FASHION AND BODY IMAGE

The 1990s are back in fashion! Isn’t that amazing? Six years ago everyone was like, “Ew, the 1990s? What a tragic time. Now, my frosted lip gloss be poppin’ and I will layer my Glassons camisoles in every colour.”

The 1990s were great in my opinion. Even before the trends of white t-shirt and swing dress combos came back this year, I always thought they were grand. Friends, the global sit-com hit that launched in 1994 (yeah, as if you needed a refresher), is a great indicator of what was in style at the time. Just to name a few, overalls, denim outfits, swing dresses, and crop tops have all made a comeback in recent years. They barely even have a modern twist on them. Do you know why? Because the 1990s were glorious.

On the other hand, iconic 1990s flower child Drew Barrymore played a bit more into the grunge style of the decade. Well known for her wild hair and fashion choices with an edge, Barrymore was the lovable child star all grown up. In fact, overalls were worn by the grunge kids too. They rose to fame and fell from grace so quickly. But that’s life with trends, isn’t it? Overalls’ fifteen minutes of fame.

Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore

I’ve noticed corduroy pinafores are well on trend at the moment. I’ve tried some on but they make me look pregnant so, you know, dress for your body type not current trends. They will change in a few months anyway and if you do, you’re left with an expensive peplum top from 2012 that will never come back in fashion. Let’s face it, the peplum was worse than the chunky shoes trend the Spice Girls made popular.

I can’t really fault the Spice Girls; they were 1990s divines. However, I will say that although they did influence a few trends (Union Jack printed clothes and the aforementioned chunky shoes we can all forget about), they generally did their own thing with matching bra suits and leopard print capes to primarily market themselves as a pop band.

On a side note, naked dresses have become a popular choice on the red carpet in recent years. But guess what?! Those less-is-more dresses (is it, though?) were not a new innovation. Tyra Banks was working those in the 1990s and looked as radiant as the sun.

The ideal body image promoted by social media in the 1990s was awful. I will say that with no hesitation and I am really thankful I was not an impressionable teenager back then (just a mere child born in 1992). This was the decade where rail-thin models were storming the runway. Tall, slender supermodels such as Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell were gaining fame and this body type was generally desired. I’m not hating on any body type, if you are naturally thin and healthy, you do you, that is great, but body types other than the classic 1990s supermodel were rarely represented in the media. This can be a devastating influence on women who are shorter, curvier, top-heavy, bottom-heavy, literally any other shape or size regardless of their health.

Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss

Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss

In fact, it was only last year that France made a stand and legally banned excessively thin models from the runway, announcing that all models would need a doctor’s examination to confirm they are of a healthy weight. Go you, France. Proud of you. That was 2015, 15 years after the 1990s started, but we are making progress and that is what the future is all about.

The Future is Now:

Let’s bring back: Colourful windbreakers.
Because: I’m not even joking, Will Smith looks cool AF.

Let’s think about revisiting: Slip dresses.
But only if: Everybody is on board, otherwise we just look like we are wearing a nightie.

Let’s leave in the past: Chunky shoes.
Because: Oh, for god’s sake just LOOK AT THEM.

MAKEUP

Makeup in the 1990s was generally muted and edgy. Browns, deep reds and vampy purples were in and seen in iconic movies and TV shows such as Clueless, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Sabrina, The Teenage Witch. Thin eyebrows – possibly inspired as far back as the 1920s – had their time in this decade, though they are long gone now. I don’t think we should revisit that extreme but thank god the super dark, overdrawn “power brow” trend has died. That was getting a bit out of hand, to be honest. For the most part though, eyebrows were pretty standard in the 1990s; thick and natural.

I’m all for nude palettes so it’s great that these have made a comeback. Moreover, I love a good bold lip (red is my fave) so the purples and deep burgundy colours are definitely something I respect. Bow down to Winona Ryder who, incidentally, has also made a comeback in Netflix success Stranger Things.

The Future is Now:

Let’s bring back: Vampy brown and purple lipsticks.
Because: Oh, they’re so badass especially with a pixie cut, Winona Ryder.

Let’s think about revisiting: Brown palettes.
But only if: They have shimmer to make them a bit more modern.

Let’s leave in the past: Thin brows.
Because: Natural brows are where it’s at.

HAIR AND ACCESSORIES 

I would be an absolute fool to not mention “The Rachel” which was the most iconic hairstyle of the entire decade, however nowadays ombre hair and wavy curls are seen around the world rather than pin-straight hair and chunky highlights.

The grunge trend of casual, thrown-back hair probably has the most influence on how people wear their hair today, but even then, hair dye trends are wildly different these days.

As for accessories, let me remind you of butterfly clips, scrunchies, and choker necklaces. Only choker necklaces have made a reappearance lately but even then, they aren’t the same. I want to buy those shitty plastic twisted ones that somehow look way cooler than today’s velvet ones which, now that I think about it, would make me physically gag to have that fabric on my throat.

The Future is Now:

Let’s bring back: Shitty plastic choker necklaces.
Because: You can wear them with literally any outfit, casual or dressed up.

Let’s think about revisiting: Butterfly clips.
But only if: They are designed sleeker and more subtle and perhaps not in bright plastic pastels.

Let’s leave in the past: Frosted tips.
Because: it’s ombre gone wrong.

SUMMARY 

There’s no doubt the 1990s have made a comeback of sorts in the past couple of years. Nude palettes, swing dresses, and denim have all made their way back around. Friends never actually got taken off the air in all these years and that amazes me that the costumes on that show could go from being modern to out-of-date to vintage in this space of time.

Whether it’s because all these trends remind me of my childhood or because they actually do look cool and quirky, I’m totally on board with virtually all of them. Get me a cheap choker necklace, slip dress, and a purple lipstick and you will be like, “Is that Winona Ryder 15 years ago?” and I will say, “Yes. I am her and I am radiant”.

The 1990s have so much more to them whether they have influenced today’s trends or not. I didn’t even mention the chiffon tops, too-big jackets (they look ridiculous but Johnny Depp pulls it off), and this whole beautiful situation of Brad Pitt’s shaggy, highlighted hair, a deep cut shirt, necklace. That, all of that.

About The Author

Marika Jackson
Contributor

Comedian and full time optimist, Marika spends most of her time laughing. Especially when it's not appropriate.

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