1990's Time Period in Fashion History presented by Apparel Search
in popular culture is typically referred to as the decade of "anti-fashion".
In reality, anti-fashion was only one of many trends in
in the 1990s; however the fashion of the 1990s was characterized by a rejection
of the fashion of the 1980s. The fashion of the 1990s was also characterized
by many overlapping, often contradictory trends. The most significant event
in 1990s fashion was the rise of
in 1992. In the late 1990s there was a move away from grunge.
inspired by the
was popular for much of the 1990s.
The acid washed denim fad of the late 1980s ended in 1990. This fad started to reappear in 2004 and 2005. Varying shades of stonewashed denim became popular, and remained popular through 1998. Denim jackets continued to be popular; slim fit jeans continued to be worn until 1994, but became less popular. Relaxed fit jeans replaced slim fit jeans as the most popular denim pants. White and black t-shirts were popular with boys and men. Hairstyles also moved away from the 80s. The high, hair spray-heavy styles favored by girls in the 1980s were replaced by long, straight hair, often with bangs. The bowl cut became popular with teenage and pre-teen boys in 1991. The mullet survived in modified form as a male hairstyle through 1992.
The dominant clothing fad at the beginning of the 1990s was fluorescent clothing. The five fluorescent colors were fluorescent blue, fluorescent green, fluorescent orange, fluorescent pink, and fluorescent yellow. Fluorescent clothing was especially popular with teenage and pre-teen girls, although some boys wore fluorescent t-shirts. Fluorescent clothing items included fluorescent t-shirts, fluorescent sweatshirts, fluorescent socks, fluorescent shoelaces, fluorescent hair scrunchies, and fluorescent fanny packs. In 1991, fluorescent colors were replaced by colors such as coral, hot pink, and turquoise. The popularity of bright colors declined through 1995. Hoop earrings were also a popular accessory for teenaged girls and women in the first years of the 1990s.
A major fad in 1991 was parachute pants. Parachute pants were relaxed fit, tapered leg pants with a drawstring waist. Parachute pants came in bright colors. Such as, neon pink and green and white. A fad of 1992 was heat-sensitive shirts that changed color depending on the wearer's body temperature.
Grunge & retro-hippie
The most important event in 1990s fashion was the rise of the grunge style into the mainstream in 1992. Grunge fashion was influenced by grunge music, which achieved mainstream popularity in 1992. Grunge fashion resulted in a decline in the popularity of bright colors. Grunge fashion was dominated by plaid flannel shirts, stonewashed blue jeans, and dark colors like maroon, forest green, indigo, and brown. White and black were also popular colors in grunge fashion. Grunge fashion popularized Doc Martens style shoes and boots, and high top sneakers in red, indigo, forest green, and black. Grunge fashion emphasized long, straight hair. Most teenaged and pre-teen girls already had long hair; only a small percentage of teenage and pre-teen boys adopted the long haired look. Grunge fashion was a unisex phenomenon. Although the grunge look was considered "anti-fashion", the fashion industry turned the grunge look into a distinct fashion style. The fashion industry began selling such items as plaid hooded sweatshirts, plaid sweatshirt vests, plaid long sleeved t-shirts, and plaid shorts.
The grunge look coincided with the revival of hippie fashion. Hippie fashion actually began to reenter the fashion world in 1990, with the return of tie-dye shirts. This was followed in 1991 with the advent of sunglasses shaped like the granny glasses of the late 1960s. The full blown revival of hippie fashion began in 1992, with the return of bell-bottom jeans. Crocheted vests, also considered part of the hippie revival, became popular among teenaged and pre-teen girls in 1993. Most fashion critics considered the grunge and the neo-hippie looks complimentary.
Denim overalls regained popularity in 1992. Denim overalls fit well with the grunge and neo-hippie fashions. Denim overalls remained popular through 2000, being adapted to fit the changing styles. Denim shorts became fashionable in 1992. Denim Shortall were popular from 1991 to 1994. White denim became popular among girls in 1992, and remained popular through 1998.
