Print Edition: February 19, 2014
Throughout my early adult life I have had a hate-on for the ‘90s. I am a child of the ‘90s and in many of my baby pictures my parents are sporting what I like to call the “non-fashion” of the ‘90s. Mum, you wore a monochromatic shapeless pantsuit, and Dad, you were swimming in a baggy tan blazer and loafers. (Insert emoticon of a monkey covering his eyes.)
But wait, there’s more. It was not just my parents who modeled this abhorrent attire. Women sported awkward cropped shirts in every shade of tan, burgundy, and baby blue. Men rocked the greaser “split-bangs,” left-ear piercings, and pukka-shell necklaces. Shoes, whether Sketchers or Doc Martens, always looked oversized and chunky. And whoa, whose idea was it to design cheap plastic accessories like jelly sandals and butterfly clips? It was disastrous, simply disastrous.
Alas, I had always thought the ‘90s styles would never come back in — never! But the other day when I left my house, I didn’t realize I had subconsciously borrowed some of the few “good” aspects of what I always thought was the fashionably destitute decade. Wearing fitted combat boots, a leather bomber jacket, and my hair down and straightened, I realized I was sporting the same apparel as my favourite ‘90s singer-songwriters — and was delighted.
I came to the conclusion that there are aspects of the ‘90s which we have used to form our current 21st century styles. Thanks to clothing stores like American Apparel and Urban Outfitters, we’ve seen a resurgence of ‘80s and ‘90s fashion, and I must say, I am so thankful for trends like the button-down plaid shirt and the leather jacket. That goes for beauty, too — long hair cut all one length is in, and oxblood red lips against pale skin look very dramatic.
The men’s style of the ‘90s has also influenced our modern female look of the oversized boxy blazer and “boyfriend fit” jeans; however, these must be worn in the correct manner.
If you go for the boxy blazer, make sure you choose one that fits you in the shoulders and pair it with fitted bottoms. Fitted shoulders will still acknowledge your shape even though the arms and sides will hang loosely around you.
Also, make sure the blazer is long enough so it is not cropping you awkwardly between the waist and hip. When paired with a slender pant leg, it will highlight the fact that you do have a body and are not just a blob of skin.
As for the “boyfriend” jeans, the same principle applies, but in reverse. Make sure the waist fits you correctly and that you are wearing a fitted top. Also, the bottoms need to be cuffed. If you find yourself feeling a little frumpy, throw on a pair of heels or girly flats. You will still achieve a feminine look.
Remember, there are some valuable “what not to do” lessons we must take from the ‘90s.
Your clothes should generally fit your body — let’s not bring back the “fall-off-your-butt” jeans and shapeless floor-length togas.
Your clothes should cover your body — that is why we wear clothes.
“Grunge” should never be a deliberate look. I understand becoming grungy after working outside all day, or dealing with sticky children, but we should not strive to appear unkempt or dishevelled.
For many of us university students, the ‘90s were the majority of our fundamental childhood years, and as much as the entire 10 years of the ‘90s seem to be a fashion faux pas, it was our decade. I say it’s time to redeem it.