9 of the biggest ’90s fashion trends that are making a comeback


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If you’ve been watching TikTok or Instagram (or flipping through a fashion magazine) lately, you’ve probably already noticed that the ’90s are back. Over 20 years after the decade ended, many of her most iconic designs (think: scrunchies and mom jeans) that were once mocked are now being embraced by General Z.

Such is the cyclical nature of fashion, and with looks—from grunge to goth to hip-hop and more—throughout the decade, there’s certainly plenty of inspiration to draw from. Here are just a few of the many ’90s trends that have re-entered the culture recently. Just don’t wear them all at once!

Scrunchies

Pro tip: You can accessorize by wearing one on your wrist as well. / Ivy / Amazon

It was once famously mocked in a 2003 episode of Sex and the City, this simple and elastic fabric hair tie has become popular again. More comfortable and forgiving on sensitive manes than the typical elastic, the scrunchie has been rediscovered for its versatility, ease of wear and ability to add an extra no-nonsense style to a casual outfit.

STORE: Amazon

Brown Birkenstocks on a white ground.

A true classic never goes out of fashion. / Birkenstock / Urban Outfitters

Easily recognizable by their cork soles and buckles, these comfortable sandals were a ’90s hippie wardrobe staple, but today you’re more likely to see them worn by a trendy crowd. Birkenstocks fit the so-called “normcore” concept of modest and comfortable clothing of the 90s, while actually being subversively stylish. While classic Birkenstocks come in pale tones, today you can buy them in a wide variety of colors and styles.

STORE: Urban Outfitters

Dr. 1460 Polished Leather Platform Boot  Marten on white surface.

Channel your inner Dara with some iconic Docs. / Dr. Marten’s / Urban Outfitters

Platform shoes, which had previously been fashionable in the 70s, reached new heights (pun intended) in the 90s. Platforms were seen everywhere, from the Doc Martens of grunge kids to the high-top sneakers of ravers (and the Spice Girls!), and even the Mary Janes and loafers of trend-loving teenage girls. Given the popularity of the ’00s-era stilettos with crazy styles, it makes sense that the wildest and most comfortable clunky shoes would finally come back in style. And unlike in the ’90s, you can get Docs made from vegan leather now, as the brand has offered this as an option since 2011.

STORE: Urban Outfitters

Elegant Spice at the VH1 Party

If Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice) wore them back in the day, you know they were on trend. / Dave Hogan/GettyImages

These seductive necklaces, which often have a goth look, were all the rage in the 90s. In particular, choke tattoos—a plastic, cheaply made variation on the theme—were particularly ubiquitous later in the decade. These chokers, as well as the more traditional velvet and rhinestone ones, have become popular again, mostly worn by teenage girls and young women looking to add an attractive accessory to their respective outfits.

STORE: Amazon

Mom jeans (or as they were known in the 90s, just “jeans”) have moved away from being the object of ridicule (mostly mocked in 2004). Saturday Night Live first sketch above) for a cute girl staple. Jeans used to be high-waisted and rigid by default, but as more stretchy fabrics hit the scene, skinny jeans became popular and by the ’00s they were inevitable. Low rises were also the norm back then, and the high waists of so-called mom jeans have proven to be more flattering and comfortable for many people, and can have a surprisingly timeless feel.

Store: Levi’s

Princess Diana in cycling shorts.

Style icon Princess Diana helped make bike shorts very stylish, even for casual wear. / Anwar Hussein/GettyImages

These stretchy, skin-tight shorts were the pinnacle of athleisure before the word existed. Often paired with t-shirts or oversized sweatshirts, bike shorts are comfortable and casual, with a touch of sexiness in their form-fitting silhouette. Many people discovered the benefits of bike shorts during the pandemic, as they are a good alternative to going pantsless on Zoom calls. They can also have an understated and chic quality outdoors, as evidenced by the many photos of ’90s style icon Princess Diana in bike shorts that frequently circulate on Instagram.

STORE: Athlete

Drew Barrymore, Eric Erlandson, Hole

Slip dresses were big in the ’90s, as popularized by “it girl” Drew Barrymore (pictured here with Hole’s Eric Erlandson). / Steve.Granitz/GettyImages

Beloved by ’90s girls like Courtney Love and Drew Barrymore, the slip dress is outerwear at its best. The silky fabrics and spaghetti straps of these dresses have a flirty vibe without trying too hard, and they’re easy to dress up and dress down with a few accessories. The slip dress can look old Hollywood or riot grrrl, depending on its style, and its versatile sexiness and association with ’90s rebels has led to a new appreciation for the style.

STORE: Urban Outfitters

Stacey Dash and Alicia Silverstone enter "Ignorant."

The 1995 hit “Clueless” is a treasure trove if you’re looking for ’90s-era style inspiration. / Paramount Home Entertainment

Plaid has always been around, but in the 90s it was everywherefrom the flannel shirt of grunge musicians to the yellow skirt suit famously worn by Alicia Silverstone in the Ignorant. Throwing on a plaid piece is an easy shortcut to daring ’90s style, as evidenced by pop star and Gen Z fashionista Olivia Rodrigo’s penchant for dresses and miniskirts.

Store: Nordstrom

Often paired with the aforementioned high-waisted jeans in the ’90s, the bodysuit gave casual outfits a more put-together look. While some may scoff at the discomfort of a body when it comes to using the bathroom, these body-conscious pieces (which can be minimalistic, athletic, or boudoir-ready) are making a comeback through celebrity-backed brands like SKIMS and Kim Kardashian and more. .

Store: SKIMS



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