The 90’s as a Decade
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No doubt the ’90s were a fun time. While the ’80s were all about excess, the 90s embraced minimalist and a laid back attitude. Gone were the over-done hair, bright suits, and glittery accessories. The 90s was all about having no cares left to give, rebellion against the status quo.
For me, the style was all about the baggy, chill, and thrown together. Surfer looks, skater looks, and a general air of “hanging loose” was the vibe. New, young Hollywood stars like Keanu Reeves, Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt. all epitomized this chilled-out style. Messy hair was perfect for casually flicking it out of the eyes - a move perfected in the 90s by these heartthrobs, much to female fans delight!
Smells like… Flannel?
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Hollywood wasn't the only place setting the trends. Music became a major influencer in the 90s as a fashion movement. Glam rock of the 80s - with all its excessive, skin-tight clothes and massive styled hair - died a quick death when grunge came on the scene.
Led by Kurt Cobain and his Seattle band Nirvana, the music was hard, slow, and full of emotion. The style was thrift shop wear - oversized flannels, ripped t-shirts, baggy jeans, and messy hair - usually flopping over the eyes. This fashion movement was defining to the 90s, and made it easier than ever for guys to be “on trend” - just find a flannel from Goodwill, and you were set!
Hip Hop Anonymous
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Grunge wasn’t the only fashion movement setting trends. Hip hop went mainstream in the 90s, with stars like Biggie, Tupac, and Puff Daddy coming into the national consciousness. Hip hop style was anything but minimal. Bright colors and designers like Tommy Hilfiger defined the look, but like with grunge, the baggy look was a must. The bigger the jeans or t-shirt, the better.
Key accessories included Kangol bucket hats, gold chains, and snapback hats. Color blocking - using multiple bright solid items all together in one outfit - was popular. Thrifting was still popular in the hip hop scene as well, and vintage t-shirts could be blended with designer jeans for an edgy look that didn't seem like you were trying too hard!
Key 90s Trends to Embrace Today
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You don’t need to go all out and end up looking like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air! With a few key trend pieces, you can relive the 90s vibes without breaking up with the 21st century - or breaking your bank account.
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The biggest trend that took over in the 90s was the rise of the flannel. The trend was started by Nirvana and other grunge bands, but it ended up taking over all aspects of culture. Even boy bands like N*Sync got into the trend!
To rock this look, you need an oversized flannel to wear over a plain or logo t-shirt. Another popular look was to tie the flannel around your waist, again leaving it long and baggy. Flannel was usually paired with jeans or khakis, completing the laid back look.
All Denim Everything
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If you’re looking for the perfect jeans to pair with your flannel, some baggy, oversized jeans are ideal. The casual vibe of jeans meant lighter washes and straight or baggy cuts were the most popular.
Denim jackets - again oversized and ripped, were also super popular. Overalls, usually worn with one-side down - were on-trend for guys as well. Jean shorts - or jorts - also saw a lot of popularity with guys. During the ’90s, it was common to see ahead to toe denim look!
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For a 90s guy, a windbreaker was a look that was a little more polished and preppy that the ripped denim look. These were thin zip-up jackets usually in bright colors. They were worn half-zipped, with a t-shirt or tank top underneath
Windbreakers started as athletic wear but soon started taking over as everyday casualwear. Pair them with khakis or chinos for a full-on 90s everyday guy look.
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Nothing says 90s style more than a turtleneck on a guy. This look was popular with both preppy guys and hip hop heads. The high neck look was one area where baggy wasn't better - the turtleneck should be well fitted, and almost professional looking.
To complete this look, tuck the turtle neck into light wash jeans and pair with a simple belt. They were also the perfect layering look. Wear a windbreaker or blazer of the turtleneck to really go full 90s while looking put together. Add a gold chain worn outside the neck for a more flashy hip hop vibe.
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Gold never goes out of style, but the 90s saw the continued popularity of gold chains on men. Thin chains were more casual, worn by rockers and movie stars under their shirts, offering a peek of gold under baggy flannels and t-shirts. Larger chains were more of a hip hop style, where everything came with a little more flash.
To rock this look, choose a chain that drops just below your t-shirt line. You can wear a gold chain over the top of a shirt, or leave it tucked in as an understated vibe. Don’t worry about it going out of style either - gold chains are timeless.
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The 90s were known for bright colors and mixing big prints. While the style was casual, they were also eye catching. Even mixing funky prints was acceptable!
Geometric prints, African prints, blocks of color, and mixing flannel styles were all a huge trend. This is a look that can be very high fashion if done right. To get the style, check out thrift shops for random old overshirts or sweaters - the brighter the better. Blending a funky shirt with regular jeans can keep the look casual, or you can go full 90s and match the colors head to toe!
Snapbacks and bucket hats
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Hats were also part of the colorful trend. Snapbacks, often from sports teams, were used to tie together outfits. Usually, the color of the hat was matched in a shirt or sneakers, but funky mixing of colors was a trend as well
Bucket hats were also popular, especially after LL Cool J started rocking them. Bucket hats were popular with the surf and skate crowd as well as hip hop heads, and today are seen as part of laid back “stoner” culture.
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To complete any 90s outfit, all you need is a pair of big combat boots. Doc Martens was the brand of choice for both men and women. This style came out of the Northwest grunge scene, where harsh winters made sturdy shoes a must.
But soon combat boots were everywhere. Mix them with ripped jeans and flannel for a full grunge look, or wear them as an edgy statement with khakis. The larger and chunkier the boots, the better
A Chilled Out Decade for Fashion
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As you can see there are lots of trends from the 90s that are still super popular today. Whether you are looking to recreate a full-fledged retro look, or just capitalized on the comfort of oversized flannel, there is a 90s trend for you! The key is to pair it with the laid back and funky attitude of the 90s. Remember, anything goes as long as it looks like you're not trying too hard. It’s all about keeping it chill.
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