Invited to a 90s party and confused about what to wear? Read this article to learn what to wear to a 90s party. One of the iconic eras in fashion history was the 90s. This was the time when hip-hop was at its prime, grunge styles the epitome of trend, and stars embraced the glitzy glamour of starhood.
The 90s was an iconic era that has left a lasting impact on us. Just like how history tends to repeat itself, there is no doubt that fashion trends have come back. Buckle up because the 90s are back! Chunky boots, slip dresses, and butterfly clips? Yes, please!
This article takes you on the ultimate journey as a style guide as we explore the subcultures and trends that surrounded the 90s. It’s time for you to embrace the retro flair because we are going to discuss what you should wear to a 90s-themed party.
The article extends to the iconic cinema and TV shows that amplified the 90s fashion. We will explain the hip-hop fashion that highlighted bling accessories and baggy pants from looking into flannels and boots that were the epitome of grunge fashion. Nobody can forget the rave culture. The rave culture popularized crop tops, platform shoes, and neon colors!
With this article, get ready to dance the night away! Make a fashion statement at the party with the perfect 90s-inspired outfit.
1. What to Wear to a 90s Party: What is the 90s Trend?
Away from the bold, bulky looks of the 80s to the minimalist simple avatar is what marks the start of the 90s fashion trend. The early 90s was still transitioning from the fashion trends that shaped the late 80s. Therefore, the style during this era was vibrant and bold. Floral and swirl patterns were in, and they were in bright colors.
Later we see an evolution as slip dresses and minimalist tees became the focus of the fashion trends. It is also worth noting that music, movie stars, and pop icons influenced the fashion of this era immensely.
Grunge Style, meant to embrace a rebellious attitude, emerged from Seattle’s alternative music scene. This plan of fashion is rebellious because it goes against the norms of always representing a put-together and formal attire. Dr. Martens Boots were in a rage and a must-have to complete the grunge style.
The emergence of hip-hop fashion is in front of Urban Black America and inner-city youth in NYC (New York City). Just like the Grunge style has its origin in music, hip-hop is usually associated with rap music.
Hip-hop preferred baggy clothes, especially pants, because they provided mobility and more movement to the breakdancers. Graffiti artists also played a role in inspiring the outfits of hip-hop.
1.1 What is Considered 90s Clothing?
Fashions from the 1990s sparked an era of minimalism and sunk into the big hair and shoulders that were the mainstay for most of the 80s. Casual and chic clothes defined by baggy sweaters, slip-dresses, and sportswear dominated trends in the 90s.
Icons like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Spice Girls inspired the pop princess fashion look. This look comprised mini skirts, crop tops, glitz and glitter, and platform. Embracing the pop princess look is the perfect way to celebrate femininity and self-expression.
The craze of electronic dance gave rise to the rave culture. Neon lights, bright colors, and vivid patterns characterize the race culture. The key elements of the outfits consisted of baggy pants and fanny packs. One of the defining features of a rave is its bold and wild colors.
Amongst all this glitz and glamour, we see the emergence of the minimalist chic look in the decade of the 90s. Designers like Calvin Klein inspired the minimalist look. This style went for more sophistication and sleek attire. Slip dresses, plain trousers, and simple tees represented a plain and simple color palette and a chic trend.
2. What to Wear to a 90s Party: Get Inspired by TV and Pop Icons
The 90s decade was not only a great era for fashion but also a great era for TV and sitcoms. Many beloved characters and action heroes we know today emerged from the golden television era of the 90s. One of the best ways to give homage to the iconic decade and its characters is to adapt to their style of fashion for a 90s party.
Take a trip down your memory lane as we list down the popular movie and TV icons of the 90s. Explore the magic of the 90s as you look at the costumes that were worn.
2.1 What to Wear to a 90s Party: Like Britney Spears
We need to give credit where credit is due. Britney Spears started her career in 1998 with the popular song “Baby, One More Time.” At that time, the singer, who was young then, received constant criticism for her clothing.
In an interview with Good Morning America, Britney says, “Everybody’s going to have an opinion. You can’t please everybody, but as long as you’re comfortable, I say wear what you want to wear.”
