresses or maxi-skirts or jeans. They keep you warm and always look great. I’ve seen them on people of all ages including a man who must have been in his 70’s leaving the Tube station this morning on my way to the Doc Marten building…