Style & Then Some

The 1990s Sartorial Graveyard: Three Things I Wish I’d Never Worn

Cast your minds back to the 1990s.

No, not the cool Philip Lim, Rihanna-esque grunge nineties you think happened – the real nineties, whereby everyone looked…weird. Granted, I was in that hideous stage of pre-pubescence, all tracksuit bottoms and ill-advised fringes, so I wasn’t even fashion-bad in the sense of Julia Stiles circa 10 Things I Hate About You. But like any impressionable young tween, Tammy Girl said jump, I said how high.

Now in light of this here nineties revival that has trickled down into the wares of high street stores, I am forced to revisit the wincingly bad trends of the last few decades, if for no other reason than to make me put back the confusingly erect beanie hat in Topshop, and accept that only Cara Delevingne looks good in a Bart Simpson crop top. Let us all learn hard won lessons from the past, because there are some things that should forever be consigned to the bin. My lime green zip-up fleece for one, Mum.

1. Skirt Trousers.

I saw evidence of ‘skousers’ (see what they did there?) reappearing on, of all places, the catwalks in February. That’s right: skirts worn over trousers. Now, I see the practicality, Marc Jacobs and Chanel, I do. Tops are permanently that bit too short and skirts are regrettably draughty come an April morning, I can tell you. But the idea veers far too close to a white Lycra pair of skousers my sister owned. They were flared, and ever so slightly see-through, like some kind of stripper Bee Gee. Never again.


Skirt Trousers at Chanel AW 12-13

2. Denim

Fear not, I don’t mean all denim; we all enjoy a good pair of jeans (although, I haven’t bought a new pair since year 10 – they still fit, rejoice!). I’m talking indigo blue denim jackets, shapeless and gawdy, and strange drainpipes in the same shade of blue, stretchy with elastic waist. Christ, denim trainers! All worn together! Sing it with me, ‘say you’ll do what I don’t, say you’re true, say to me…c’est la vie!’


B*witched…as if you could forget

3. Leggings.

Yes, I know they’re comfy. How is it possible to object to innocuous black leggings I here you ask. For many reasons, actually: leggings that are not black, for a start, shudder. Leggings that have stirrups – liberate your pointlessly constrained ankles, children of the nineties! Leggings on anyone with legs bigger than breadsticks. Leggings with perpetual holes, in the knee or bum. The fact that leggings are never as thick as trousers, and thus reveal your polka dot pants. The pairing of leggings with crop tops for anyone other than the cast of Fame – as was outlawed by my old head of sixth form. Justifiably, it turns out.


Inexplicable stirrup leggings

There’s a fine line here folks, be daring and shun the sartorial laziness of leggings, and end up in skirt-trousers. The current decade is not immune to the horror; I’ve already thrown away my flatforms in bemusement.

Do you regret the fashion choices of yesteryear? Or are you a proud trend-follower? Good luck one and all, it’s a fashion minefield out there.


4 comments on “The 1990s Sartorial Graveyard: Three Things I Wish I’d Never Worn

  1. Helen Coakley
    April 11, 2013

    Hey Olivia, Great post! I literally have that awkward tummy flip of embarrassment when I remember my handkerchief crop top…bleugh. I literally hate The Simpsons (who said that?!) so the whole cartoon craze is completely lost on me. I am also currently in abs training mode just to have a shot in hell of pulling off a nineties throw back crop top this Summer!

  2. joannawoolcock
    April 11, 2013

    I too have a little shudder at 90s ‘fashion’. My pre-teen emporium of choice was the New Look 915 range. I had a little collection of £5.95 contrast-strap crop tops, which I used to pair with a wrap over check skirt and a chunky spice girl trainer. Why didn’t my mother rugby tackle me to the ground before I could set foot out the door. Why?

  3. joannawoolcock
    April 11, 2013

    I’m also having flashbacks of teeny butterfly hair grips (numerous) and glitter hairspray which doubled as a protective crash helmet due to its impenetrable crispy finish.

  4. sophiecha
    April 11, 2013

    Kangaroo boots worn when I was still in sixth form I think (eeek), a nice skirt over trouser look and did anyone else scrunch up the front of t-shirts then tuck the bottom through the neckline. Errrrr. I’ll show myself out.

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This entry was posted on April 11, 2013 by in Style and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , .
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