The ‘90s is responsible for many of the most popular clothing pieces, hairstyles, makeup styles, trends, fabrics, and colors that still dominate runways, department stores, and city sidewalks alike. The appeal of the ’90s at the moment is its influence on making athleisure fashion cool and chic. Biker shorts, chunky ‘dad’ sneakers, tiny sunglasses, plain crop tops, and sleek, tight buns or ponytails are all the most recent examples of how the ’90s are influencing the hair and makeup styling of high fashion runway shows.
However, what makes the way that ’90s fashion permeates modern fashion more unique than the resurgence of trends from ’80s fashion and ’70s fashion is how it creates an organic cult following naturally. This is largely because ’90s kids themselves are responsible for bringing back ’90s style to the forefront of fashion trends today. We look to Emily Ratajwowski and Devon Lee Carlson, who were both born and grew up during the 90s, to show us the way.
Authenticity of the ’90s Fashion Trend
’90s kid influencers and celebrities alike integrate these trends of the past into their current style and wardrobe, and by extension, into the modern fashion world. Sure, anyone can throw on a pair of overalls, as Devon did in this outfit, but what adds a natural coolness to it is the fact that they’re an actual pair of overalls her 90s kid boyfriend Jesse Rutherford inherited from his dad. Plenty of today’s top models and influencers were born in the 1990s, and they pay homage to their roots through their street style and their sartorial influences.
Hailey Baldwin’s affinity for a bike short look skyrocketed after her Princess Diana-inspired shoot in Harper's Bazaar. Her ability to throw a ’90s spin on her own style by swapping out the signature ’90s (and Diana) crewneck for a Balenciaga logo hoodie displays a natural grasp on the outfit type that only comes from growing up wearing similar styles.
Kendall Jenner has been called a “walking billboard for ‘90s fashion,” heralding the return of the baguette bag, the thong heel, and vintage Versace. With an understanding of both the decade’s fun-filled maximalism and classy minimalism, Kendall’s street style looks have referenced everything from Carrie Bradshaw’s famous “naked dress” to Britney Spears-inspired cropped cardigans. Kendall’s ‘90s looks have an unmistakably modern lilt, transforming the styles of yesterday into the new trends of tomorrow.
Bella Hadid has single-handedly revived the claw clip trend and “model bun” hairstyle that is often accompanied with a claw clip. While being drop-dead gorgeous with impeccable cheekbones helps her pull this look off flawlessly, it’s also evident the main characters of ’90s rom-coms inspired her. You can find her rocking similar hairstyles for award shows and events.
Here are some fun ways to try ’90s looks for yourself.
At Thrilling, we take joy in finding one-of-a-kind, unique vintage pieces for every occasion, budget, and size. We’ve curated the best of the best, so our customers can find exactly what they wanted and everything they never realized they needed. We’ve put together some of our favorite ‘90s-inspired outfits below, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, send us an email at email@example.com. Along with our partner boutiques, we’ll look through our online inventory to find a look that is uniquely you.
The Princess Diana
No one defined ’90s athleisure like Princess Diana. So why not embody her signature look that can take you from barre to brunch. Pair bike shorts with an oversized crewneck (or hoodie)? Add a pair of normcore dad shoes, tube socks, and tiny sunglasses to complete the look.
The Destiny’s Child
Start with this cool tube top that looks like it could have been plucked straight out of the wardrobe for a Destiny’s Child music video, and follow it up with a slinky satin maxi skirt to elevate the casual piece. Fully commit to that elevation (literally) with a strappy pair of your highest heeled sandals. Top it all off with this insanely cool pair of shades, and you’re ready to hit the MTV awards.
The Pop Princess
Mandy Moore, Britney Spears, and the Spice Girls lined the pages of our Tiger Beat magazines in the late ‘90s, and ‘90s kid nostalgia has heavily favored their bubblegum pop aesthetic. Think metallic pink tube tops, backless tanks, and tiny crop tops for a girly, youthful flare. This was the era of jelly sandals, rainbow mesh slippers, and Steve Madden slides, babydoll dresses, belly button rings, and chokers—the pre-Y2K styles that made us the fashionistas we are today.
The Robyn Brooks
No one does cool like Zoe Kravtiz. Her impeccable style combined with the “High Fidelity“ wardrobe was a recipe for greatness, so why not create your own version? Essential to all Robyn’s looks, start out with a fabulous skirt, add an effortlessly cool, slouchy t-shirt to offset the inherent girliness of the tennis skirt. A casual pair of worn sneakers tie it all together.
The Gwen Stefani
Gwen Stefani’s influence on today’s youth trends cannot be overstated. From Olivia O’Brien to Olivia Rodrigo, Gwen’s style both musically and sartorially has influenced a new generation of musicians. Grab a cut-off white tank top, a pair of low-rise pants, and a studded statement belt for your own take on a look that is iconically Gwen — bonus points if you rock her signature exposed bra straps. Add these sparkly magenta Doc Martens to complete the look.
The Sarah Jessica Parker
Whether you’re a Carrie, a Charlotte, a Samantha, or a Miranda, Sex and the City defined fashion television for nearly a decade. When it premiered in 1998, Carrie Bradshaw’s street style — created by stylist Patricia Field — combined fantasy and reality, becoming synonymous with Sarah Jessica Parker’s own off-screen style. Carrie and SJP popularized the baguette purses carried by the influencers of today, and she made Manolo Blahniks mainstream. Wear your strappy sandals with a DKNY-inspired slip dress for a first date look worthy of ‘90s American royalty.
The Grunge Rocker
Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, Kim Gordon, and their contemporaries came to redefine understated style. While tie-dye might have been the apparel of the counterculture in the 1970s, rebels of the ‘90s preferred a distressed flannel over a thrifted band tee. Pair beat-up Doc Martens with an oversized flannel and ripped jeans for a comfortable, trendy take on ‘90s trends.
Build Your Vintage Wardrobe
Somehow, it’s been 30 years since the beginning of the 1990s, placing authentic ‘90s pieces firmly within the category of vintage clothing. Thrilling is the premier online marketplace for vintage and pre-loved items. We’ve partnered with over 300 small, local businesses across the U.S. to support women- and BIPOC-owned indie shops while promoting sustainability.
It takes tons of water and resources to grow cotton or create synthetic fabrics, not to mention textile waste, toxic dyes, and microplastic pollution. Vintage shopping is the most eco-friendly way to update your closet because vintage clothes don’t use more resources or energy, and you’re preventing high-quality, stylish pieces from ending up in a landfill. Rediscover your favorite ‘90s trends with Thrilling, and have fun finding your new favorite outfit.