It is safe to say that Britney Spears was one of the catalysts for fashion trends in the late 90s. She was not afraid to experiment with what she wore. She has done everything from tube tops to sheer dresses, belly rings, and crimped hair.
2.2 What to Wear to a 90s Party: Like Mia Wallace
Pulp Fiction is an exceptionally unique action movie. But what we want to focus on today is Mia Wallace. Uma Thurman played the role of Mia Wallace, the wife of a mob boss in Pulp Fiction.
She is known for her unique bob haircut, bold dark lip colors, and minimalist attire. She wears gold Chanel Slippers, cropped black trousers, and white button-down shirts.
Adorn this classic look of Mia Wallace for a 90s party, and don’t forget to take a cigarette holder with you as an accessory for added charm. Mia’s enigmatic charm is going to turn heads toward you at the party.
2.3 What to Wear to a 90s Party: Like Scully and Mulder
The X-Files follows the lives of Scully and Mulder, who are FBI agents. Actors Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny portray the roles. Dress up for the 90s party with your friend or partner as this duo so that you unravel the mysteries of the night!
Scully dresses up professionally with a blazer and tie. Mulder adorns a classy suit with a loose tie. This outfit is also perfect, especially if you have gotten a last-minute invite or have not prepared for the party beforehand.
2.4 What to Wear to a 90s Party: Like The Tenth Doctor
The tenth doctor from the population TV series ‘Doctor Who’ took the world by storm. David Tennant portrays the role of The tenth doctor in this series.
Ironically, this series inspired the Scottish actor to pursue acting in the first place. David Tennant brought the kind of charisma and poise that the audience loved.
He became one of the favorites of science fiction enthusiasts. Carry with yourself a screwdriver to explore time and space as the tenth doctor to a 90s party.
The key elements of the outfit of the tenth doctor consist of Converse sneakers, a brown trenchcoat, and a suit. The suit must be pinstripe. Channel your inner adventurous spirit to rock the look of the tenth doctor at the 90s party!
2.5 What to Wear to a 90s Party: Like Buffy Summers
Buffy Summers is the main protagonist of the popular series called “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” She is known for her loyalty, strong moral compass, and determination. She plays the role of the slayer, and the series follows her life as she battles vampires and all other kinds of dark forces. Sarah Michelle Geyer portrayed Buffy Summers.
Buffy’s signature style in the series characterized her as one of the fashion icons of the 90s. Therefore, leaving her out of this list would be a crime.
Although she rarely wore a less-than-beautiful outfit, from flowery dresses to leather attires, it is important to list down all her iconic outfits here. But one of her most iconic fits consists of leather boots and a jacket. If possible, carry a wooden stake with you.
To keep the vampires away from the party, of course! One of her signature attires is from the ninth episode titled “The Puppy Show,” where she wears a leather print dress that is short, up to her knees.
She pairs it with a black leather jacket and knee-high black boots. Dress up like Buffy because, just like her, you can be the chosen one at the party.
2.6 What to Wear to a 90s Party: Like Rachael Green
You will be living the rock if you have not heard of the famous 90s sitcom “Friends.” With a whopping ten seasons, Friends remains to have created nostalgic memories for its audience. Although the 90s are long gone, Rachel Green remains a style muse for many.
She is preppy, she is sexy, and she is beautiful and enticing! Wear a slip dress with a T-shirt or a turtle neck with a tartan skirt. Slip on some shorts with tights and a crop top to finish it all off! Her wardrobe was the 90s epitome of fashion. Slip-on dresses, chequered fits, chokers, and all denim fits, she wore it all!
2.7 What to Wear to a 90s Party: Like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
One of the most popular sitcoms running from 1990 to 1996 is “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” This series starred Will Smith and gave us many funny moments paired with social commentary. The fashion picks of this show are known to be diverse and peppy.
Don’t be afraid to wear clashy patterns from brands like Coogi and many more. Wear a neon outfit that was purposefully decided by the costume and design team of the show. Adorn peppy bright colored tracksuits. Do not forget the signature backward cap to complete your look!
