Cousin Lucy’s Excessive Wisdom: How To Be A Big 90s Kid
Fashion is like karma, it goes around and comes around, and it turns to the left. While we may cringe at the awful things we wore 15 years ago, we can rejoice in the obvious art and beauty that is our current style, which is inevitably influenced by our collectively awesome 90s childhood.
The internet has a love affair with the 90s – which makes sense when you consider that us Gen Y-ers are the last generation to be raised without the internet for a large part and also some of the first to create content on the web 2.0. There are ten billion 90s reminiscence posts around the web lamenting the loss of 90s cartoons, music and style. With one quick Google, you can quiz yourself to find out which Spice Girl you are (as if you don’t know) and discuss with others the deep issues like Dawson vs Pacey.
I’m here today to add to this gold mine, and discuss how we can all learn from the beautiful fashion mistakes we made up until 2003, because everyone knows that’s when the 90s actually ended. Get ready for the most important thing you’ll read today. Here’s how to be a big 90s kid – or at least dress like one.
1. Tomboys are rad.
Every girl in the 90s rocked the tomboy look at some point, made famous by Gwen Stefani, Aaliyah (for the sexy version) and Alex Mack. Most likely you rocked it because you had little to no expendable income and were dressed by your mum, but that doesn’t need to stop you from embracing it once again. This look has been back and going strong for a while now, thanks to the return of crop tops and high waisted pants.
If you’re feeling super punk then add a backwards cap or bucket hat, or if you’re not into hats, style your hair into those tiny buns that Gwen sported all those years ago and Miley brought back at her infamous 2013 VMA performance. This look oozes swag, but the word slag is so millennial, so really it’s just cool. Or just don’t do anything but get your mum to start buying your clothes for you and laying them out on your bed – or maybe she never stopped. Thanks mum.
This look wasn’t even a look back in the day, it was just what you wore because you’d be playing in the street with your friends. Remember when you had those people you’d call on a landline phone and have to navigate not accidentally strangling yourself with the cord whilst still trying to maximise your privacy?
2. Get preppy.
Raise your hand if Clueless changed your life. Just me? The preppy look/Iggy Azalea has a lot to thank the classic movie for, sadly I was only about nine when I watched Clueless for the first time, this meant that I was far too young to be sporting plaid skirts and knee socks (whatever mum). Additionally I hadn’t hit puberty yet and my body was pretty much shaped like a plank of wood, which didn’t help. Luckily, knee-high socks are back in a BIG way, plus I’m an adult now and buy my own clothes. It’s super easy to recreate Cher’s best looks with a few short skirts, a few warm sweaters and a maybe a cheeky vest here and there.
Guys, it’s super easy for you to work this too, remember those horrible itchy jumpers your nan used to make you? Team one of those with a shirt underneath (obviously to separate the wool from your sensitive skin), run some gel and comb through your hair and viola, you’re set.
3. Spice Girls.
Yes, Spice Girls is a look, and not just for dress up parties. Remember when platform shoes went out of style and became just for sex workers? It was devastating. When I was about 11 I had a pair of kick ass platform Sketcher shoes that I wore everywhere and looked killer. When rocking platforms these days, maybe tone it down from the Spice Girls days and stay away from knee high plastic varieties, but by all means rock it with a bit of leopard print if you were a Scary Girl or an oversized Adidas t-shirt if you were a Sporty Girl. I like to think of Alison Wonderland as the modern day pioneer of this look. Girl Power never goes out of style.
Guys, you’re looking at rocking polyester two piece tracksuits with elasticated cuffs and taking your hair an attitude inspo from 5ive. A well-placed eyebrow ring doesn’t go astray here. Neither will digging up your old walkman (cassette player, not CD). This is the look that matched the posters in your room. You’d actually buy magazines just based on the posters inside. Now you’re paying rent and shit and posters are just to cover the holes for house inspections.
4. Get fucking glamorous.
Okay, this is not new. Every generation has their own version of ostentatious glam, designed to show off one’s wealth and status. But don’t pretend the style icon of this look wasn’t J-Lo, with her Juicy sweatsuits and her tinted sunglasses (so 90s). And just like J-Lo’s love don’t cost a thing, recreating her look doesn’t have to either. Just opt for all white and fuckloads of gold jewellery. Get some giant, brown tinted fashion glasses with no UV protection. Maybe a Benz. Ben Affleck. Etc.
Menfolk, just wear what you’d wear to Sensation on NYE and spike that blonde tipped hair.
5. Leave some things behind.
Some things are best left in the past and we need to accept it. This means you, middle parted bowl cuts, corduroy pants, Velcro wallets, and those meshy t-shirts that were super tight and had weird prints of trees or whatever on them. Embrace the newer and better versions of these things, like this weird trend of boys having undercuts while keeping their hair long hair on the top and tying it up into a little messy bun like a Tumblr girl. Or bodycon dresses with mesh cutouts, god damn they look hot. Remember that it’s been almost 15 years and you’re now an adult capable of making informed choices, so put away those roll-ups and go with the gluten-free, dairy-free, air-free equivalent. There’s always a newer, stupider trend for us to try while still keeping in with the classics. Give it all a go, it’ll make a great #tbt photo one day.
If it’s gone, who’s to say it won’t come back. Those plastic choker tattoo necklaces that I thought had died and gone to hell (where they belong, IMO) are back, as are bucket hats (thanks, Chance the Rapper and Justin Bieber) as well as maxi skirts (call me when denim maxis are back and in H&M, thanks). I’m personally waiting for Asian-inspired tops and dresses (is it cultural appropriation? I don’t even know any more, but I do know I still have them and they still somehow fit), shitty plastic butterfly clips, and un-ironic Bart Simpson t-shirts. Halter tops. Capri pants. Unnecessarily baggy cargo pants. Body glitter. Tinted sunglasses. And frosted tips … boys, cut those damn ponytails off and get some blonde on your tips like a real man.
But pretty soon the zig-zag hair parting will be back in style and I’ll feel like an old, old woman that needs to settle down and start drinking Metamucil on the reg. Until then, I’ll be binge watching Daria and 90201.
Sure, our glory days are behind us, but they’re also ahead. If you get worried about looking like a knob, remember it’s all been done before. Makes me really wish I hadn’t thrown out my sick glitter jeans from Just Jeans. They’re bound to make a comeback soon.
Get gelling on your hair and your Roxy boardies on, 90s kids, I’ll see you next week.