The 90s will forever be embedded in our minds as one of the most stylish decades. No matter how much time goes by we still use the 90s as a reference point for outfit ideas due to its nostalgia. What’s even more interesting is that today multiple 90s parties are thrown across major cities worldwide which leads to the question what to wear to a 90s party.
These 90s themed parties typically involve the gathering of people celebrating the music of the 90s and nostalgia-based outfits. Our research on google trends shows a steady increase for the search term “90s Fashion” from 2008 to present, evidence that our interest over time continues to grow.
Therefore, with this evidence we have compiled a list of the garments best representing the decade in order for you to rock at the party. Best of all our what to wear to a 90s party list is unisex, all styles come in variations for both men and women.
Here’s what to wear to a 90s party
Whilst the question “what to wear to a 90s party” occurs in your mind our first answer is the windbreaker which perfectly embodies the 90s as it was worn by majority of sub cultures during this time. Often coming in a range of fabrics, Nylon windbreakers are mostly associated with this decade.
A baggy fit, colour block patterns and sporty aesthetic gives it the 90s vibe and something that can be styled for casual wear or to a themed party.
How to style: For the ultimate 90s look pair the windbreaker with its matching pants to make a tracksuit or a pair of casual washed blue jeans. Head over to Esty market place to find the perfect windbreaker.
During the 90s overalls became a favourite for most people due to its comfortability and versatile denim style. Artists such as Will Smith and Aaliyah further helped to popularize the style. Whether your overalls are Guess, Carhartt or pull and bear this piece is enough to give you your desired look.
How to style: In the 90s overalls were typically styled by having one shoulder strap off, one side of your pant leg rolled up and worn with a t shirt, hoody or vest. Can be worn fitted or oversized.
Oversize clothing is a fashion statement typically associated with 90s Hip Hop Fashion. Reason being, many kids from New York at the time coming from low income housing and poor cities would receive old clothes from older family members so they could wear, something known as “hand-me-downs “
This look then becoming the norm amongst inner city New York kids would go on to become the 90s New York Look with artists from those neighbourhoods popularising the look as they started to gain fame and notoriety.
As quoted by Heartafact.com
“Culturally oversized clothing became the norm which was often referred to as urban fashion and from this tradition brands were birthed such as Fubu, Phat Farm & Wu Wear catering to their audience of similar tastes and upbringing”
How to Style: For females this look is styled with a fitted crop-top or sports bra which creates the slim top half, baggy lower half look. For males this look is styled with an oversized tee, baggy jeans and timberland boots.
Another fashion piece associated with 90s Hip Hop Fashion, the timberland Boot. Though the boot was initially intended for Construction workers it was during the 90s which we saw the boot come into massive popularity through the influence of Hip Hop and Street Culture.
How to Style: Check out our guide on How to wear Timberlands
Another 90s item having traces back to the 80s with acts such as LL Cool J and RUN DMC first popularising this look. As hip hop began to grow as a culture its fashion would become uniform amongst kids in the 90s. Today the hat is still worn in social settings and great for a 90s themed party.
How to style: For a full 90s look wear the hat with baggy overalls, sneakers and a plain tee.
Michael Jordan won 6 championships during the 90s and partnered with Nike to release multiple sneakers within this decade from AIR JORDAN V, AIR JORDAN VI, AIR JORDAN VII, AIR JORDAN VIII & AIR JORDAN XI.
What makes these particular Jordan’s special is that he played in them during his time on the court thus making them highly sought after in the 90s. Everyone wanted to be like mike and the sneakers in the 90s embodied those emotions and feelings.
How to style: The sneakers still fashionable today is styled with tracksuits, joggers or jeans. For a 90s look they can be styled with other 90s items on the list such as baggy jeans or a retro styled windbreaker.
The flannel shirt became a staple piece during the 90s as it was affordable, accessible and versatile. Thrift store culture in America which consisted of the buying of 2nd hand clothing made popular by rock star Kurt Cobain was noted in the mainstream.
The New York Times wrote, and I quote “This stuff is cheap, it’s durable, and it’s kind of timeless. It also runs against the grain of the whole flashy aesthetic that existed in the 80’s”
This statement is a true reflection of the times, being that flannel shirts amongst other items were making a comeback in the 90s.
How to Style: Wear your flannel shirt oversized (Preferably unbuttoned) or tied to your waist for a 90s look. Plaid Sets consisting of a matching blazer and skirt for women is the way to go popularized by the 90s Teen Hit Movie Clueless.
The track jacket is all about style and youthfulness especially the adidas 3 stripe piece, Reebook Vector jacket, Fila & Puma Track Jacket. The contrasting panels, athletic sporty look and branded logos was a favourite amongst hip hop b boys, athletes and British rock stars.
How to style: Opt for retro coloured styles and patterns for the ultimate 90s look. Within this decade the track jacket was normally zipped all the way up to the neck or not zipped at all. As the track jacket is versatile it goes great with denim or joggers.
Regardless as to whether it’s an MLB, NFL or NBA jersey there was massive appeal during the 90s for supporting your favourite team, on and off season. In pop culture the connection between sports, athletes and music culture became seamless over the years which is why we saw it naturally become a fashion staple during the 90s.
