Six 90s Trends That Haven’t Returned Yet (But We’re Waiting)

Because you know it’s only a matter of time before fleeces look chic again.

Six 90s Trends That Haven't Returned Yet (But We're Waiting)

by Lauren Bravo |
Published on

We’ve been riding the crest of the 90s revival for several years now, and it’s mainly been a hoot. Going to Topshop has become like a badly lit episode of This Is Your Life, all last-night-of-Brownie-camp-disco slip dresses here, staying-up-late-to-tape-Clueless-off-the-TV-and-not-understanding-the-jokes mini kilts there. Our wardrobes are giddy on nostalgia and mock-suede, our adult bank balances drained to the point where they can barely stretch to Hubba Bubba and Pogs.

But there are some notable omissions from the 90s trend landscape that, like most of the cast of The Biz, shone briefly but have never been seen again. Yet. Because if I know fashion (and I own two pairs of clogs and The September Issue on dvd so make your own minds up), they’re just biding their time.

Whither the velvet waistcoat? Is it time to reconsider the fleece? Will this be the year Fat Willy’s Surf Shack makes its triumphant return?


1. Skirts with cycling shorts attached underneath


In those days they were mainly useful so you could do handstands without flashing your knickers; these days they’d come in handier for walking round on sweaty summer days without ripping your thighs to shreds. The sooner I can chuck out my greige ‘comfort shorts’ and wear a chafing aid that’s also a directional trend item, the better.

2. Waistcoats (especially velvet)

When I was six, my birthday outfit of choice wasn’t a princess frock – it was a pair of black velvet trousers, a frilly white shirt and a little velvet waistcoat in burgundy and green with gold embroidery. It was much more practical for a soft play adventure party, and had the bonus of making me look like a charming cross between Ellen DeGeneres and Little Lord Faultneroy.

Like all the best trends, waistcoats are ultimately pointless – unless you’re especially keen to keep your kidneys warm – but they show a certain flair for dressing that can’t be achieved with a humdrum jacket. Kate Moss had a go at reviving the trend in the mid-noughties, of course, but it was too early and she made the crucial mistake of wearing her waistcoat a) so small that it looked like a harness and b) without a giant shirt underneath. The giant shirt is crucial. This is a wafty look.

As for the velvet, I’m sure I’ll meet little resistance when I say that it truly is the fabric of queens. We’ve done velvet skater dresses to death; it’s time to usher in a new piece of hot pile. To quote George Costanza from Seinfeld, 'if it was socially acceptable, I would drape myself in velvet.' And probably soon it will be.

**3. Global Hypercolour colour-changing t-shirts **

Because why leave the world to notice your sweat patches of their own accord when you can helpfully signpost them with groovy space-age fabric? The next time round though, these wouldn’t be so much about leaving your own suggestive handprints across your chest as it would about body confidence. “Hey everyone, look! Not just pits, but lower back, under boob and between-boob too!” we’ll proudly caption the Instagrams, while earnest beauty brands will run campaigns called ‘Own your brightness!’ and ‘You don’t sweat, you GLOW girl’.

If you want to leap ahead of the curve you can actually still buy Global Hypercolour t-shirts here – but remember, you only get a few washes before the colour turns shit. Use them wisely.

4. Coffee shimmer lipstick

Called ‘Sweet Valley High lipstick’ in my circles (we also called snogging ‘Sweet Valley High kissing’, such were the limitations of growing up an innocent tween in Worthing), it was not quite gold, not quite nude, but like a gleeful metallic version of the icing on coffee and walnut cakes – and had to be applied just as liberally.

As Instagram proves that some of us never stopped trying to be a Unicorn, we’re definitely ready for coffee shimmer to make a comeback. After all, there are only so many times we can try to rock a dark berry stain before remembering it’s cheaper and nicer just to give ourselves red wine mouth. And as matte brown putty and clay shades have been creeping back onto the radar for a few months now thanks to Kylie Jenner, we just need to bide our time before they turn shiny enough for cheer squad.

Though we’ll have to call it ‘almond milk cortado shimmer’ now, obviously.

5. Fleeces

Tell a 17-year-old that once upon a time fleeces were a trend item, and they’ll look at you like you’ve sustained a fall from your penny farthing.

And it does seem ridiculous, now we think about it. My favourite late-90s fleece came from C&A and had a grainy finish, like porridge (whaaa?). I used to wear it with combats and a green and orange striped poloneck (shut uuuuuup).

But in a world where puffa jackets and ‘Reg from down t’market’ shearling coats are now coveted outerwear, even good taste can’t stop the sensible fleece making the leap from Mountain Warehouse to Warehouse before long. Your mam will be so pleased.

6. Hair mascara

Oh, hair mascara. You promised so much. The colours! The glamour! Like a tiny, gunky disco to wear on your follicles. I had a copper one that I imagined would leave me looking almost exactly like Harmony from The Queen’s Nose – though of course I would have wished for 50 MORE WISHES because I wasn’t an actual moron.

There was only one real problem with hair mascara, in fact, and that was that it looked like cack. Just a crusty streak where a bird might have shat in it. Had we taken the time to think about it sensibly, we might have realised that the glitter-to-gel ratio was only ever going to deliver, at best, a sort of ‘space dandruff’. But since glitter partings are now a real thing that at least eight people have done and put on Pinterest, I’m hopeful we can overlook this small obstacle.

Besides, it’s mascara for your frippin’ hair! Mascara. For. Your. Hair. If the beauty people ever think up knee blusher, ear lipstick or eyeshadow to make your liver shimmer, I will be first in the queue to throw my money in their face. God bless the 90s.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

The Tricky Politics Of Trying To Dress Your Boyfriend

An Ode To My Local Charity Shop

All The Very Worst Trousers You Wore Way Back When

**Follow Lauren on Twitter @LaurenBravo **

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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