If you’ve been scrolling through TikTok or Instagram (or flipping through a fashion magazine) lately, you’ve probably already noticed that the 90s are back. 20 years after the decade ended, many of the most popular fashions that were once scoffed at (think: scrunchies and mom jeans) are now being embraced by Gen Z.
Such is the cyclical nature of fashion, and in terms of looks—from grunge to goth to hip-hop, and more—over the decades, there’s certainly been plenty of inspiration. These are just a few of the many ’90s trends that have made their way into the culture lately. Don’t wear them all at once!
In 2003, he was once famously mocked Sex and the City, this humble – and sophisticated – fabric hair tie has become popular again. More comfortable than regular elastic and more forgiving on sensitive bums, the scrunchie has been rediscovered for its versatility, ease of wear, and ability to add an extra touch of style that’s not suited to casual wear.
These comfortable shoes, easily recognized for their cork soles and buckles, were a staple of ’90s hippies’ wardrobes, but today you can see them worn by a more fashionable crowd. Birkenstocks fit perfectly with the ‘normcore’ concept of casual and comforting ’90s clothing. While classic Birkenstocks came in dry earth tones, today you can buy them in a variety of colors and styles.
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Platform shoes, which were already trendy in the 70s, reached new heights (pun intended) in the 90s. Platforms were everywhere, from the Doc Martens of grunge kids to the sky-high sneakers of ravers (and Spice Girls!), and Mary Janes and trend-loving teenage girls. Given the speedy popularity of designer stilettos in the ’00s, it’s only logical that the most comfortable and convenient thong shoe is finally coming back into style. And unlike in the 90s, you can now find documents made of vegan leather as the brand has offered this as an option since 2011.
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Often with a goth look, these seductive necklaces were all the rage in the 90s. The tattoo choker in particular—a cheaply made, plastic variation on the theme—became ubiquitous throughout the decade. These chokers, as well as the traditional velvet and rhinestone ones, have become popular again, worn primarily by teenage girls and young women to add a quirky accessory to their outfits.
Mom jeans (or simply “jeans” as they were known in the ’90s) have gone from being a laughing stock (most memorably to being ridiculed in 2004. Saturday Night Live design shown above) to a cool-girl staple. Jeans were high-waisted and rigid by default, but as more stretchy fabrics came on the scene, skinny jeans became popular and were unavoidable in the 00s. Low-rise was also common at the time, and high-waisted mom jeans were found to be more attractive and comfortable for many, and can have a surprisingly timeless feel.
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These stretchy leather shorts were the height of athleticism before that term was coined. Often paired with oversized t-shirts or sweatshirts, biker shorts are comfortable and relaxed, with a touch of sexiness in their silhouette. Many people have discovered the benefits of cycling shorts during the pandemic, as they are a good option without the wrath of zoom calls. They can also have a low quality outdoors, as many pictures of ’90s style icon Princess Diana in cycling shorts often circulate on Instagram.
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Beloved in the ’90s by “girls” like Courtney Love and Drew Barrymore, the slip dress is the ultimate panty-outer outfit. The silk fabrics and spaghetti straps of these dresses have an effortlessly flirty feel, and they’re easy to throw on and dress up with some accessories. The slip dress can look old Hollywood or riot grrrl, depending on the style, and its versatile sexuality and association with ’90s rioters has led to new appreciation for the style.
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Plaid has always been around, but it was in the 90s. everywherefrom grunge musicians’ flannel shirts to yellow skirts, she’s worn by Alicia Silverstone. Clueless. Layering on a plaid piece is an easy shortcut to ’90s boldness, as demonstrated by pop star and Gen Z fashion maven Olivia Rodrigo’s plaid outfit and miniskirt.
Paired with the high-waisted jeans that were frequently referenced in the ’90s, the bodysuit gave casual wear a more cohesive look. While some may scoff at the comfort of body addiction when it comes to bathroom use, these body-conscious pieces (which can be minimal, athletic or boudoir ready) are making a comeback with brands like Kim Kardashian’s SKIMS and other celebrity endorsements. .