How to style: Best worn in summer months, pair your jersey with denim shorts, joggers or jeans. The MLB jersey best styled with a tee-shirt underneath or by itself.
Within the 90’s multiple sportwear brands began to focus on the production of tracksuits due to this style becoming mainstream. This was due to jogging and athleisure becoming popular culture amongst the masses.
In response to the popularity of the tracksuit brands started to create different sets in a range of fabric, patterns and styles.
Some of the more notable brands creating tracksuits during this time consisted of Fila, Kappa, Ellesse and Puma.
How to Style: The perfect 90s look would include a matching tracksuit, bucket hat and sneakers.
Initially denim jeans were created as workwear for farmers, field workers & American soldiers, this had started to change during the 80s from being used for its intended purposes to being a fashionable garment worn worldwide.
During the 90s high end Denim fashion brands were leading the fashion industry such as Guess Jeans, Calvin Klein and Levi’s which were adopted by multiple sub cultures.
How to Style: Staple looks in the 90s consisted of the double denim look, flared jeans & Dungarees.
Leather came in many different style variations during the 90s for example leather blazers, leather waistcoats & leather jackets. This garment was mostly associated with Punk rock, however Hip-Hop artists such as Tupac also helped popularize the leather waist coat.
How to style: The 90s leather look meant wearing 1 leather garment with other fabrics. For example, denim jeans, graphic t shit or shirt, boots and a leather jacket, blazer or waistcoat. The older and more vintage the leather the better.
The masses still associate platform sneakers with the 90s due to the spice girls having made this their signature look whilst at the height of their music career.
Known today as the dad shoe, ugly shoe & chunky sneaker the piece carries nostalgic heritage which is perfect for a 90s themed party.
This 90s trend resurgence today comes in the form of sportswear brands & High fashion labels creating unique silhouette while embodying the 90s aesthetic.
Showing no signs of slowing down the Chunky Trainers Trend is Here to Stay!
How to style: To draw more attention to the platform’s evident chunky sole this is best styled with shorts, t shirt and 90s accessories such as a bucket hat.
Neon clothing is very symbolic to the 90s as it was used on many different garments such as windbreakers, leg warmers, bike shorts, t shirts and pants to name a few.
What made it 90s?
Though plain neon clothing has come back in fashion today the main difference which places neon clothing as an official 90s garment were the designs on the clothes. These came in a range of designs such as circle, triangle and rectangle shapes often time overlapping creating contrast in colors.
How to style: For a 90s look ensure your neon garments include different patterns and shapes, plain neon is ok too.
Tie dye came in countless styles during the 90s which was often worn by both kids and adults. Within the 90s it was used on multiple fabrics and designs ranging from heart, diamond & bullseye patterns to name a few.
How to Style: Assuming you have decided to wear tie dye to a 90s party it should go without saying this will make a statement due to its loud nature, therefore you have 2 options on how to rock it. You can counterbalance your tie dye with undertone muted colors or not care about balancing and completely wear odd colors to intentionally not match. The choice is yours.
Graphic T-shirt Outfit
Graphic t-shirts are a great option if you’re thinking about what to wear to a 90s party. The great thing about graphic t shirts is that many consist of your favorite musicians, t v shows, athletes or movies during this time.
Brands understanding that our love for nostalgia only continues to grow as I proved above with the graph, results in the production of 90s graphic t shirts.
How to Style: There is only one rule to follow here which is that you must ensure the graphics on the t shirt is contextual to the 90s. For example, a fresh prince of Bel Air T shirt would be perfect.
Cycling Apparel (Hat & Shorts)
With the popularity of athleisure during the 80s & 90s consumers began to align themselves with lifestyle sports of interests such as jogging, tennis & cycling. Consumers were able to purchase garments for these activities while using them for social settings and everyday life.
One of the more popular athleisure choices was the cycling gear with the masses usually incorporating bike shorts and caps into their leisure outfits.
Pop culture moments also helped to increase sales of these items for example, the movie white men can’t jump released in 1992 in which Wesley Snipes sported the cycle cap throughout the film became a 90s staple.
How to Style: Styling the cycle cap works well with most casual or exercise apparel. Wear with tank top, shorts and sneakers.
Cycle shorts which is typically worn by women can be styled with matching top, sneakers and oversized windbreaker or jumper.
Vintage Sports Jumper
Vintage 90s sports jumpers will forever speak to the rich heritage, style and nostalgia of the 90s. Cozy, baggy and trendy, vintage sweaters are a great item from the 90s which is styled today and sold in online marketplaces such as Ebay, etsy and Asos marketplace.
How to style: The great thing about jumpers is that it can be style with both joggers and jeans. For a 90s party pair your sports jumper with, jeans, plaid shirt tied to your waist, sneakers and bucket hat.
Lastly our “what to wear to a 90s party” article would not be complete without throwing in some accessories. Each of the listed items below could have its own section, however, to save time we have put a mini list of the best 90s accessories to complete your look.
- Chain Wallet
- Mood Ring
- Rope Chains
- Head & Wrist Band
- G Shock Watch
- Bum Bag
- Vintage Round Sunglasses
Feel free to get as creative as possible when putting an outfit together for your 90s party. Should you want even more ideas check out The Greatest ’90s Fashion Trends list put together by complex.
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