As a child of the '90s, I'll admit that there are many trends of that decade that I'd rather leave behind (pencil-thin eyebrows and towering Spice Girls–esque platform sneakers among them). And while I did dabble in some of the era's more questionable looks—including butterfly clips and plastic chokers—I'm convinced the decade is far chicer than we give it credit for.
You only have to look as far as celebrity throwbacks featuring Gwyneth Paltrow, Naomi Campbell or Jennifer Aniston to see that the most standout looks from the '90s were often the simplest. From knit dresses to chic silk slips, the outfits that can be categorised as easy and effortless are also the most prominent looks that have stood the test of time.
With this in mind, I delved into the archive and found a treasure trove of easy '90s looks that I'd happily wear today, including a particularly lockdown-friendly Jennifer Lopez outfit and throwback Julia Roberts look that has been re-created by many an influencer. Keep scrolling to see the easy '90s outfits I'd still wear today. I promise you, they're still worth a space in your wardrobe.
1. The Slip Dress
Style Notes: Let's start as we mean to go on, with one of the decades biggest style influences–Gwyneth Paltrow. The actress was a '90s It girl, as evidenced by her penchant for sleek, minimalist looks like the silk maxi dress above. This awards look is a classic silhouette, only made better by the must-have accessory (not Brad Pitt), silver jewellery.
2. Cardigan and Silk Trousers
Style Notes: This look may be from almost three decades ago, but it feels more relevant than ever post-lockdown. A simple cardi and silk trousers that could pass as pyjamas? Talk about a perfect WFH outfit. Thank you, J.Lo (although, I'll take mine in easy neutrals).
3. Logo Top and Jeans
Style Notes: This understated look, courtesy of Naomi Campbell, just might be the most classic outfit formula of all time. Jeans and a white top are a timeless combination no matter the era. and the key to nailing off-duty supermodel style.
4. Knit Dress and Statement Bag
Style Notes: Keeping it relatively simple, our favourite Friend Jennifer Aniston opted for a timeless knit dress and paired it alongside a statement leopard bag for the GLAAD awards red carpet. It might not be the first formal look you think of, but the unexpected combination still manages to make sense with a 2023 update.
5. Leather Blazer Over a T-Shirt and Jeans
Style Notes: Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm willing to bet I've seen several influencers in this exact outfit lately. Clearly a boxy leather blazer and vintage-wash jeans are guaranteed to stand the test of time.
6. LBD and Strappy Sandals
Style Notes: There's no debating the ease and effortlessness of the LBD. Find yourself a great, versatile fit, and you'll wear it for any occasion, and for years to come. That's what we a call a very sound investment.
7. Denim Jacket and Leggings
Style Notes: While travelling isn't always on the cards quite as much as we'd like, that doesn't mean we can't still appreciate a chic airport look. Here, Tyra Banks opts for a denim jacket, a Calvin Klein tee and leggings, and honestly, the picture looks like it could have been taken yesterday.
8. A Basic Top, Pencil Skirt and Knee-High Boots
Style Notes: It's impossible to talk about 90s outfit inspiration without mentioning Carolyn Bessett-Kennedy. From maxi coats and column dresses, to her impeccable taste in eveningwear, Bessett-Kennedy set the tone for the modern minimalist brands like The Row, Tibi and Khaite that we love today.
9. A Knit, Mini Skirt and Ballet Pumps
Photo:Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Style Notes: If you needed any further proof that fashion is entirely cyclical, just look at the journey of the ballet pump. From the stage to the street via Audrey Hepburn, Kate Moss, and Alexa Chung, we're wearing them on repeat this spring/summer, and a mini skirt is the simple shoe's best friend.
SHOP MORE 90s INSPIRED KEY BUYS
This piece was published at an earlier date and has since been updated.