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What Women wore in the 1990’s

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Nineties fashion was hard to pin down. A clash of trends screamed for our attention while others were so quietly cool they’re still sartorial staples in our collective wardrobes: slip dresses, Doc Martens, chokers, crop tops.
While the 1980s were all about volume — padded shoulders, puffed jackets, big hair and an obsession with designer wear — style in the early 1990s was decidedly low maintenance.
The slip dress, one of the decade’s most enduring garments, is perhaps the most glaring example of this. Spaghetti straps held up barely-there silk dresses, swapping the frills of the ’80s for minimalist ease.
Weekends were about biker shorts, turtlenecks, high-waisted jeans and baggy, logo tees. Hair was scraped into scrunchies or left as flouncy, unstyled manes.
The ’90s also gave rise to celebrity supermodels, including Linda Evangelista who summed up the industry’s excesses at the start of the decade by saying she didn’t get out of bed “for less than $10,000 a day
Evangelista joined Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington for the finale of Versace’s Fall 1991 collection. They walked arm-in-arm down the runway, lip-syncing the lyrics to George Michael’s hit “Freedom! ’90” — the music video for which they had all starred in.
It was a very early-90s moment.

From glam to grunge

By the middle of the decade, however, glamazons had given way to a more relatable type of beauty. A new waif-like femininity emerged, best personified by Kate Moss.

Grunge was also taking over and in 1993, then 29-year-old Marc Jacobs put unstructured pieces on the catwalk in a Perry Ellis show that featured granny dresses, Doc Martens and plaid shirts.
He was wildly criticized and, ultimately, fired for it. But the collection became one of the decade’s most important turning points for fashion, not to mention his career.
Chanel’s Spring 1994 range also looked to the street, dressing models in skates and baggy boy-shorts accessorized with rapper’s chains, while Calvin Klein presented lingerie-layered pieces that were, as he told Vogue, about “the personal, about staying in and being alone, and not flaunting what you have on your back.”
As the decade progressed, fashion moved from functional to decisively feminine.
In his first show for Gucci, Tom Ford reinvented the Italian brand, flaunting velvet trousers and sexy satin shirts endorsed by Madonna at the 1995 MTV Video Music Awards.
In the late 1990s, Alexander McQueen bet on explicit provocation with a series of experimental shows, of which Spring 1997’s La Poupée (The Doll) was perhaps the wildest, featuring models in various metal restraints.
Meanwhile, for a generation of teens raised on MTV and the fictional lives of fellow adolescents — Beverly Hills, 90210 and Bel-Air, to name just a couple — fashion came to be defined as a mix of preppy garments (duster coats, plaid miniskirts, knee-high boots) and slouchy cardigans, ripped jeans and snapback hats.
Keds and Skechers were cool though, if you were into rap, Timberlands had to be your footwear of choice. Reebok Pumps were sneakerheads’ Holy Grail and combat boots the hallmark of Kurt Cobain-enamored kids.

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