Not only is the Internet a mecca for those nostalgically-inclined, the release of Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke’s "Before Midnight" has triggered memories of ‘90s-era oversize flannel, leather coats, and, well, everything seen in 1995’s "Before Sunset."
So to celebrate a time many of us are a little too young to fully rightfully romanticize (unless you’re talking about matching sweat suits from Northern Getaway), here are 10 fashion trends inspired by ‘90s movies.
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1. The Gap
Movie: "Reality Bites" (1994)
Lest we forget Lelaina’s (Winona Ryder) fear of being brought down to Vicky’s (Janeane Garofalo) level upon being offered a job at The Gap – the store that embodied prep culture from the mid-to-late 1990s. Whether through khaki ads, puffy vests, or its revival of basics, The Gap regained an essence of hip throughout the decade. Especially thanks to Vicky’s choice to work there in the first place.
2. Floral Mini-Dresses
Movie: "Singles" (1992)
It’s not a ‘90s list without an homage to floral prints, and thanks to Cameron Crowe’s coming-of-age cult classic, they will forever be an aesthetic part of the Seattle grunge scene. However, while fictional Janet Livermore (Bridget Fonda) epitomized the ‘90s vibe through her combination of florals, leather, and Doc Marten’s, there were actually countless movie heroines who helped cement the trend as a must-wear as the decade progressed. Even now, more then a decade after the '90s ended, celebrities such as Jessica Alba, "The Descendants" star Shailene Woodley and "Amazing Spider-Man" actress Emma Stone rock the floral trend today.
3. Ankle Length Skirts
Movie: "Practical Magic" (1998)
For a few brief years, the ‘90s saw a lengthening of hems in the spirit of sisters Sally (Sandra Bullock) and Gillian (Nicole Kidman) Owens who donned the style while resurrecting the spirit of evil Jimmy Angelov (Goran Visnjic). Sadly, despite their versatility (they could be paired with everything from t-shirts to crop tops), their popularity faded as the decade came to a close – likely due to the tendency to wear them alongside stark white running shoes and platform flip-flops, for reasons we will never fully understand.
4. Rosaries, Crucifixes, Anything Goth
Movie: "The Craft" (1996)
Nothing (and no one) seemed as cool as pre-power-crazed Nancy Downs (Fairuza Balk), so naturally, her look was to be adopted. Through rosaries and crucifixes worn as necklaces, dog collar chokers, mesh blouses, and, well, anything “gothic,” she gave an aesthetic counterpart to a subculture that also found revival in the mid-to-late ‘90s (and is once again prevalent. Even Katie Holmes rocked a mesh dress recently). That said, no one today could ever compete with Nancy’s black lapelled PVC jacket – or she might come after you.
Movie: "Empire Records" (1995)
"Clueless" may have seen plaid skirts, but Corey Mason (Liv Tyler) breathed new life into kilts in the now-classic "Empire Records." Worn with a cropped sweater and trademark Docs (seriously, you were erased from the ‘90s if you didn’t have them or at least begged your parents for a knock-off), she epitomized the effortless grunge chicness of the mid-decade, only to be upstaged by Deb (Robin Tunney) in terms of tough in-your-face-ness. (Deb did shave her head in the bathroom, after all.) Not convinced? No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani wears them all the time. That's all you need to know.
Movie: "10 Things I Hate About You" (1999)
At some point in 1998 or 1999, you went to the mall, and you bought something with camouflage print. And now, wondering whether you can still fit into it (whatever, x-small teen sizing), you can thank Kat Stratford (Julia Stiles) for breathing life into the trend to begin with. Maybe it was the tank top on its own, the fact she wore it with extra wide-legged pants, or while reading Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar, her penchant for coloured camouflage was enough to justify as much of the print as possible, hoping it would help lure a Heath Ledger-equivalent. Even singer Lana Del Rey loves her camo.
Movie: "Clueless" (1995)
The ‘90s can’t be defined by a colour; they must be defined by a print: plaid. Lots of it, all the time, and if not worn as over-size shirts (see: "Singles"), then as matching skirt and blazer sets à la Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) and Dionne (Stacey Dash). Best friends in life as well as in fashion, Cher and Dionne’s yellow and black and white print suits proved plaid needn't always be sloppy-looking: it could be polished, preppy, and business appropriate. However, wear with knee socks for best effect. Hey, if it's good enough for Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, it's good enough for you.
Movie: "She’s All That" (1998)
First, let’s establish that Lainey Boggs (Rachel Leigh Cook) had a fantastic look going before Freddie Prinze Jr. descended upon her to get both his make-out and makeover on, but ignoring that point, remember the overalls that began it all. Worn as part of Lainey’s “artistically-inclined student” uniform, they worked to hide the figure her friends were hoping she’d show more of.
However, on her first beach trek, they come out again – only to be taken off so she can wow her gentleman caller with a retro one-piece bathing suit. Were they worn that way usually in the 1990s? Well, of course not. But it certainly inspired them to be paired with tank tops and baby t-shirts as the 2000s began. Even "Inglorious Basterds" star Diane Kruger is trying her best to make the overall have its comeback.
9. Platform Shoes
Movie: "Spice World" (1998)
While Posh (Victoria Beckham) opted for stilettos and Sporty (Mel C.) went for sneakers, the likes of Baby (Emma Bunton), Scary (Mel B.), and Ginger (Geri Halliwell) Spice made stacked, wedged, and platform shoes a must-wear for anyone with a penchant for slamming one’s body down and moving it all around. Practical? No, but the decade was built for fashion over function. After all, how else do you explain Geri’s Union Jack dress, or Victoria’s collection of little Gucci dresses? (Which, granted, she managed to survive being thrown overboard in.)
Movie: "Jurassic Park" (1993)
Forget the music, open-shirted Jeff Goldblum, and even the dinosaurs, for the true star of "Jurassic Park" was Laura Dern and her wardrobe. From her introductory scene clad in the Canadian tuxedo, she reflected an era in love with casual wear – particularly high-rise, slim cut, straight-legged jeans. True, the rest of the world weren’t paleontologists, but like Helen Hunt’s khakis in "Twister", Laura Dern’s jeans became their own star, worn by women throughout the decade, and untouched even by her work socks and boots.