‘Fashion victim’ or ‘ensembly challenged’?


Waking up in the morning is a slog. But, enter stage right: the powers of the imagination. Waking up in the morning is made considerably more enjoyable by pretending to be in a movie. Enter stage left: David Bowie performing your very own soundtrack. It’s technically just your alarm, just like your yellow tartan skirt is technically just a skirt – but, really, it’s so much more than that. Okay, so being Cher in the 21st first century may require mild delusions but, really, in the right outfit, you can be whoever the hell you wanna be. Take it from me.

The nineties. Every ‘wavey’ guy or gal’s wardrobe is in on§e way or another desperately striving to emulate the fashion film icons born out of this decade. The 90s waved goodbye to the eighties’ sharp shoulders and baggy work trousers, welcoming in a new more provocative fashion era.

The nineties was the decade of halter neck tops, platform shoes, metallic clothing, dress shorts, tartan skirts, drainpipe jeans and crop tops. There’s a lot to be learnt from the movies of this decade. The most influential fashion icons that took to the silver screen during the nineties were, quite clearly, Cher Horowitz, Andie, Janet and… Cher Horowitz.

Of course, the most iconic fashion film of the 1990s showcases the revival of the women’s preppy fashion of the mid-late 1960s. But we all know fashion just goes round and round in circles. Cher and Dionne from ‘Clueless’ have our generation’s party girls’ dream wardrobe. Lets face it, every outfit is incredible. Their yoga pants, halter neck tops, boob tube tops, mini dresses, pleated skirts and scrunchies all make daily appearances on Facebook clothes pages like ‘Sassy garms’ and ‘Wavey garms.’ Girls sit at their laptops fiercely trying to outbid other sassy bitches for the latest blue metallic crop top.  Yeah, I know because I’ve been there – guilty as charged.

The early 1990s saw a new subculture of fashion: grunge. The ‘grunge’ look was characterized by denim button downed shirts, tartan skirts, bike shorts, hats and converse shoes. Bridget Foster totally nails this look as Janet in the 1992 film ‘Singles.’ Her laid back style is the perfect sartorial marriage of Pearl Jam and Nirvana.  It’s glorious and effortlessly cool. Janet’s rather more non-provocative clothing screams comfort and freedom. Although this look would almost definitely leave Cher saying, ‘Uh as if!’ the non ‘try-hard’ approach does emanate sex appeal in its own way.

Molly Ringwald in ‘Pretty in Pink’ is another cult fashion icon spawned by the 90s. Playing Andie Walsh, a working class high school student, Molly perfectly encapsulates the hippie fashion that arose again in the 90s. The floral maxi dresses, lace blouses and turtleneck shirts look relatively outdated today, you might say. But, hold your horses: pastel colors and lose fitting clothing are crawling out of charity shops and hopping onto the mainstream clothes racks of Topshop and Urban Outfitters. Although Molly may seem ‘ensemble challenged,’ (as Cher would put it) her legacy as the ‘pretty in pink’ girl lives on.  You know you desperately want to wear Andie’s dress to every single ball. We all do.

Sure, most of us missed the 90s – we were too busy being born, learning to walk, being dressed by our parents and all that jazz. But it’s not too late: the 90s is back (at least in terms of fashion.) So recap those cult films, hit up the Cowley vintage shops and channel your inner Cher. It’s never too late.

Image: Bob Jagendorf