Celebrating 25 Years: Top 10 Best (And Worst) 90s Fashion Trends

September 24, 2018

Applied Art & Technology is turning 25 this month, and to celebrate, we're taking a look back at all things 90s!

Wayne’s World. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Beavis and Butthead.

Feeling nostalgic yet? We sure are. It was truly a great time for music, pop culture and fashion trends...especially if your aesthetic is oversized and shapeless.

A few of these trends are even back in style now (seriously, have you been to Target lately?), and some we hope to never see again. So, throw on some baggy jeans, flip your baseball hat backwards and put on your most colorful windbreaker as we break down the 10 best and worst 90s fashion trends.




10. Mood Rings

Not just a 70s staple, these emotional little pieces of jewelry made a big comeback in the 90s. You’d get a mood ring (usually at the mall) mainly because it was cool and everyone had one. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. But how else would you know how you were feeling?


9. Tinted Sunglasses

What’s better (and more stylish) than regular sunglasses? Tinted sunglasses! Maybe even circular ones, Dwayne Wayne style. And believe it or not, they're making a comeback now. But honestly, who can wear them better than Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen?


8. Chokers

Another fashion trend making a comeback! They were worn by our idols like Sabrina the Teenage Witch and the Spice Girls. A choker can instantly make any outfit look cool and chic — and maybe even a little goth-y.


7. Jelly Shoes

One of our personal favorites and a 90’s staple. They’re durable, stylish, and you can show off your pedicure without taking off your shoes! Just try not to break an ankle when your feet get a little sweaty.


6. Flannel Tied Around the Waist

Everyone was wearing this trend — from Rachel Green on Friends to Joey Russo on Blossom. Why wear a belt when you’ve got a sweater? Unless you have one of those braided belts that you artfully knotted near the buckle.


5. Slap Bracelets

Getting slapped on the wrist didn’t mean you were in trouble; it was a fashion statement! Especially when they came in crazy 90s prints. You were almost definitely banned from bringing these to school.


4. Tube Tops

Thanks to Britney, Christina, (no last names necessary) and Destiny’s Child, tube tops were a wardrobe staple for many teen girls. AS IF Queen Bey would be caught dead wearing one now.


3. Butterfly Clips

Teeny tiny clips that held microscopic amounts of hair. Never has an accessory been more pointless. The Claire’s in your town had so, so many of these. Stick them in your hair and you were ready to bounce. Preferably in a pastel shade or covered in glitter.


2. Tie-dye

Possibly the most cyclical fashion statement ever? And worn with your best pair of Birkenstocks, you owned that hippy, granola vibe. I mean, if you didn’t wear this combo, did you really even experience the 90s?


1. Overalls

A classic. And per 90s rules, they were baggy and likely had a flannel tied around them. No matter who you were, everyone was hopping on the overalls fashion trend — even the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air himself. Can we all agree to resist the comeback overalls are currently mounting?




10. Baggy...Everything

The bigger, the better. The jeans were not really boyfriend or girlfriend style — just sorta fit-less. Sweaters went to your knees. Ladies, the majority of your clothes were purchased from the men’s section. And you could use them as a parachute.


9. Turtlenecks

A staple in boy bands, for sure. They came in extra thick for the more sensitive types and dark and ribbed for the wanna-be cool types. Thank you, NSYNC, for the inspiration, but we’re gonna go ahead and say “Bye, bye, bye” to that high-necked trend.


8. Windbreakers

At the time, neon windbreakers were pretty magical...though the swish of fabric meant you could never sneak up on anyone. The brighter, the better. Or worse.


7. Fanny Packs

Who could forget the awesomely bad fanny pack trend? But where else were you supposed to store your Game Boy?!

6. Backwards Baseball Hats

Nothing said “cool” like a backwards baseball hat. No one can rock it better than Uncle Jesse though. (Sorry, Marky Mark).


5. Frosted Tips

Thank you to Justin Timberlake (and every 90s boy band) for this wacky hair trend. May it Rest In Peace in the 90s where it belongs. For-ev-er. (We see you there, Sandlot).


4. Bucket Hats

Yet another head-based trend from the 90s. How a shapeless, floppy, and sometimes wrinkled hat was once all the rage is beyond me. As Cher from Clueless would say, "I’m totally buggin.'"


3. Platform Sneakers

These sneakers had the tallest (and thickest) soles, making you way taller than you thought you ever could be. Or should be. Until you fall and break your ankle. (I blame you for this trend, Spice Girls. Zig-a-Zig-wah?).


2. Vests

Nope. Whether denim, leather or sweater, they were seen on just about everyone. Sometimes without a shirt (hello again, boy-banders!). Sometimes with a shoestring tie. Always a bad idea.


1. JNCO Jeans

This trend truly boggles the mind. Just…what? These pants are wide enough to drive a bus through. No one needs that much room in their pants. No one.


So, there you have it. There are obviously many more trends that could have been mentioned (bandanas, starter jackets and tight man tanks were all close), but these top 90s fashion trends truly take the cake in super cool and super…terrible. All of this reminiscing makes us want to chill out and relax by organizing our Beanie Baby collection, getting a glass of Tang and watching Titanic on VHS.


We miss you, 90s. You’re all that and a bag of chips. Stay dope.