How to reinvent the ’90s revival


Here in the fashion section we like to keep abreast of current affairs, and yesterday’s announcement of the comeback of one of the ’90s most celebrated pop bands caused particular excitement. Responsible for centre partings, impractically pocket-covered combat trousers and the unfortunate prevalence of white tracksuits in primary schools throughout the country, S Club 7 has a lot to answer for. Only time will tell whether or not the group have any intentions of explaining themselves, but before the press offensive begins and their PR tries to wipe our memories clean of their contributions to our preteen closets, let’s take a moment to reflect.

The 90’s was not a great decade for fashion. Alexander McQueen was bursting onto the London scene whilst Helmut Lang was the name on every fashion editor’s lips, but even these most innovative of designers were powerless to stop the high street from pandering to the demands of a misguided public. Generally speaking, fashion filters from the catwalk to the retailers to us. Unfortunately the likes of S Club 7 managed to disrupt the chain – somewhere between the designers and the big brands, pop stars managed to have more of a say than they deserved. However, amongst the detritus there remain a few trends that have evolved into semi-respectable members of the modern day wardrobe. Here’s our pick of the ones worth remembering:

  1. Double denim, as popularized by B*Witched. Done the ’90s way this meant bootcut jeans and western jackets in exactly the same shade of indigo. Embellishments such as iron-on butterflies, rhinestones and floral embroidery were an added bonus, but not compulsory. This style can still be spotted predominantly in and around the Shoreditch area. Updated for the 21st century it requires a skinny jean and a denim shirt – in chambray for extra kudos.
  2. The crop top, as popularized by anyone with a personal trainer. The ’90s favoured halter-neck and handkerchief styles that frankly did no figure any favours.  For a tutorial in midriff baring see Christina Aguilera’s ‘Genie in a Bottle’ video, in which she models an extensive collection. Like double-denim, the crop top has also wriggled its way back into our wardrobes. However, the sickly shades and liberal application of sequins and fringing have been replaced by a grungier aesthetic. If it’s monochrome and 100% cotton then you’re on the right track.
  3. And finally we come to the pedal pusher. Dress it up anyway you want, pretend they were ‘cropped trousers’, but if they didn’t make it an inch past your knee then you were wearing pedal pushers. Destiny’s Child were pretty much the poster-girls for all the worst aspects of ’90s fashion, and they were no less discerning with regard to this trend. The pedal pusher was a jack-of-all-trades, fashioned indiscriminately out of denim, leather and printed fabrics. It has now matured into the 7/8th trouser, a garment that assumes some kind of Parisian heritage where none exists. Pair with Ferragamo-style flats for laidback ‘fashion’ cool.


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