Why Are We So Obsessed With 90s Fashion? A Therapist Weighs In

It’s the Summer of 1999; the lyrics of Britney Spears’ iconic Baby One More Time are playing, Clueless is on in the background, and you’re using the one and only landline to chat with your BFF until mom calls for dinner.

While many of us weren’t of age (or alive) in the 90s to wear a Cher Horowitz-approved outfit, we did grow up watching cool girls’ lives unfold on our square-formatted screens.

So in 2020, why are we seeing the most famous styles of the 90s take prominence? Influencers, supermodels and celebrities are sporting fun, colourful looks that characterized the decade, but how did 90s mania start?

Today’s 90s Fashion Trends Aren’t Just from The 90’s

Photo: Jessica Simpson emulating Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. (E! Online)

Since millennials and Gen Z-ers are most likely to recreate 90s fashion trends, we’re currently seeing looks that have roots in both generation’s childhoods. Meaning: fashion’s biggest trends are from the late 90s and the early 2000s, seen in the emphasis on pastel yellow, green, lilac, pink and blue.

OK – Why Are We So Obsessed With 90s And Early 2000s Fashion?

Alicia Silverstone as Cher Horowitz and Stacey Dash as Dionne Davenport in Clueless. (Pinterest)

The answer is doused in nostalgia and serves as the rose-coloured escape from current circumstances; harking back to times when there was less to worry about.

90s and 2000s kids grew up in an effortlessly colourful and bright world, were told they could do anything and be anything, only to grow up and face economic and environmental devastation.

“The 90s was so carefree because of the simplicity of our childhood. Now that free-spiritedness has been stripped from us and we have to view life through a lens where our sense of safety and security is compromised on a grand scale,” Canadian therapist Gillian Dallaire said. “Through our clothing, we can hope to relive some of the same comforts we felt as children during the 90s. We wear our childhood on our sleeves.”

It’s true that many of 2020s trends bring out the childish side of fashion; bucket hats, too-tiny sunglasses and teeny handbags. It’s as if we’ve rediscovered our childhood belongings and decided to put them on again as adults.

Not too far from the truth, is it?

We Get That We’re Nostalgic, But How Did Throwbacks Start Trending?

Top: Original Mean Girls (Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried, Lacey Chabert, Rachel McAdams) Bottom: Ariana Grande and friends in Thank U, Next (Insider)

Ariana Grande’s November 2018 music video for Thank U, Next can be seen as an example, chronicling scenes from the most popular teen movies of the early 2000s.

Of the wildly popular music video,Grande said: “We are basically recreating a bunch of my favourite scenes from classic, girly, early 2000s, 90s movies — that have shaped and molded so many of us into the strong and intelligent, but still playful and girly, women that we are today”.

It wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that many 90s kids felt the same way and eagerly embraced a trend as a result. We are now recreating looks from the 90s and 2000s cool girls we idolized, after all.

What Are The 90s And Early 2000s Biggest Fashion Trends And Where Can You Get Them?

Kimora Lee Simmons and Tyra Banks (Pinterest)

OK, so now you know how we got here, but what trends have made a comeback in 2020 and where can you get them? See below.

Skinny Sunglasses


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SHOP IT: Amazon Rectangle Vintage Retro Sunglasses, $21.31

Colourful Hair Clips


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SHOP IT: Amazon, Multi Coloured Hair Clips, $13.99

Gold Hoop Earrings


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SHOP IT: Etsy, 18k Gold Filled Open Hoops, $33.95

Bucket Hats


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SHOP IT: Urban Outfitters, Bucket Hat, $32.00

Too-Tiny Purses


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SHOP IT: Le Chiquito Jacquemus, $500-650

Bandanas And Headscarves


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SHOP IT: Etsy, Fashion Headscarf, $65.07

Colourful Cardigans


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SHOP IT: H&M Cardigan, $17.99

Slip Dresses


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SHOP IT: For Love & Lemons Slip Dress, $302.64

Claw Clips


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SHOP IT: Amazon Claw Clip, $15.86

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