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90s by the Numbers: A Decade in Fashion

by Amanda Murray December 28, 2015

90s by the Numbers: A Decade in Fashion


Think of the 90s in fashion, and you probably have a clear image pop into your head. The trouble is, in a decade that was bookended by Kurt Cobain and Britney Spears, there is no one single style to rule them all. Let’s explore the decade in a year by year snapshot:


1990: Beverly Hills 90210


Brandon, Brenda and the gang at Beverly Hills High made a big splash with their wardrobes on Beverly Hills 90210(1990-2000). The guys were all about James Dean-inspired pompadours and sideburns, with classic denim jeans, high-top sneakers, and oversized striped tees or bowling shirts. The ladies mixed it up, either wearing ultra-chic slim-fit dresses or billowy tops with high-waisted jeans.


1991: Grunge


Inspired by the Seattle music scene and bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains, grunge fashion was all about the unkempt look. With flannel shirts, chunky Doc Martens, ripped denim, and no-care hair, this look dominated the early 90s across the country.


1992: The Fresh Prince of Bel Air


The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990-1996) was a mishmash of eye-catching styles. From Carlton’s preppy Princeton style and Hilary’s high society outfits to Will’s fun and colorful graffiti-inspired look, the show will forever be tied to 90s fashion.  


1993: Blossom


Blossom and her best friend Six were the embodiment of teen fashion in the early 90s. Jean jackets, overalls, print tops, leggings, flower embellishments…but you and I both know Blossom(1990-1995) will forever be defined by the hats. The floppy hat. The floral hat. The floppy denim floral hat. 


1994: My So-Called Life


Claire Danes and Jared Leto may have gone on to bigger and better things like Emmys and Academy Awards, but teens of the 90s will always remember them for their roles on My So-Called Life(1994-95). This show was visual proof that the grunge look had migrated from the Seattle music scene to suburbs across the nation. 


1995: Clueless


At the other end of the spectrum is Alicia Silverstone, Brittany Murphy, and Stacey Dash in the 1995 movie Clueless. You know the look - high heels, plaid blazers, and the shortest skirts permissible by school regulations. 


1996: The Craft


We flip the script again with the cast of The Craft, who inspired a generation of goth fashion. The leading foursome in this movie were dressed in all black with platform leather boots, piercings, dark mascara and lipstick.


1997: The Spice Girls


The Spice Girls came to America in 1996 and brought Girl Power, Union Jack merchandise, and a love for short skirts and platform shoes along with them. Whether you were more of a tracksuit Mel C type of a pigtails and lollipops Emma type, there was something for everyone.


1998: Rave On


Rave fashion went hand-in-hand with music, partying, and love. In addition to comfortable wide-legged JNCO jeans, this scene was all about bright colors, glitter, neons, and playful almost child-like imagery.


1999: Skater


Finally we have the skater scene, which really became mainstream in the late 90s thanks to the popularity of skaters like Tony Hawk, the Warped Tour etc. Baggy jeans, baggy shirts, flat-brimmed hats, the whole deal.

Did we miss anything? Who or what was your biggest fashion or lifestyle influence in the 1990s?

All images via Pinterest




Amanda Murray
Amanda Murray

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