Dress up as these characters that once captured the heart of the 90s. They still evoke a sense of nostalgia. Embody these characters as they exude a sense of confidence. From the coolness of The Fresh Prince to the chic, preppy fashion of Rachel Green, enjoy yourself as you dress up as these 90s characters!
3. What to Wear for a 90s Party: Embrace the Grunge
The Grunge style emerged in the mid-1980s from the grunge music genre. It gained momentum and widened in popularity in the 1990s. This style is all about celebrating imperfections. It emphasizes imperfections and how beauty lies in imperfections too.
The grunge style focuses less on silhouettes and prefers baggy clothes. Most of the grunge fashion styles are androgynous in nature. This fashion style is the baseline for the messy look with dark colors of clothing.
Curt Cobain was one of the pop music icons who gave rise to this look. He was the leader of the music band Nirvana and always wore loose-fitted looks. He popularized the grunge fashion style With high-waist jeans, unkempt, messy hair, and his rebellious and carefree aesthetic.
You just have noticed that the androgynous style, or fashion style that is a cross between male and female fashion style, is back on the runways. This style was a signature style of Kurt Cobain.
Punk music was in decline. This resulted in grunge music, the music of Seattle, and northwestern America gaining momentum to become mainstream. Grunge style wasn’t meant to make a fashion statement at all. Then what led to its mainstream popularity? The ease and laid-back style made the people love it all the more.
Furthermore, it was something new and a stark contrast to punk rock fashion. While Punk Rock was bold and preferred metal accessories, ripped jeans, and sleeveless shirts. Pearl Jam and Nirvana, who are grunge musicians, wore simple flannel shirts and relaxed fits, which Rose to popularity.
3.2 Key Elements of the Grunge Style: What to Wear to a 90s Party
This style has an anti-establishment vibe. The subculture of grunge chose a timeless fashion style with flannel shorts, ripped jeans, oversized clothing, preferred layering, and iconic comeback boots.
Read below as we discuss in detail the key elements of the grunge fashion style and how you can incorporate it into your outfit for a 90s party.
3.2.1 The Flannel Shirt
The flannel shirt, which is worn out and a bit tattered, is what you should look for while putting together the outfit. This is the pillar or main element of the grunge style. The grunge aesthetic represented rebellion and a confident, carefree attitude.
Choose dark colors like red, black, and green. Wearing tattered or ripped clothes was a sign of being against consumerism, which brings us to the next element.
3.2.2 The Edgy Ripped Jeans
The more ripped and distressed your jeans are, the better! Frayed and ripped denim was a signature of the grunge fashion style.
Black and blue ripped denim jeans will help you achieve an effortless worn-out look, which is the goal of the grunge style! After all, an unkept and effortlessly cool aesthetic is the key ingredient of the grunge style.
3.2.3 Combat Boots
You must have heard about Dr. Marten’s famous Black boots. The rugged and chunky combat boot captures the essence of the grunge style. Pair them with ripped jeans or a denim skirt; the boots are adaptable and iconic! They will be perfect for your grunge outfit at a 90s party.
3.2.4 The Art of Grunge-style Layering
Layering is one of the easiest ways to achieve a grunge aesthetic. Put on a turtleneck over a simple tee and layer a flannel shirt underneath. Tuck these into your ripped jeans, and Viola! Your outfit is ready! Don’t be afraid to experiment with textures and designs when it comes to layering!
Add a worn-out denim jacket over your flannel shirt. Or an oversized t-shirt over your turtleneck sweater. Layering allows you to make up your own personalized grunge style!
3.2.5 Grunge Minimalist Fashion
Grunge style has one key element that you should keep in mind. This aesthetic focuses on simplicity. Something that looks effortless yet cool. A messy, unkempt hairdo with a minimal look will make your grunge-styled outfit perfect.
The grunge style continues to inspire many people. One of the key reasons for its return is that people have started embracing thrifting and second-hand shopping. Lea Jeans is one of the brands that still embrace the grunge aesthetic.
