Special Report

29 Fashion Trends Only 90s Kids Will Remember

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The ’90s were, in a way, a golden era for fashion. Various slip dresses, jeans, and grunge styles reigned supreme. Looking back on what these actually looked like — through the prism of 2021 fashion — may result in a mixed bag of emotions. Some may feel nostalgic, but a few would no doubt question the decade’s fashion gods’ creations.

To compile a list of fashion trends and styles only those who grew up in the ’90s will remember, 24/7 Tempo reviewed fashion industry sources and media reports. The styles’ iconic status was based on name recognition, influence on fashion, and enduring fame.

Fashion trends come and go, often only to return a few decades later. A quick Google search or an Instagram scroll shows that some of the ’90s most memorable styles are making a comeback.

Changes in fashion are often driven by anything from technology, popular culture, social norms, and celebrities’ influence — these are the most popular fashion designers in history.

Click here for fashion trends only kids from the 90s will remember

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1. Acid-wash and ripped jeans

In the mid-1990s it seemed like anywhere you turned you saw at least a few people with either acid-wash or ripped denim. The trend is making it back to the forefront of 2020s fashion.

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2. Animal print dresses

Leopard print dresses were vintage ’90s. There hardly was a celebrity not photographed wearing one — either on the street or on a magazine cover.

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3. Bike backward caps

Cycling caps, usually worn backwards, were a staple in men’s fashion in the early ’90s. Bike caps made a short-lived return in the mid-2010s. This time people were seen wearing them forward.

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4. Bucket hat

Bucket hats were the ultimate ’90s fashion. They are actually quite useful against a blazing sun, which may be why they appear to be a streetwear staple again.

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5. Butterfly clips

Butterfly clips were some of the simplest typical late ’90s accessories. For a while it seemed like just about every popular female character on TV wore them.

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6. Capri pants

Back in the ’90s, if you didn’t want to wear shorts but also didn’t feel like wearing long trousers, you probably settled for capri pants. They were also called three-quarter legs and their length usually ended just above the ankle or below the knee.

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7. Chain wallets

Chaining wallets to one’s pants was very popular thanks to the ’90s grunge style. Chain wallets were rising in popularity again around 2016.

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8. Combat boots

Combat boots are among the few wardrobe staples that have remained popular after they became popular in the ’90s.

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9. Cargo pants

Cargo pants experienced a boom in the ’90s. These large pants were very comfortable and had many pockets, which meant plenty of room for anything you needed to bring with you — no bags needed.

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10. Fanny packs

Fanny packs are mostly associated with tourists nowadays, but it wasn’t that long ago when it seemed like everybody had one. People either love them or hate them. As Jerry Seinfeld told George Costanza in a ’90s “Seinfeld” episode: “Looks like your belt is digesting a small animal.”

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11. Hair parted down the middle

Perhaps thanks to boy bands that were all the rage in the ’90s, center-parted hair was a very popular style for young men.

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12. Spaghetti straps

The so-called spaghetti straps are basically very thin straps on a tank top or a dress. Spaghetti strap dresses were sometimes worn over white short-sleeved T-shirts.

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13. Headbands

For a while in the ’90s it seemed like every woman insisted on wearing a headband. They varied greatly in style — anything from hair-comb-like headband to a thick one. Bandanas and sweatbands were also very popular.

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14. Leather jacket

Leather jackets were a wardrobe staple in the ’90s and seen as somewhat of a rebellious look. People usually wore them with cropped jeans.

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15. Overalls

If you were at least a teenager in the ’90s, chances are you wore overalls. These denim jumpsuits — a casual and comfortable piece of clothing — were both men and women’s favorite.

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16. Plaid skirts

Plaid skirts are vintage mid-90s. They were often paired with long- or short-sleeved turtlenecks. Modern versions are sometimes longer, reaching below the knee, and paired with long boots.

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17. Platform shoes

Platform shoes were in vogue in the ’90s, and before then in the ’70s — and many of the most popular celebrities at the time were seen wearing them. The thick soles — some of which were also quite high — go back to ancient times when the Greeks used to wear them to appear taller during theatre performances.

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18. Rollerblades

Rollerblades are inline skates that usually came in neon colors. They were everyone’s hobby and pastime in the ’90s.

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19. Skirt suits

One of the most famous women to ever wear skirt suits in the ’90s was Princess Diana. Skirt suits were part of a style that the Los Angeles Times called in 1992 “soft, relaxed dressing.”

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20. Slip skirts and dresses

Slip skirts and dresses were a summer wardrobe staple in the ’90s. The woman mostly associated with the style at the time was super model Kate Moss.

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21. Starter jackets

Starter jackets were men’s favorite jackets in the ’80s and early ’90s. Perhaps the most recognizable style is the one Eddie Murphy wore in “Beverly Hills Cop.”

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22. Striped sweaters

Striped sweater tops were very popular among both young men and women in the ’90s. The sweater was part of the popular grunge style at the time.

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23. Super-wide baggy jeans

The baggier, the better. Women wore the high-waist style. Baggy jeans were making a comeback about four years ago but did not live up to their ’90s popularity.

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24. Timberlands

For a while in the ’90s it seemed like every teenage boy and young man wore Timberland boots — male celebrities certainly did. Timberlands remain very popular to this day.

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25. Tiny handbags

Before there was a smartphone case that could fit everything but your keys, women wore small handbags. They were basically very small shoulder bags.

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26. Track pants

Track pants were a casual wardrobe staple for both men and women regardless of whether they actually wore them to go jogging.

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27. Velvet

Velvet was one of the most popular fabrics in the ’90s. Velvet tops and dresses are seen again in mainstream fashion.

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28. Bike shorts

Cycling shorts were an iconic ’90s sporting style. Though these shorts had already been around for about a century, the ’90s kind were usually made from silk or lycra. Celebrities were often spotted wearing them.

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29. High-waisted jeans

Most people may remember the low-rise jeans craze of the 2000s. Prior to that trend, women loved to wear the opposite — high-waisted jeans, usually light wash.

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