Fashion Styles From the 90s Up to the 2000s

By Caitlin McCulloch

Many people think of the 80s as an iconic fashion era. Everything was vivid, loud and large. The 90s, having to follow this decade of fashion, do not get much recognition aside from "the Rachel" haircut made famous by Jennifer Aniston. However, both the 90s and the first decade of the 21st century have distinct fashion trends of their own.

Large cellular phones such as this were a prominent accessory of the 90s.

Early 90s Clothing Styles

At the beginning of the 90s, many things were toned down from the previous decade. Shoulder pads still remained in the early 90s, however, and were often included in shirts. Over-sized tops were a common characteristic of the early 90s, such as long sweaters and big T-shirts that were embellished. The bottoms of the early 90s were tight to balance out the largeness of tops. Leggings, especially leggings with stirrups, were widely worn. Skirts were straight and hit just above the knees.

Late 90s Clothing Styles

As the 90s progressed, the clothing changed slightly. Slimmer fits became more prominent, calling for a neater look. Shoulder pads faded and skirts became slightly shorter. Tops became tighter and midriff or knotted tops began to pop up. Tops with prints, three quarter sleeve shirts and collars with fake fur emerged. Bottoms changed as well. Trousers with a loose fit or a boot leg cut were the choice of many, along with tight fitting jeans.

90s Materials and Colors

Lycra, a tight fitting, stretchy material, was often used in the 90s. Women with slim figures chose lycra dresses, skirts and tops. Small amounts of lycra were also combined with wool skirts, trousers and jeans to provide more of a stretch. The 90s offered an array of fabrics to choose from. Aside from lycra, some of the most popular fabrics included silk, velvet, linen, cashmere, polyester and fleece. Though there was a variety of materials to choose from, color options were toned down from the 80s. Black was prevalent, along with neutral colors. Bright, bold colors were not found, especially in the early 90s. If black was not worn, other common colors included pastel pink, grays, navy, taupe, sand, olive and camel.

Trends of the Early 2000s

The overall style of the early 2000s was casual and laid back. Clothing that was comfortable and low maintenance dominated. Sports clothing was also quite popular, going along with the casual trend. Linen and cotton were most often used. Fashion trends of this time period were often borrowed from other eras or inspirations. Jungle wear was common, such as camouflage, khaki and various animal prints. Big sleeves and styles inspired by kimonos and ponchos were widely worn. Babydoll style dresses and tops with Spanish inspired ruffles began to emerge, and several retro styles of the 60s, such as tailored jackets, began to return.

Trends of the Late 2000s

The late 2000s captured an explosion of colors. Springtime brought shades of lime, peach, lemon, pink, deep red and orange. Popular summer colors were multiple shades of purples and blues. The wide variety of blue shades carried over into pants. Jeans were worn in an array of washes, from pale white blue to nearly black navy shades. Tribal and gladiator inspired items emerged, such as patterned skirts, wooden jewelry and brass embellishment on shirts. Gladiator inspired sandals were dominant. Leggings returned to the scene, often being paired with layered tops or long tunic shirts.