How to Dress Like a '90s Teenager
Whether you're getting ready to attend a '90s themed party, or simply want to channel the fashions of one of the greatest decades of all time, this article will teach you the essentials!
Go grunge. Grungy style is an overall "sloppy" look that suggests you didn't spend very much time putting together your outfit, and yet managed to look awesome anyway. To achieve the grungy look, opt for the triple threat: denim, band tees, and leather jackets.
- Wear loose-fitting clothes.
- Find cutoff, acid-washed, or otherwise destroyed jeans.
- When possible, have holes or rips in your clothing.
- Consider going faux rather than wearing genuine leather.
- Keep your hair messy. Ideally, avoid washing it for a few days to achieve a greasy look.
- Try to find t-shirts of bands that were popular before and during the '90s like Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, and The Doors.
Get dolled up. Babydoll dresses were very popular in the '90s, and were usually short-sleeved and floral-print. These babydoll dresses were variations of the flowered dresses that were popular in the 1930s. They were often "dressed down" for the daytime with a pair of combat boots, sneakers, and/or a jean jacket.
- Body-conscious velvet dresses (try maroon or black) were also in style at the time.
- Wear cropped-tops. Try pairing high-waisted jeans with a cropped t-shirt, tank-top, cardigan. Tight-fitting tees (opt for a size or two smaller than what you would normally wear) were also trendy for women.
- Wear butterfly clips in your hair. These tiny, plastic, multicolored hair clips were popular among girls of all ages. One trendy look was to pull back the front of your hair in one inch segments and pin each one with a butterfly clip. The end result should look as though you're wearing a "headband" of butterflies.
Wear plaid, and lots of it. Plaid button-up shirts, plaid skirts, and plaid dresses were '90s staples. Try layering a plaid button-up over the rest of your outfit (leaving it unbuttoned), or wrap a plaid shirt around your waist.
Rock a pair of overalls. Long overalls, overall shorts, and overall dresses were all the rage in the '90s! This was a common fashion for teenage women during the 1930s as well, especially for ones living in rural areas. For extra authenticity, leave one of the clasps undone.
Layer a vest over a t-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, or dress. '90s vests came in every color and print imaginable; try a denim, crochet, or floral-print vest.
Revisit the '70s and the Great Depression. Remember that during the '90s, there was a revival of '70s fashion, which included many hippie and disco-inspired trends. With the booming economy of the 90s, many teens and young adults had glamorized the "poor life" of the 1930s which includes the grunge fashion.
- Wear anything with tie-dye, peace signs, or flowers on it.
- Find a pair of bell-bottoms. Bell-bottoms are pants that are fitted at the top and flare out dramatically at the bottom. Try them in jean or corduroy. Add a peace sign or flower patch to the pants for an extra flare!
- Wear platform shoes. These disco-inspired shoes were full-throttle in the '90s. Platform shoes are available in sandals, heels, wedges, and even sneakers, and come in a variety of colors.
Shoes and Accessories
Wear high-top, multicolored sneakers. Try Converse, Nike, Reebok, and Vans. If you're going for a grunge look, then wear sneakers that have been worn down excessively, and that have mud stains and/or holes.
Invest in black combat boots. Doc martens, among others, were all the rage in the '90s for men and women like.
Find a pair of jellies. These shoes were available in every color imaginable: purple, pink, green, gray, blue, and even clear!
Wear headbands. Find thick (about the width of two fingers), bright-colored headbands that match your top or dress, if possible.
Wear hats. Black fedoras and backward baseball caps were '90s essentials when it came to hats. Women oftentimes wore hats with oversized flowers or bows attached to them.
Where to Shop
Shop the brands. The following were popular clothing and shoe brands in the '90s: JNCO, Tommy Hilfiger, Hypercolor, Umbros, Calvin Klein, Roxy, Keds, Reebok, Guess, and Nike.
Scour your local thrift stores. It can be hard to find authentic '90s clothes in modern-day clothing stores, so thrift shops are a good option. Plus, you'll be saving loads of money by shopping second-hand.
Shop on eBay, Etsy or other sites that carry vintage items. These sites and others like them carry items that are vintage or vintage-inspired that may not be available in stores anymore.
Raid a closet. Check out your parents' or older siblings' closets, or ask a friend if they have any '90s clothes that they no longer want. Dig into the depths of your own closet (if you were around in the '90s) to see what clothes you have held on to!
- If you are dressing up for a themed party, consider dressing like a particular character from a well-known '90s teen movie or show like Clueless, Clarissa Explains it All, Can't Hardly Wait, 10 Things I Hate About You, Cruel Intentions, and more.
- Watch old music videos, read old magazines, and watch movies/shows from the '90s for more fashion inspiration.
- Remember that '90s women's style has made a comeback. Floral-print babydoll dresses, combat boots, and grunge are all popular again, so consider checking out modern clothing stores.
- You could go mod, which is oasis blur and stone roses inspired, this is adidas originals, dark jeans, and beige trousers. Fred perry and Ben Sherman polos were very popular also Harrington and parka coats.