From chokers and Henna tattoos to ripped denim and Nirvana tees: thankfully, most 90s fads have been consigned to the fashion scrapheap…or have they? Eevee’s ever fabulous, Kate Haddigan, indulges in a little bit of retro reminiscing…
When I was about fourteen or fifteen, I was pretty crazy about vintage fashion. Anything from 50s poodle skirts, 60s swing dresses, 70s hippy dresses and 80s neon with big hair and big jewellery. This carried on through my college years, much to the dismay of my long-suffering mother.
She would frown as I came downstairs in an electric blue ball gown, sleeves torn off, worn with Converse trainers. “Is that my old dress?” she’d ask. Sure it was, it was so retro and totally cool.
“My goodness, I’m old enough to be retro!” she’d mutter as she watched me parade about in Madonna (back when she was cool) style lace and my Nan’s party dresses, sneakily taken from the attic.
For some reason, teenagers are fascinated with recreating the look of an era that they didn’t experience. Whether this is due to feeling disconnected with their own generation, as teenagers often do or just because they keep a keen eye on the trends and the fashion industry churns out such volumes of clothing now that it has no choice but to lather, rinse and repeat. And we’ve all heard about the 20 year rule, you know how we all had dirty blonde hair and Blondie t-shirts in the noughties? 20 year rule.
Now, I can remember the 90s. I was like, there. I went to C&A with my Nan and begged for the spaghetti strap, gingham dress to wear over a white tee. I bought a spiral tattoo choker from the market for 50p (a pound got you two bracelets to match). I saw the older kids stomp about town in ripped up flannel and Nirvana shirts.
I thought Clarissa, who very often explained it all, was the coolest girl in the world. I would stay up late on Friday to watch Friends; going to the pet shop the following day upon hearing Jennifer Aniston used horse shampoo.
I guess I just wasn’t ready for this.
Perusing the rails of Topshop last weekend, looking for something dressy to wear out, I was struggling to find much inspirational. Sure, those cropped t-shirts were cute, but I’d just scoffed down a Nando’s and wasn’t feeling bare midriff with my food baby bulging over my jeans. Speaking of jeans, why could I suddenly not find anything without a Mom waistline? When did that happen? My hip to waist ratio doesn’t really allow for high-waisted unless I don’t mind a gaping waist band. I knew I had a nice LBD at home that hadn’t had an outing for a while, maybe I could buy some new shoes and a bit of jewellery to spruce that up.
Haha, jelly shoes. That’s got to be a little prank, right? What about those fugly open toed boots with the wedge heels. What kind of deviant would have brought those back? And chunky kitten heels? The only reason Buffy ever wore those was so she could comfortably chase vampires and not feel too short stood next to Angel. It’s fine, I’ve got lots of acceptable footwear. Let’s have a look at the accessories.
Lots of ear cuffs, midi rings, gem stones and crescent moons. Ooo, mystical. Totally Wicca! Wait. No way. Is that a SPIRAL TATTOO CHOKER!? No way! Ok, clearly the 90s is back and in a big way. I could rock one of those bad boys again. Sure, they’re kind of gross and a little bit euro-goth, but it’s an ironic little nod to my childhood. I wonder if they still cost 50p.
Granted, not a lot for a necklace, but seriously!? They used to sell these things in those little machines where you put in 20p, twisted the mechanism and a little egg popped out with some cheap tat inside.
I saw Pixie Geldof in Vice magazine about four years ago, wearing a grungy flannel shirt, with a messy bob. “The 90s are due for a comeback” I thought idly as I flicked through the pages. I should have prepared.
I rang my eternally on-trend Nan to lament my grief at seeing hippy, woven backpacks being carried about town, to see if she’d thrown mine away. She cackled that it was long gone and her rule was that if you could remember it the first time around, you were too old to wear it now. Did I mention that my Nan is a bitch? (Just kidding, she is kind of mean, but I love her for it).
As I was walking to my friend’s house today, I saw a girl with a shapeless black dress and jacket combination, one of those weird leather backpacks that are kind of triangle shaped and some black wedge flip flops. AND I COULDN’T FIGURE OUT IF SHE WAS COOL OR JUST DEEPLY UNFASHIONABLE. She crossed the road into the arms of a very dapper young man in something I vaguely recognised as a “modern” outfit and ascertained that she was in fact “cool” and working a late 90s look.
I’ve been hearing all sorts of crazy stories about people getting their ears re-pierced to match Buffy the Vampire Slayers ‘lobes. Pastel hair is no longer reserved for the quirky, artsy kids. Food babies be damned, everybody is baring that midriff. Bindis are back! Mood rings are a thing again. Dungarees, no longer just for pregnant women and painting the ceilings.
And rather than embrace it, dress like Blossom and pair frilly ankle socks with cut out boots and Mom jeans, I’m going to have to accept that whilst I’m too old to dress like I did in my childhood, I’m too young to feel bitter about my youth being retro.
So I bought the damn choker, didn’t I?