Fashion is cyclical. It changes and returns like the seasons. Maybe slightly different than we remember, but still largely familiar. The ’90s was an interesting time for fashion with oversized jean jackets, long and flowy floral dresses, and neon bright colors. If people thought the ’80s had weird fashion tastes in that decade, they also forget that the ’90s had its fair share back in the day. Being a pre-teen for much of the ’90s, I did have some styles I absolutely adored or would probably never want to wear ever again from that period of my life. Surprisingly, the last few years has become the time for ’90s styles to make a resurgence on the fashion scene.
Then: The bodysuit was actually a favorite style piece I liked owning growing up. It was the lazy girl’s way of having your shirt tucked into your jeans or skirt without actually needing to stuff the tail end of a shirt inside your waist. Not to mention that if you don’t tuck it in right, you’re stuck with a weird scrunching or bunching around the waist and tummy area. It’s not the seamless, chic look you’re going for, right? The bodysuit ensured you wouldn’t have to fret over any bunching around the waist. It was clean and smooth all the way down to the hem of your skirt or the cuff of your pants. Everything was a simple slip on.
Now: The bodysuit, like the one pictured from H&M, is still exactly how I remember it. Not much has changed. You slip it on like a regular top and you fasten the bottom part around your lady parts. Having seen some of these in stores, I can’t really say I’d buy and wear them again. This has partly to do with the added step of snapping the bodysuit in place before slipping on your skirt or pants. Then there’s also the bathroom situation when you have more to undo before you go about your business. It may not be the same hassle women may experience when they wear a romper, but going to the bathroom shouldn’t be a complicated challenge that your own clothes presents you with.
The Front Knot Shirt
Then: Baring some skin around your midriff or navel was a thing back in the ’90s. The peek-a-boo effect created a little sexiness without it being too overt for even the more bashful ones to feel comfortable wearing. It was quite easy to take any T-shirt you own, gather some of the fabric in the front, and tie a knot to show off that smooth skin. Another variation of the front knot would be a side knot on the shirt with the same intention of exposing that skin. It really wasn’t necessary to buy shirts that have strips of fabric designed to tie a knot at the front of a shirt.
Now: I have one top that’s a front knot shirt, and that’s the one I used to wear as a kid growing up in the ’90s. Being a largely shy girl at the time, it made me feel good to wear a shirt like that. I wanted to feel confident wearing that kind of shirt, while it remained mostly modest. If the weather was warm enough again, I would have tried wearing a similar shirt like this one by H&M. It’s about making bold fashion choices from time to time, while also still feeling good in your own skin when you wear it.
The Faux Leather Skirt
Then: A lot of experimentation went on with ’90s fashion. There were a mix of styles, pairings you think wouldn’t go together but ended up working so well, like giving feminine styles an edgier twist by throwing on a leather jacket over a flower patterned dress or pairing combat boots with longer skirts for a more casual style. Part of that girly girl with an edge theme saw leather or faux leather skirts being all the rage during the ’90s. There was a coolness factor to wearing a leather skirt. You were able to convey a sense of toughness and vulnerability at the same time when you had this particular skirt paired with a light and airy top.
Now: I had to have a faux leather skirt growing up to emulate some of the actresses I saw wearing them in the TV shows or movies I watched. One scene in Clueless, starring Alicia Silverstone, comes to mind where her character Cher walks around in a leather skirt paired with a sheer white top. Clueless was THE movie for ’90s fashion, and I loved almost everything the characters wore in it. For a time, I thought I was as cool as any girl who wore a faux leather skirt. Looking back on it now, I think I was largely silly. The skirt sometimes was a bit confining and not always the most comfortable piece of clothing to wear. When I see these skirts in stores, I keep moving along because I’m far older and wiser now to no longer think faux leather skirts was something I needed or wanted.
The Platform Shoes
Then: And finally, no journey back to ’90s fashion would be complete without talking about these particular shoes. Almost every shoe were platforms—sneakers, boots, and high-heels. Apparently, we were obsessed with elevating everything. To feel taller than we really were. Or maybe we just wanted to be a Spice Girl. I’ve always been a short girl, so of course I want to add a few more inches to my feet. I can’t say I was really into platform shoes. It’s more like I never really made a distinction between the platform shoes and regular high-heels. But the difference between platform shoes and any regular shoes is how chunkier the bottom sole and heel of the shoe can be. Wearing one of these really does feel like you’re standing on a platform, hence the name.
Now: I’m not entirely sure platform shoes would be something I’d readily choose to wear. Not that I would completely rule out the possibility of wearing one of these again, but I don’t think I like the overall thickness this shoe provides. I vaguely remember being a pre-teen wearing one of these at my junior high school’s dances and feeling as if I was clopping against hardwood floors in the gymnasium like a horse. The shoes I had were really cute, but I didn’t like how cumbersome they felt on my feet. These days I’m all for regular, non-platform shoes.
Are there any fashion staples from the ’90s you would wear today or leave completely buried at the bottom of your closet?