The revival of the grunge aesthetic was also seen when popular celebrities like Bela Hadid and Troye Sivan were seen wearing this style. Embrace this aesthetic and become a star icon at your 90s party! Don’t forget that grunge style is all about finding perfection in your imperfections and highlighting your individuality.
4. What to Wear to a 90s Party: Hip Hop
Have you just heard about Supreme, the skate brand from New York? You must have heard about K-pop, the music industry, from South Korea. You must have listened to rap music and street fashion.
These are all legacies built from the era of the 1990s, the decade that birthed so many fashion trends. This was also the last era before the world turned towards digitization.
4.1 What is Hip-hop Fashion?
Black music groups like Boyz II Men and many more inspired hip-hop fashion. Nowadays, Hip-hop is so mainstream that it is difficult to define it in one entire picture. We can name some boy band or a rapper or identify a certain song as hip-hop. But it is still different to capture the entire picture.
The lines or boundaries remain blurred. Albeit, one clear thing is that hip-hop is not just music. It is not just a brand of fashion or just an era. Hip-hop is a culture, and its origin can be found in the 1970s.
RM, the leader, and rapper of the world’s biggest boyband, defined hip-hop in such words—”Defining hip-hop is the same as trying to define love. If there are 6 billion people in the world, then there are 6 billion definitions of love, and like that, each definition of hip-hop is different for each person.
Of course, it’s possible to give a dictionary definition…..but dictionary definitions like these are something anyone knows, but to explain that spirit… In one word, it’s something that can’t be explained. It’s a way that expresses me as well as being meaningful for freedom and rebelling. Because it’s something where people play and have fun with, it can have messages of peace and love placed in it.”
Below this article, we discuss the key elements of hip-hop fashion. How can you embody hip-hop’s spirit and make this street fashion your own?
4.1.1 Baggy Pants
Baggy pants are symbolic of hip-hop Street fashions. These pants had low waistlines and offered comfort in mobility for dancing. Aside from this, they were also a sign of a rebellious stance, a diversion from the norm, and a stance on authenticity.
4.1.2 Oversized Shirts
Have you heard about Kanye West and French Fashion house A.P.C’S “Hip-hop Shirt”? The oversized shirt was a cool trend of the 90s and impaired Hip-hop streetwear. It was an indispensable element of 90s hip-hop fashion.
4.1.3 Accessorise with Snapback Caps
If you are a 90s kid, you must be well aware of the popular TV sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. Snapback Caps was one of the popular looks of the protagonist of this sitcom. In the 90s, fans of Hip-hop started wearing snapback caps with logos of popular brands and music bands, artists, and record labels.
This increased a sense of belonging amongst the people. It also created a sense of community. The credit for all of this goes to hip-hop culture.
As history and culture evolved, so did Hip-hop. While the attires mentioned above are still the key essentials of the hip-hop fashion style, the 2000s did see an evolution. Previously there was a gap between streetwear and luxury, which the new evolution has bridged. The “bling” culture is also a part of evolution. This means that flashy jewelry and accessories also became a part of hip-hop fashion.
5. What to Wear to a 90s Party: Pop Princesses
The 90s was no doubt a fashion revival. This decade also saw a rise in female pop stars who enamored the world. They left the audience amazed by their vocals and their fashion statements. The 90s became an era where we saw the mainstream acknowledgment of body tattoos and piercings, not only on ears but also on several parts of the body.
The Big Five consisted of Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Pattiz, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington. These five models have the greatest influence on the 90s fashion industry. Later on, Kate Moss set a new standard in the fashion industry. It was popularly called the “heroin chic.”
The fashion of the 90s saw many trends. In 1994-1995, the chic schoolgirl look was very trendy. This era was inspiring as pop stars made daring fashion-style choices.
From crop tropes to glamour dresses, platform heels, and chokers. The style of the pop princesses is sure to be the heart of a 90s party.
5.1 Crop Tops
Crop Top remains one of the staple fashion choices even today. The midriff-baring top is a part of most woman’s wardrobes today. In the 90s, the craze for crop tops was no less. Particularly crop tops with bold patterns and bright colors were famous. They were usually paired with lose fitting, low wasted jeans.
