Top 10 Decade Defining Fashion Trends Of The 1990s
Top 10 Decade Defining Fashion Trends Of The 1990s

Top 10 Decade Defining Fashion Trends Of The 1990s

Script written by Genevieve Methot

It was the era before social media and when being flashy wasn't necessarily a bad thing. Join as we count down our picks for the Top 10 Decade Defining Fashion Trends Of The 1990s

For this list, we chose trends that may have been introduced in other decades, but which became so popular in the 90s that they truly defined the decade.

Top 10 Decade Defining Fashion Trends Of The 1990s

It was the era before social media and when being flashy wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’ll be counting down the top 10 decade-defining fashion trends of the 1990s.

For this list, we chose trends that may have been introduced in other decades, but which became so popular in the 90s that they truly defined the decade.

#10: Rachel Hair

Who would have thought that when Jennifer Aniston sat in her stylist’s chair, those two would create such a trendsetting ‘do? Everyone we knew who watched Friends has tried some variation of the classic cut at some point in her life. And, since there weren’t too many of us who didn’t watch the show, there were literally Rachel copycats everywhere. To get that cut now would age you by 20 years, but when Rachel went from her boring brunette mop to this cropped multi-layered coif, she not only defined a generation, but became America’s sweetheart.

#9: Bucket Hats
Once upon a time, somebody put a bucket on their head and said, “Yes! This looks amazing!” Hats in general were still a very common accessory back then, but this rimmed bowl was the style you wanted to be caught wearing. Kind of like a fisherman hat but with a lot more flare, boys and girls alike wore it regardless of the occasion, though it was extremely popular in the ever-expanding rap community. This style of hat has popped up on the radar every now and then, but it has yet to make a full-blown comeback.

#8: Overalls

These denim one-pieces designed to hold up your pants weren’t always worn by the farming community. From overalls to baggy pants to mom jeans, it seems as though pants in this decade were designed to be as unflattering as possible. When it came to overalls, everyone had a pair, and with it came the responsibility of deciding how to wear them. There were so many options: one shoulder, two shoulder, or clipped, but off the shoulder. Oh, and it definitely helped if your pager was rocking the front pocket. Since then, they’ve circulated store racks, mainly in the form of shorts, but they come and go as quickly as the seasons.

#7: Mood Rings

Go into any trinket store or tourist shop, and you might still find these babies for sale. It didn’t matter that people’s moods tended to change with the temperature of the room, teenagers suspended disbelief because mood rings were, like, totally sweet. These wearable liquid crystal thermometers were actually invented in the mid-70s by two inventors who wanted to sell the jewelry for a much higher price. We guess that rich, old ladies weren’t really sold on the idea, since the rings only became popular when the teen market latched on.

#6: High Platform Shoes

If you grew up in this era, then you will immediately associate platforms with the Spice Girls. Hands down, no other 90s group had a bigger fashion influence than these British pop divas. Worn manly by Baby, Scary and Ginger Spice, these three convinced even tall girls that they could use an extra five inches. Compared to any other high-heeled shoe, these were definitely the most comfortable, and you might even remember wearing them to gym class, ’cause this was the 90s, and that’s what we did. Never mind that each shoe weighed at least a couple of pounds!

#5: Butterfly Clips

Because girls and young women everywhere were really fed up with not wearing insects on their head, butterfly clips were the true solution. In fact, butterflies were pretty much stuck to everything in the 90s. These plastic hairclips were flimsy, broke easily, and held approximately five hairs in place, but weren’t they so cute and feminine? They could be worn on their own or with matching butterfly earrings and butterfly body stickers. Eventually, women figured out that it was actually okay to leave their hair alone, but in an era where basically everything needed to be accessorized, butterfly clips were just the tip of the iceberg.

#4: Floral Clothes

In a lot of ways, the hippie lifestyle of the 70s had a major influence on 90s fashion, and one of these was the obsession with flowers. From dresses to jewelry, from daisies to rosebuds, these patterns gave “flower power” a whole new meaning. We’re not saying that the feminine motif was invented in the 90s, but it kind of felt like this was the trend that had a hard time going away…which was fine by most of us. Printed flowers have been around for centuries, which means we’ll likely see that style again and again in our lifetime.

#3: Plaid/Flannel Shirts

As ironic as it sounds, the grungy plaid look was as much a fashion trend as it was an antidote to mainstream fashion. At the time, wearing a plaid flannel shirt buttoned, unbuttoned or tied around the waist meant that you were likely part of the scene that glorified not giving a damn. Guys like Kurt Cobain and Eddie Vedder immortalized the trend, which was probably completely unintended. Because the style was usually accompanied by unwashed, uncut hair, ripped jeans and converse, it may have gotten a little cleaner, but it never really went away. Seattle Grunge is locked away in the past, but it looks like flannel and plaid shirts are here to stay.

#2: Chokers

Okay, we know chokers have been around a helluva lot longer than 20 years. But in the 90s, it would’ve been hard to find a girl not wearing one, or two or three of these things. And there were so many styles to choose from; one for every type of gal: the soft and feminine velvet ribbons with teardrop beads, the sporty shell and hemp versions, the edgy spider webby tattoo ones, or the hardcore spiked dog collars. Some of these have recently made a comeback, and since chokers are actually kind of flattering, it’s likely they’ll never completely go away.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Crimped Hair

Slap Bracelets

Jelly Sandals

Crochet Dress

#1: Crop Tops

No other item of clothing in this decade single-handedly drew a line between girls who were comfortable with their bodies and the rest of us. How else were 14-year-olds supposed to show off their belly button rings? By today’s standards, showing off a little tummy–especially without the added coverage of high-waisted Levi’s– won’t even scandalize Grandma, but back then, that was the line that didn’t get crossed; at least for a little while. We have Britney and Christina to thank for that kind of hyped-up sexuality that made the crop top mark the end of teenage naïveté, but ultimately, we owe them for making it the most defining fashion trend of the 1990s.

So, do you agree with our selections? What is your favorite fashion trend from the 1990s? For more stylish Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to MsMojo.