When we think of fashion from the 1990s, we think of freedom. It was a time when people had the opportunity to express their individual style and break the trend of uniformity found in decades past. Fashion of the ’90s popularized grunge and leisure wear, not to mention our favorite cartoon characters, while paying homage to previous decades as well.
Ramy Gabal, an undeclared sophomore, reminisces about his favorite ’90s trend that today has seemed to fall by the wayside.
“A typical outfit for me in the ’90s included baggy jeans, baggy everything actually,” Gabal said.
Hardly any brands still sell what Gabal refers to as “baggy jeans.” And if someone is still wearing a pair, they were probably purchased over a decade ago. Jeans are still sold in boot cut, and that ’70s flared leg has even made a recent comeback, but it seems the skinny leg is the new style of this generation and here to stay. We left loose jeans in the ’90s with MC Hammer, Dennis Rodman and financial stability.
Us ’90s babies were also the first generation whose style was a direct byproduct of children’s television. We associate our childhood wardrobe with a little less self-consciousness and a bit more character.
Anxhela Zenuni, a sophomore majoring in philosophy, politics and law, recalled anything with characters as one of her favorite ’90s trends.
“I was obsessed with Power Rangers and videos games, so I wore a lot of graphic tees, with spandex and belts around my waist and lots of pink,” Zenuni said. “I wanted to be the pink Power Ranger.”
Christian Garrido, a sophomore majoring in computer science, was also stylistically inspired by the Power Rangers.
“My favorite shows were ‘Power Rangers,’ ‘Friends,’ ‘Pokemon’ and ‘Digimon,’” Garrido said. “I definitely wanted my style to emulate the cartoons more than the characters in ‘Friends.’”
Children didn’t have the Internet to lure them away from television, so more time was spent watching “Saved By The Bell” and “Boy Meets World.” As a result, we were immersed in the fashion trends of the decade.
Kurt Anderson, an American novelist, wrote in his article for Vanity Fair’s January 2012 issue about how issues such as technology have been able to influence people today to reflect on fashion of the past.
“Ironically, new technology has reinforced the nostalgic cultural gaze,” he said. “Now that we have instant universal access to every old image and recorded sound, the future has arrived and it’s all about dreaming of the past.”
And it’s true with clothes. Certain stores are devoted to reviving and preserving ’90s styles, like American Apparel, which was a originally a store for basics. It now sells “mom jeans,” all kinds of acid-wash denim, confetti-print shirts, hypercolored T-shirts, tribal-print parachute pants, flannels and other retro favorites. In other words — ’90s clothing heaven.
But not everyone is accepting of American Apparel’s mission. Many young adults who lived through the ’90s view the store as a knock-off, and feel that it doesn’t grasp the true feeling behind this unique era. Who wants to pay $80 for a scrunchie?
While fashion constantly draws on inspiration from the past in order to reinvent itself, the “anything goes” attitude that permeated the 1990s has changed. Teens in the ’90s were innovators, trying new styles and trends. Fashionable teens today are copycats, just trying to dress like the kids from decades past.