Checkered and polka dots pattern were also in trend at this time. Today, if you were going for a chic modern yet 90s look for the party, you can pair your crop top with some high-waisted jeans or denim skirts. Tie a flannel shirt around your waist. This will make you embody the spirit of the 90s.
If you truly want to embody the spirit of the 90s, then go for a velvet strip choker. Or, if you want a bold style, then choose a metallic or beaded choker. Chokers will go on with almost any attire you choose to wear.
Whether it’s a slip dress or a with denim, chokers will never disappoint!
5.3 Hair and Makeup
Sleek hair with colored highlights or picture-perfect curls with large volumes is what the 90s are all about. Opt for vibrant colors for your eyes and glossy, shimmery lips to truly feel the spirit of the 90s.
Do not be afraid to leave your comfort zone to try new styles. After all, the 90s were all about the fearless choices of pop stars and letting your inner diva shine!
6. What to Wear to a 90s Party: From Hair Crimping to Butterfly Clips
No matter how much time you spend perfecting your outfit, what will complete your fit is accessories and a perfect hairstyle. Hairstyles and Accessories are what truly make or break your attire.
There is a reason why a vast majority of the populace declares the 90s as one of their favorite fashion eras. And the reason is listed here.
6.1 The Perfect Hairdo
6.1.1 Crimped Hair
Crimped hair was a rage back in the 90s. It was such a hit that even women did not have the machine to make those beachy wavy waves of hair. They tied their wet hair into tiny little braids and left them overnight.
6.1.2 Space Buns
Space buns have already made a comeback in today’s fashion world. Divide your hair into two sections, and make space for Buns on each side of your head. You can secure these using pins or even scrunchies.
6.1.3 Choppy Layers
The unkemptness of a chopped layer of hair goes well with the grunge-style aesthetics.
6.1.4 High Ponytail
The 90s PonyTail was classic and was adorned by almost all of the 90s celebs. One of the popular ponytail styles was the side pony. This style was famous all through the 80s and 90s. Take all of your hair and pull it up at the crown of your head. Tie it with a scrunchie and secure it safely. Loosen a few bangs in the front so that they can shape your face.
6.1.5 Bold Highlights
Chunky hairstyles, also known as Money Piece Highlights, were extremely famous in the 90s and have made a comeback.
6.2.1 Fishnet Stockings
Pair these with a slip dress or denim shorts. If you want a fun, peppy look, you can also wear these with shorts! They give an edgy look to all your outfits. Fishnet stockings were an important part of the fashion theme of the rebellion of the 90s.
6.2.2 Butterfly clips
A 90s-inspired hairstyle and butterfly clips are not even mentioned. Preposterous! These cute little hair accessories were the highlight of the era. You can use them to secure your hairstyle, or you can use them to decorate your hair.
6.2.3 Snap Bracelets
These were also known as Slap Bracelets or Snap Wraps. The bracelets were a piece of metal that was covered in fabric. With one quick motion, these bracelets are used to wrap around the wrist with a loud snap. Hence the name.
These were originally developed by a Wisconsin school teacher in the late 1980s and hit the mainstream in the 90s.
The 90s was an unforgettable era. Dressing up like the 90s will allow you to relieve the dynamic and vibrant fashion that defined the 1990s. This article shows how the 90s brought in a range of iconic styles and fashion. From hip-hop swagger and popular grunge styles to the rave culture, a lot of things were popularized in this iconic era.
Visiting the 90s allows us to remember and praise the pop icons and fashion stars that impacted the trends and the world of fashion.
If you would like to learn more fashion tips, read: What To Wear To An Engagement Party?
As you assemble your outfit for the 90s party, don’t be shy to venture out and experiment. You can always blend trends from difficult subcultures and choose a style that highlights your flair. You can adopt the glitz and glam, or take on the grunge fit. What’s important here is that you enjoy your time traveling back to the 90s. After all, the 90s were all about an individual’s self-expression and autonomy.
Get ready! Let there be something about the way you look tonight! Dance to the beats of Elton John or Los Del Rio. Rock the party and make unforgettable memories because, for one night—it’s the 90s, baby!