Not all fashion during the grunge era was dominated by the grunge and neo-hippie looks. Fashion styles drawn from rap music, and from sports, were also popular. Baseball caps worn backwards were popular. Baseball jerseys and basketball jerseys were popular attire among certain teenage and pre-teen boys. High top running shoes in black were popular, especially Nike Air Jordans. Sagging came into style. Black hooded sweatshirts also became popular in 1992.
In 1993, red Guess? denim became popular among teenage girls. This look was often complimented with red or forest green shirts from The Body Shop. Mondetta t-shirts also became popular at this time, among both teen and pre-teen boys and girls. There was also a navel piercing fad in 1993 that was popular among teenaged girls and young women. This led to the adoption of belly shirts that left the belly uncovered to expose the navel.
Grunge and neo-hippie fashions began to decline in the fall of 1994. Plaid and flannel gradually lost their appeal amidst a backlash against grunge. Bell-bottom jeans were replaced with wide-leg jeans. White denim became fashionable among guys as well as girls. Tie dyed shirts and granny sunglasses became unfashionable. Wraparound sunglasses became popular, and remained popular through the rest of the decade. Bowling shirts became popular after Green Day wore them in their Basket Case video, and remained more or less popular for the remainder of the 1990s. Golf shirts became part of the new post-grunge style in 1995. Skater shoes became popular, coinciding with a rise in the popularity of skateboarding. The bowl cut hairstyle went out of fashion. Most teenaged and pre-teen boys moved towards shorter hair, although a small portion maintained the long straight hair of the grunge style.
Mod fashion made a return in the fall of 1995. Bootcut jeans and Levis 501 style jeans superceded wide leg jeans. Teenaged girls and women began wearing black boots with chunky high heels. T-shirts became more form fitting, especially for women, with the advent of the baby doll t-shirt. Teenaged girls began wearing colors such as pink, baby-blue, and plum. The "Rachel" haircut, named after the cut worn by Jennifer Aniston on the sitcom Friends in her role as Rachel, became popular. Short skirts became popular once again. In 1996, colors such as orange and yellow became popular, amidst what was characterized a 1970s revival. Fads of 1996 included the happy face, and peace sign necklaces. Hip hugger flare-leg jeans became popular among teenaged and pre-teen girls in 1996. The Mod and 1970s retro fashions of 1995-96 set the tone for much of teenaged girls fashion through the remainder of the
Punk fashion and alternative styles were common by 1996. Short, spiky hair, black t-shirts, black work pants, wraparound sunglasses, and skater shoes were part of these styles. Many punk and alternative teenagers dyed their hair colors like blue, green, and fuscia. In 1997 a Goth fad developed which featured long black hair, black shirts, black work pants, black work boots, and black trench coats. Both the punk and goth styles survived into the 2000s, albeit in modified forms.
The preppy look made a comeback in 1997 among teenaged males. At first, the preppy look was closely associated with the Tommy Hilfiger clothing line. Tommy Hilfiger t-shirts and jeans were staples of the preppy look in 1997. Short hair, often dyed blonde, was popular among the preppy crowd. In 1998, Khaki pants became popular among teenaged boys, owing to the popularity of golfer Tiger Woods. Aloha shirts, also called Hawaiian shirts, became a major fad in 1999.
Corduroy fabric became popular in 1997. Corduroy fabric was used to make corduroy pants and corduroy overalls, sometimes abbreviated to "cords". Popular colors included black, tan, and grey. Corduroy continued as a trend into the 2000s, though the popularity of the fabric was inconsistent.
Spaghetti strap tank tops became a popular female clothing item in 1997, allowing teenaged girls to show more skin, including cleavage. The Skort, a half skirt, half short, also became popular in 1997. The Skort lost popularity in 1998 amid the rise of long wraparound skirts. colors popular among teenaged girls in 1997 and 1998 included lemon yellow, lime green, olive green, violet, and grey. A color fad of 1998 was army camouflage on pants, baby t-shirts, and spaghetti strap tank tops. The low rise jean phenomenon began in 1998. In 1999, Capri pants, a tapered pant that ends mid calf, became popular with girls and women. Pink became the dominant women's clothing color in 1999.
Two types of denim washes became popular at the end of the 1990s. The first was rinsewash, a denim wash that was popular in the 1950s and 1970s. The second was sandblasted denim, which replaced stonewash denim as the most popular denim wash.
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