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The Effortlessly Cool 90s Babe

There’s no denying that the 90s are back, baby. Yep, the decade that glamorized plaid shirts and introduced women to their boyfriend’s band tees. And while we’re glad that some trends stayed buried (remember cargo shorts?), the effortlessly cool factor of the 90s babe remains a timeless accessory.

One of the greatest things about 90s fashion is accessibility. The decade was all about bucking the system, so when it comes to getting dressed, forget the rules! Mix and match what you’ve got-- it’s time to celebrate your individuality! There might be a more stylish you hiding in the closet.

Get Sophisticated with Tones
Photo by Lawrence Schwartwald, Getty Images.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel Pryce, Vogue.

The good news is that you don’t have to be Gwyneth Paltrow to look good in a monochrome outfit. Monochrome suits exude power and confidence, regardless of how you feel! And while the aesthetic appears highly curated, transforming your existing pieces into a polished monochrome look is easy.

The key is to stick with light colors, so leave your black on black at home. To get started, pick your favorite skirt or pair of pants. For example, a white flowy skirt is a perfect foundation to build on! Then choose a top of the same color.

For a sophisticated twist, add another element of a slightly different color tone. Can you guess what would look fabulous with your white flowy skirt? A boxy, cream-colored jacket! Not quite white.

Create Structured Shapes
Lisa Bonet in 1995. Photo courtesy of stylinglikeitsthe90s
Photo by Suki Liang, Vogue.

Structured jackets are the investment piece for the year. Not only are they effortlessly refined, but structured jackets also create big silhouettes that are flattering on almost anyone. The broad shoulders create dimension and visually cinch your waist. The oversized sleeves make you feel teeny-tiny. (Here’s to you, Ariana Grande.) But the best part? It’s comfy cozy. Plus, there are usually pockets involved.

You only need one! And in true 90s fashion, thrifting your structured piece would be ideal—size up for that casual it-girl vibe. Or you can check with brothers, dads, or boyfriends for old sportcoats. Think David Byrne proportions. Then, pair your new menswear piece with a femme midi skirt or, hell, even your everyday black pants. For a modern twist, alter your oversized blazer by sewing a button to the side for a custom streetwear look.

Don’t Be Afraid to Play

The upcoming fashion season is playful and unapologetic-- how could we not be? Fortunately, we can always rely on the 90s for inspiration, if not for the style, for the attitude. How do you exude that effortless cool? Work with what you’ve got! Pair similar hues together to elevate your old pieces into a monochrome outfit. Play with big shapes, and don’t be afraid to gender-bend.


HK Sloan is a graduate from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in English & Creative Writing. You can keep up with her on her blog or on Instagram @lazybonesloan.

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