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I recently headed to Seattle to spend some time with friends. I typically will head up once every 2 or 3 months just to hang out and shop, but for some reason almost a year had passed since I had last visited. When I arrived I totally felt like Marty McFly. I was shocked to find myself transported back to the last place I’d ever want to return: high school.
The grunge scene had a huge influence on 90’s fashion. Walking into a mall in the Seattle area today is a trip. It is as if Kurt Cobain is still alive, Jordan Catalano is still the ultimate heartthrob and I am still the awkward teenager who is unable to rock the cool pair of overalls on the account of my wicked long torso (no amount of slack in the suspenders will ever alleviate the camel toe). Zebra Club was even selling pre destroyed cardigans with holes, a la Kurt Cobain, for like $125 that looked like they were stolen from the bum hanging out in an alley in U- Village.
I am okay with a little grunge glam, but let’s not glorify a truly hideous decade of fashion. It’s not like it was the early 60’s where women were ladies and men were gentleman- those classic styles are worthy of the term vintage. Your dirty old flannel and unionbay overalls do not qualify.
What makes this come back even worse is that now we document EVERYTHING. When I look at pictures of my grandparents in back in the fifties and sixties I am so jealous of how amazing they all look. This makes me wonder what my grandchildren will think of me when they see pictures/ instragrams/hollagrams or whatever the crap we have by then.
I firmly believe that those of us who are old enough to regret our style choices in the 90’s will allow the extreme 90’s style to phase out and die again. For now it seems like I am going to have to Tim Gunn it and “make it work”. Here are some better ways to interpret 90’s style that has been forced upon us once again, and then some you need to stay away from to avoid embarrassing future generations.*
Mixed prints: I LOVE mixing prints! Nothing makes me happier when I can clash two prints perfectly! People did this sort of thing all the time in the 90’s and it is one thing I am happy to partake in.
Neon: We’ve been seeing this the last 3 or 4 summers; I personally LOVE the florescent look and I wear a lot of it. There is a very cute and classy way to do neon. It’s like lipstick; you got to find your shade and just go for it. It’s not for everyone, but if you have the confidence to do it rock it.
Tip: bump your tan up a notch by wearing a neon shirt. It will make you look darker and give your skin even more of a summer glow.
Denim: Its back in big ways. I know it never really left, but keep it classy, no overalls, no extreme acid wash or Canadian Tuxedos. Instead buy a cute denim top or jacket with a nice fitted cut and rock it with a cute pair of black pants or shorts.
Floral and Flannel:
Floral baby doll dresses mixed with combat books and flannels were an Angela Chase staple. This is one trend that is easily made adorable- just update this look with a chambray top or long cardigan and a cute floral dress. You can even keep the tights and combat boots!
Flannel went away for a brief time but was resurrected around 2006. I live in the Pacific Northwest- I own an entire closet full of plaid/ flannel. You can’t live here unless you do. I personally put it away for most of the summer months, but when August rolls around the rodeo comes into town & my plaid shirts come out to play!
Literal 90’s fashion: I know hipsters will try to go as far as to bring back fanny packs and LA Gear shoes with acid wash jeans, and part of me says let them. Most of those kids in their late teens early 20’s didn’t get to experience the trend the first time. If you have already lived through the 90’s you have no excuse for such literal choices. There’s no need to embarrass yourself twice in one life time.
Wedged Sneakers: If you have already made this mistake, I forgive you and I do not judge you. My sister is wearing a pair in her senior pictures with her wide legged JNCO jeans and crop top. Let me save you from the embarrassment that I have seen plague my sister for the last 15 years: don’t partake.
Tip: if you already own a pair, do whatever you can to make sure no one ever photographs you in them!
I started to see this trend creeping back up in stores about two years ago. It seems like the industry can’t decide if we want to keep long tops in fashion or if we should go through the disgusting crop top phase all over. There seems to be one body type a crop top looks good on, and it’s almost never the type of body I see crop tops on in real life.
All this being said, I am a big fan of going for it in fashion. You get to decide what you can pull off. Wear what you like, but also takes risks. Just be mindful that not all looks that you try are going to be winning ones and that’s okay.
* I reserve the right to be a total hypocrite and do exactly the opposite of my advice if any trend sticks around long enough to seduce me into thinking it’s a good idea.
Tiff’s Current Obsessions: Writing songs in my sleep, dresses, lip gloss, Kelly Osborne’s hair, street cred, Icelandic melodies, haikus, GoT memes, naps, juicing, shopping the end caps at Target, spreading awareness of the dangers of jelly fish and speaking in tongues without interpretation. Follow her on Twitter @iamtgar