Top Women’s Fashion and Beauty Trends of the ’90s
Oh, the sweet, old 90s’! The cherished decade that has revolutionized the fashion industry and forever changed the fashion and beauty trends as we knew them. The strong grip this decade has on the entire fashion and beauty industry is visible in its longevity – even 30 years later, the trends of the 19990s keep resurfacing and stubbornly taking over the fashion shows all over the world!
The 90s were truly the exciting, new inspirational time for fashion; in this era, a tsunami of various trends had taken us over and their screaming trends were impossible to ignore. And in the heart of it all were the American fashion and beauty trends, which thanks to Hollywood have taken over the entire world and influenced fashion and beauty trends across the entire globe for generations to come.
The 1990s fashion and beauty trends, in a way, were a rebellious response to the glam-up, volume-obsessed fever which ruled the 80s; opposite to them, the 1990s trends were actually putting emphasis on comfort, practicality, and is wearable.
Effortless chic. Casual sporty. And of course, the grunge edginess. Mainly, clothes would fall under these 3 categories. All of the 1990s had big role models who were behind the fashion and beauty trends that ended up dominating the entire decade.
Celebrities from shows like Beverly Hills 90210, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Friends, and movies like Clueless were the trend-setters and fashion icons everyone looked up to and tried to recreate their most iconic looks. They have created waves of various trends which are inspirational and base for many of today’s modern, iconic fashion shows, videos, and styles in general.
Knowing the importance that this decade holds for the fashion and beauty industries, we have decided to take a closer look at the top, American women’s fashion and beauty trends from the 1990s which are returning nowadays, as dominating and iconic as they were in the 90s!
1. Spaghetti straps
Starting with the timeless elegance of the 90s, the spaghetti straps were the cherry on top, that special thing that was a must-have for all the glamorous looks we saw on the red carpet moments.
From tank tops to slip dresses the spaghetti strap fever was heavily promoted by some of television’s and film’s top actresses, along with many supermodels from that time being head over heels in love with this trend, especially when it was in combination with the timeless, little slip dress from the 90s!
Spaghetti straps tank top over white t-shirt was a trend that originated from the 90s, and nowadays is a must-have for all the e-girls! We now see the spaghetti stripes trend return in combination with even lusher textures and prints.
2. Little slip dress
And what goes best with the spaghetti straps? Of course the equally glamorous slip dress from the 90s! The queen of glam and synonym of the 90s fashion, the slip dress was part of the underwear-as-outerwear trend; mostly made from polyester satins, as well as charmeuse, and chiffon, frequently trimmed with lace, this trend is nowadays returning in full glory on many fashion shows for the spring 2022 collections.
3. Matching plaid sets
Speaking of 90’s glam diva trends, we can’t go without mentioning one of the biggest 90s trends that the following year is making an absolute comeback in big fashion shows like Versace and Michael Kors!
Of course, we are talking about the matching plaid sets! This trend, which 1990s fashion icon Alicia Silverstone has set with her immortalized Cher Horowitz character from the occult movie Clueless was a huge deal! Back in the day, this trend described as the ultimate schoolgirl uniform was the symbol of good taste in fashion!
Cher Horowitz who was the face that sold out a thousand mini-skirt-and-top coordinate sets back in the day as the ultimate fashion choice has not been forgotten throughout the years even when the trend was not so in-style anymore.
Nowadays, big fashion names like Versace are diving deep back into this 90s fashion trend for inspiration for their new collections so we are yet to see the best of the matching plaid sets.
4. Knee socks
Going in combination with the eternal matching plaid sets, the knee socks are also a huge 90s’ trend that is returning back on fashion sets! Back in the day, it went well with everything, and even the grunge, edgy styles still had space for the knee socks trend! And the knee socks are also making a comeback, just check out Prada’s new high-fashion collections and you will find them!
5. Mom jeans and leggings
The true power that Jennifer Aniston had on the fashion world in the 90s’ was seen when she made something like usually-the-bottom-of-joke mom jeans look stylish and deeply seductive!
Combined with a white t-shirt under spaghetti strap tank tops, or with the classy cardigan, the mom jeans became a must-piece for every fashion trendsetter. Today you will see supermodels like Gigi Hadid, Kendal Jenner, and much more casually rock the mom jeans both on fashion shows and in their leisure time. And for good reason – they are not only fashionable but also incredibly comfortable! A true win-win combo!
6. High-waisted denim jeans
The popularization of the high-waisted denim Levi’s (and we are talking about 501 of course) through the 1990s top movie icons making them look effortlessly sexy, urban, and modern. Combined with leather jackets, accessories, bandanas, and cute tops and tanks, this piece was a basic, must-have piece for everyone back in the day! Seen worn both on camera and in real-life paparazzi photos of celebrities, the high-waisted jeans in all shapes and forms were the go-to daily piece of wardrobe. The so-called “boyfriend” jeans nowadays are making huge returns with celebrities like K-Pop group BTS seen rocking the high-waisted jeans even on their days off!
