- The 1990s were an exciting time for fashion.
- Insider spoke with a fashion historian to learn more about the origins of some of the decade’s most popular trends.
- Technological advancements inspired clothing styles and brought more awareness to fashion in the ’90s.
- Acid-wash denim, crushed velvet, and colorful blazers were all big trends of the decade.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The ’90s were an exciting time for fashion.
According to Sarah Byrd, a New York University and Fashion Institute of Technology lecturer and fashion historian, this can be traced back to technological advancements made in the decade, which made fashion more accessible to everyone.
From the burgeoning internet to the Style Network, a cable channel that broadcast style- and beauty-centric shows, information about fashion as well as style inspiration suddenly became widely available to anyone with a TV, or, in the later ’90s, a home computer.
Byrd told Insider that prior to the mid- and late-1990s, high fashion and luxury name brands were mostly reserved for an elite group of people — celebrities and designers. But with more access to media and TV shows about celebrity style, everyday people started to feel that they could participate in the once-exclusive world of fashion.
“In the late ’90s, you had this widespread emergence of TV shows that talked about style,” Byrd said. “For example, with shows like ‘Fashion Police’ on E!, celebrities [became] not just talent, but they also became fashion icons.”
In short, styles popular in the ’90s — just like fashion trends of any decade — reflected both old and new ideas. Some styles spotted often in the 1990s, like mod sunglasses and plaid outfits, were reminiscent of the ’60s. Other styles, like patent leather and nylon clothes, symbolized a futuristic view and a look toward what people thought the year 2000, the new millennium, would bring.
Here are some of the best fashion trends from the ’90s that we wish would make a comeback.