The resurgence of '90s fashion is a bit funny. While on the one hand, it's brought us incredible outfits featuring slip dresses and kitten heels, there's also a raft of trends we'd like to keep in the past. After reaching out to the rest of the Who What Wear team, we reminisced about all the pieces we used to be so proud to own but can't imagine ever wearing again (we think).
From the more embarrassing looks to downright odd ensembles, there are plenty of strange and hilarious pieces we'll try avoiding in the future. That is, unless Vetements suddenly makes them cool again… Keep scrolling for our guide to the '90s fashion items we wore to death and then forgot about (until now).
Style Notes: While this trend might have started with Liam Gallagher and the Manchester music scene, the likes of All Saints and Naomi Campbell were seen promoting this look too. Most recently, Justin Bieber tried to bring it back again. Opinions are split.
Style Notes: This item's popularity probably has a lot to do with the fact that The Matrix was such a huge hit—everyone wanted to wear Neo's long leather coat. But because that maxi silhouette isn't exactly practical (and is more associated with goth kids), it evolved into this shorter form instead, as seen on Winona Ryder and on Kate Moss. Today, you'll rarely find a cool girl in a leather blazer—it's all about the classic biker.
Style Notes: As modeled here by Victoria Beckham, pedal pushers weren't shorts or trousers, and they definitely weren't cropped kick flares. They sat somewhere in a tasteless no-man's-land that accentuated your thighs and made your legs look short by cutting them off in the middle. Very popular at Tammy Girl. These were filed under "never to wear again" but then influencers have been experimenting once more…
Style Notes: The halter neck and the handkerchief were the official tops of the '90s—and they were always paired with a pair of boot-cut jeans (probably from Miss Sixty) and abs.
Style Notes: Seriously, though—who didn't own a pair of combat trousers? Thanks to All Saints, the baggy "dad" trousers actually looked pretty sassy when combined with a crop top.
Style Notes: We've tried many a time to block this one out. The waistcoat was often worn during the '90s as a piece all by itself, rather than belonging to a suit. Ideally it should be worn à la Drew Barrymore with a denim skirt and a bum bag.
Rounded Oversized Sunnies
Style Notes: Kurt Cobain was a style icon for many reasons. His baggy cardigans and love for the general grunge look inspired a whole generation of fashion. But we still love these oversized red sunnies he wore on the red carpet for the MTV Video Music Awards in 1993. While they've just started to come back into fashion, we'd forgotten about them for so long.
Style Notes: Trust Liv Tyler to really remind us of our youth. The strapless top was a must for any '90s wardrobe. Preferably accessorised with an oversized necklace.
Baggy Jumpers and Beanies
Style Notes: There are many reasons to love the Gwyneth-and-Brad era. For starters, they always somehow managed to do the couples-dressing thing without appearing tacky. But they also did casual dressing like no one else.
Style Notes: Thanks to The Craft, there wasn't a group of friends in the '90s who didn't try the "light as a feather, stiff as a board" game (if you know, you know). But trying out spells isn't the only thing the goth movie inspired—it also impacted our wardrobes. Cue lots of layered necklaces and black.
Style Notes: Plaid and checked shirts were a real grunge '90s vibe but they didn't just belong to the likes of Kurt Cobain. In My So-Called Life, Claire Danes's Angela Chase often wears the shirts over cute floral dresses, a classic '90s look.
Sassy Black Dresses
Style Notes: Sure, the LBD hasn't exactly disappeared, but in the '90s, it was all about the super-short and sassy version. No one did it better than Jennifer Aniston's Rachel from Friends.
Style Notes: Blossom, played by The Big Bang Theory star Mayim Bialik, was probably singlehandedly responsible for our obsession with ridiculous quirky hats. While we're much more for a cute beret these days, back then, the school of thought was "the bigger, the better."
Style Notes: Oversized denim dungarees were hugely popular among hip-hop stars in the early '90s, but it wasn't long before everyone from TLC to Joey Potter in Dawson's Creek and Rachel Green in Friends had a pair too.
Style Notes: After '80s fashion gifted us acid brights and neon bum bags, '90s style icons like Goldie Hawn and Drew Barrymore gave the look an altogether cooler vibe with black-leather bum bags slung around high-waisted jeans.
Style Notes: Ah, the baby-doll. Mainly considered lingerie, it wasn't until Emma Bunton, aptly nicknamed Baby Spice, started wearing them as eveningwear that they became such a trend.
Style Notes: If you didn't have a tie-dye T-shirt like the original Destiny's Child lineup, were you really living through the '90s? These were truly everywhere, with even grunge icons like Kurt Cobain getting involved. ■