7. Denim jackets with embroidery and patches
Another trend set by a number of famous actresses and supermodels from the 90s, the denim jackets with patches and embroidery were a stable, must-have capsule wardrobe piece of the 1990s! This Americanized trend got us all into stitching, ironing, and embroiling patches as an expression of our personalities. You would see many versions, from favorite quotes to embroiled roses; the best part was, even if your favorite denim jacket or pants ripped, with patches you had a way to fix them, add life, and wear them for some time! So neat!
8. Cargo pants
The edgy side of the 90s starts and ends with the cargo pants. Oftentimes, just like mom jeans, they are looked down upon, and even though they are both appreciated and disliked, the classical 90s cargo pants are making a big return in popularity because of their casual look and endurance.
Several highly functional pockets, diversity in materials they can be made from (from denim to precious silk or expensive leather), and the comfort they provide made many designers rethink this classical piece of cloth and give us their interpretations of the 90s cargo pants. And of course, all the celebrities have embraced this returning trend in a heartbeat.
The black, edgy cargo pants now became one of the ground pieces for every e-boy/e-girl capsule wardrobe!
9. Combat boots or white sneakers? Both!
Making a big splash in the last years, little do you know are the good old combat boots from the 1990s! Back then, Dr. Martens were THE FOOTWEAR trend, adding edginess and grunge to every outfit. Even the cute floral dress would instantly become edgier when paired with them! Combat boots, big bulky and stunning have taken over the 1990s like a storm, and if you look at the recent years, you will see this trend emerging and returning in its full glory.
But right by their side are also the famous white sneakers from the 90s, which are there to step up and fill for the combat boots during the warmer seasons!
10. Flannel shirts and cardigans
Flannel shirts are one of the 90s biggest trends; but more often than not, back then you would have seen them not on as shirts, but tied around the waist! Cardigans, the more elegant sibling of theirs, were usually reserved for chilly weather to go over the slip dresses, but just like flannel shirts, it was also trendy to have them around the waist as well!
11. Tracksuits and oversized t-shirts
What was Friends for the spaghetti straps, and Clueless for the matching plaid sets, was the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and other comedy shows from the 90s for the tracksuits and the big comfy t-shirts. Their popularity raised and their look even evolved; at the beginning of the decade, their emphasis was on being sporty, comfy, oversized, and colorful, but at the end, they turned into velvety tracksuits for women oftentimes enriched with rhinestones and words on the back.
Stepping into the edgy, grunge territory, the first thing is first – the versatility and duality of the bandanas have won the hearts of millions in the 90s, and now it is making a big, flashy comeback! This multi-purpose accessory can go everywhere, around your heck, hair, hand, like t-shirt, handbag accessories, around your waist – it truly was the accessory item of the 90s!
13. Chokers, chain belts, fishnet tights – the grunge era accessories
Chokers are absolutely nothing new and their origin is actually from the 1990s! The wild side of the 1990s, included a lot of leather accessories, like leather chokers. Another traditionally 90s trend was the fishnet tights which went well with almost everything, from jeans to skirts and dress combos. And chain belts were a whole different category of accessories – reserved for the bravest, edgiest styles! On skirts, dresses, jeans, cargo pants, they came in numerous styles, with rhinestones or spikes, all in the name of expressing one’s unique taste!
14. Minimal makeup and shimmery accessories
The 1990s were famous for being effortlessly stylish, and this was reflected in the makeup trends as well. The entire makeup was usually thinly layered, simple, and minimal. The 90s’ makeup was at most minimal, with using only the basics of makeup, Thin eyebrows, eyeshadows that were pastel, the matte skin was in, and the lips were the ones being played with the most, going from the brick lip to over lined or the famous red/baby pink lip.
Eyebrows were thinner as we mentioned, but if you were a diva or someone who liked the spotlight, all over shimmer was the go-to trend you would have followed; and that included sparkles all over, including eyebrows. Eyelids, on the cheeks, even hairline! It was also popular to glue pearls, sparkles, and interesting heart-shaped decorations on your face for that extra look! The makeup bloggers nowadays are having a field day with the 90s trends, trying to revive their glory.
15. Claw Clips, tiny hairclips, zig-zag hairbands, and velvety scrunchies
The must-have holy trinity in every girl’s backpack back in the day! The 90s were famous for their timeless accessories and if nowadays you use claw clips solely at home, back in the day they were trendy and came in all shapes, forms, colors, and sizes. Colorful extensions and braids added to the hair with tiny clips became even more popular at the end of the decade. Scrunchies made from every material you can think of were also part of the necessary items in girls’ backpacks, and besides being used on hair, they were oftentimes used as bracelets! The practicality they offer!
The modern-day visco-girls know what we are talking about!
As you may see, many of today’s modern pieces that feel relatively fresh, exciting, and new actually have originated and are part of the reoccurring 1990s’ trend fever that has taken us in the last decade. Which ones are your favorite? Which ones will become stables of your capsule wardrobe? Let us know in the comments down below!