After the excess of 1980s fashion, the early 1990s saw a more casual style of dress. But access to more genres of music throughout the decade led to the birth of new looks, many of which adopted a rebellious streak and increasingly saw people identified by their image.
Jeans still ruled
Pants were a key part of the 90s fashion. Denim remained at the forefront of many looks and was the choice of the early years. Grunge fashion became popular following the success of Nirvana and nothing said grunge liked ripped jeans. The rips signified rebellion and a ‘devil may care’ attitude.
Hip hop also hit the mainstream in the 90s and although denim was a large part of this look too, they weren’t ripped but they were big – and the baggier, the better. Often worn low on the hips and accompanied by bling, this was just one part of the hip-hop look seen on the mean streets.
Hip-hop headwear had it going on
It seemed that every popular type of headwear was somehow linked to hip-hop too. The classic was the snapback hat, seen in many a music video and usually bearing a logo. They could be worn forwards, backward or to the side and all were equally cool.
Rappers also popularized bandanas which were used to represent gang affiliation. But these were hijacked by pretty much every other fashion and soon were just another headwear trend. And bucket hats followed the same path from rap videos to every teenagers’ wardrobe
Some looks never seemed to change
Leather biker jackets were still in fashion and a teenager could have worn the very same jacket his dad had worn 20 years ago and looked the part. Usually paired with jeans, boots, and t-shirt, it was the fashion of the anti-fashion brigade.
While others came and went
Cargo pants were popular for a period in the 90s. They were baggy, oversized and, with so many pockets, practical too. Overalls were also given their time in the spotlight. Worn with one strap hanging down, this look transcended musical genres during its fleeting moment of cool.
The boy band look(s)
Boy bands could do no wrong when it came to fashion and were able to move seamlessly from overalls to smart turtlenecks and then to windbreakers with their gaudy colors and highly flammable nylon. Windbreakers epitomize the mid-90s. Bold, loose lightweight they could be matched with pretty anything that wasn’t leather.
T-shirts for all
Skate culture saw graphic t-shirts ride a wave of popularity, usually paired with baggy jeans and pumps or sneakers. But the t-shirts were huge in every sphere of fashion. Protests or slogan t-shirts were big in grunge, bold colored ones in hip-hop and rap, and baggy t-shirts under a floppy hairdo was another style that boy band members had cracked.
If casual was consistent throughout the 90s, the size was changeable and by the end of the decade, loose was very much the order of the day once more.
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