1990s in fashion

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Women's hair was straight and usually styled with a short fringe cut, known as a hime cut. In Europe, long dresses were popular for day and evening wear. (Photo date, 1997).

The fashion in the 1990s was the genesis of two sweeping shifts in the western world: the beginning of fashion rejection and the beginning of the adoption of tattoos,[1] body piercings aside from ear piercing [2] and to a lesser extent, other forms of body modification such as branding. This started the indifferent, anti-conformist approach to fashion which was popular throughout the 1990s, leading to the popularisation of the casual chic look, including T-shirts, jeans, hoodies, and trainers, a trend which continued into the 2000s.

The early 1990s saw the continued relevance of numerous mid and late 1980s fashions among both sexes, especially the preppy look. However, the popularity of grunge and alternative rock music helped bring the simple, unkempt grunge look into the mainstream by 1994. In general, the 1990s saw a minimalist fashion aesthetic in fashion,[3] contrasted to the more elaborate and flashy trends of the 1980s. Additionally, fashion trends throughout the decade recycled styles from previous decades,[4] notably the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, a trend which would continue into the 2000s and 2010s.

Women's fashion[edit]

Darker shade of lipstick seemed popular amongst women in the 90s. The trend continued until early 2000s. (Madonna, 1990)[5]

Early 1990s (1990-1992)[edit]

Supermodels and high fashion[edit]

Neon colors[edit]

Slip dresses first became widely worn in the mid-90s, as part of the underwear-as-outerwear trend. (Jane Leeves, 1995)

Leggings and exercise-wear[edit]

Mid-1990s (1993-1996)[edit]

1970s Revival[edit]

Designer clothing[edit]

Late 1990s (1997-1999)[edit]

Pastel colors[edit]

Casual chic[edit]

Men's fashion[edit]

Early 1990s (1990-1992)[edit]

Grunge-style flannel shirt and curtained hair, 1993

Grunge look[edit]

Modern Preppy[edit]

Mid 1990s (1993-1996)[edit]

Cool Britannia[edit]

African-American teenager with Hitop fade, popular from the early-mid-1990s.


Late 1990s (1997-1999)[edit]


Business wear[edit]

Youth fashion[edit]

Kate Moss popularized the "heroin chic" look during the 1990s, which was characterized by pale skin, dark circles underneath the eyes and angular bone structure.

General trends[edit]




Example of late 1990s goth fashion.

Psychobilly and Punk[edit]


Hair and Makeup of the 1990s[edit]

Woman with Rachel haircut, late 1990s

Women's hairstyles[edit]

Women's hair in the early 1990s continued in the big, curly style of the 1980s, albiet much more subtle. Straight hair, which became very popular in the 1990s, did not hit the mainstream until the mid 1990s, inspired by late 1960s hairstyles. The pixie cut and Rachel haircut, based on the hairstyles of Jennifer Aniston in Friends and Marlo Thomas in That Girl, were popular in America from 1995 onwards.[29] Straight hair was also styled with a short fringe cut just above the eyebrows, known as a hime cut, and those with Afro-styled or naturally curly hair would rely on a Relaxer to keep the sleek straight hair. In the mid-1990s, this style went out of fashion until its revival in the late 2000s. Dark-haired women tended to dye their hair a lighter color with blonde highlights (popularized by Jennifer Aniston) until the late 2000s. Bangs remained popular throughout most of the decade. The Bob cut was also quite popular in the late 1990's.

Men's hairstyles[edit]

Men's hair became increasingly shorter from the early 1990s onwards. In the early 1990s, curtained hair (sometimes dyed blond) and small ponytails were popular among yuppies. Side-partings were briefly popular in the mid-1990s before head-shaving had become an acceptable way of dealing with male pattern baldness. From the late 1990s onwards, spiky hair, crew cuts and variants of the quiff became popular among young professional men. Dark haired men dyed their spikes blonde or added wavy blonde streaks well into the mid-2000s.

Youth hairstyles[edit]

For teenagers longer hair was popular in the early to mid-1990s, including collar-length curtained hair, shaggy surfer hair popular among some Britpop fans, and dreadlocks. This changed in the mid-1990s, when the much-ridiculed bowl cut became a fad among skaters, while hip-hop fans wore a variant of the flattop known as the Hi-top fade. In the late 1990s, hair was usually buzzed very short for an athletic look, although a few grunge fans grew their hair long in reaction to this. Headbands and scrunchies of various styles and colors were popular with girls throughout most of the 1990s, who frequently wore them with side ponytails and bangs.

See also[edit]


A selection of images related to the period.


  1. ^ Bad fads: Tattoos
  2. ^ Body piercings and Tattoos
  3. ^ 1990s Minimalism
  4. ^ Fashion at the edge: spectacle, modernity and deathliness, Evans, Caroline [1] Yale University Press, 2007, p. 22
  5. ^ http://www.stylist.co.uk/beauty/trend-on-trial-90s-brown-lips#image-rotator-1
  6. ^ Steele, Valerie (1997). Fifty years of fashion : new look to now (2. pr. ed.). New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-07132-9. 
  7. ^ Highbeam.com
  8. ^ Gypsy Rose
  9. ^ Whatever happened to Cool Britannia? The UK after eight years of Blair Thirty British, US, French and Canadian scholars assess Blair's policies and style after two terms, in May 2005. Links to papers and video.
  10. ^ Vaidyanathan, Rajini (12 February 2010). "Six ways Alexander McQueen changed fashion". BBC magazine. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  11. ^ Ray Bans
  12. ^ Wallace, Carol McD. (24 October 2005). "We're All Preppies Now". New York Times. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  13. ^ a b Colman, David (17 June 2009). "The All-American Back From Japan". New York Times. Retrieved 19 June 2011. 
  14. ^ Roots of preppy
  15. ^ Keyes, Cheryl (2004). Rap Music and Street Consciousness (Music in American Life). University of Illinois Press. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-252-07201-7. 
  16. ^ Anthony Head
  17. ^ "Six Categories". Casualpower.com. Archived from the original on 2013-07-02. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  18. ^ Nelson, Chris (13 January 2003). "Nine Years After Cobain's Death, Big Sales for All Things Nirvana". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  19. ^ ^ Peterson, Brian (2009). Burning Fight: The Nineties Hardcore Revolution in Ethics, Politics, Spirit, and Sound. Revelation Books. ISBN 978-1-889703-02-2.
  20. ^ "Football Casual | FootballCasual.com | History" . Footballcasual.com. http://www.footballcasual.com/history/the_history.html . Retrieved 2008-10-18.
  21. ^ Why is chav still controversial?
  22. ^ Britpop
  23. ^ Harris, John. Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock. Da Capo Press, 2004. Pg. 202. ISBN 0-306-81367-X.
  24. ^ Geri auctions her famous dress
  25. ^ Peterson, Brian (2009). Burning Fight: The Nineties Hardcore Revolution in Ethics, Politics, Spirit, and Sound. Revelation Books. ISBN 978-1-889703-02-2. 
  26. ^ Goodlad, Lauren M. E.; Bibby, Michael, eds. (2007). Goth: Undead Subculture. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-3921-2. 
  27. ^ Last white superstar
  28. ^ All American back from Japan
  29. ^ Mock, Janet; Wang, Julia (eds.). "Jennifer Aniston Biography". People.com. Archived from the original on 28 February 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011.