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Essential vintage 90s clothing trends for retro-chic style

August 16, 2020

Some vintage 90s clothing trends have staying power and are as relevant today as they were back in the 90s, so take a virtual tour of vintage 90s and get inspired!


There are timeless clothing and accessory trends that have evolved through the fashion decades and remain with us today as wardrobe staples that never go out of style.  


Take a virtual walk through vintage 90s clothing trends to see which of these themes have endured through the decades and continue to rock fashion runways and the catwalks of your everyday life.

Vintage 90s clothing trends

The most enduring vintage 90s clothing trends continue to light up fashion runways and the catwalks of real life today.  Take a virtual tour through these timeless looks and be inspired!

90s clothing - Edyta Gorniak, wearing white crop top, 1992

Edyta Gorniak, 1992

90s clothing – Crop tops

  • Vintage 90s crop tops:  crop tops are reinvented for today with a fresh new spin:  wear them layered or with high-waisted jeans or skirts for a whole new way to rock this vintage 90s clothing


See how it’s done by checking out Bella and Gigi Hadid in their off-duty looks of crop tops over modern “Mom” jeans or watch Kendall Jenner rock them with retro white ankle boots and cropped flared pale wash jeans.


Your mashup options are limited only by your style imagination!  Pair your vintage 90s clothing crop top done white T-shirt style with a bold slogan or graphic across the front, layered under a slip dress and with Doc Martins for a feminine look with edge.


Or wear a vintage 90s clothing style crop top in a chunky knit layered over a high-waisted maxi floral skirt in a whimsical print and finished with cowboy boots.


Yet another way to rock this vintage 90s trend is by pairing your crop to with a high-waisted paper bag waist baggie pant and booties or a paper bag waisted skirt and dressed-down sneakers.

Skateboarder wearing ripped jeans, Bondi Beach

Skateboarder wearing ripped jeans, Bondi Beach

90s clothing – Ripped jeans

  • Vintage 90s ripped jeans:   the iconic grunge-rock bands of the 1990s like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden made ripped jeans a thing in vintage 90s fashion trends.


That rebellious, “I don’t care” vibe continues today, with ripped jeans in every colour, shape and style rocking fashion runways and main street everywhere.  Elevate your ripped jeans with a dressy cashmere turtleneck sweater in black, and amplify the look with high-heeled black booties.


Or play up the laid-back cool by pairing ripped jeans with a classic white T-shirt and white sneakers. Either way, you cannot go wrong with this ageless, timeless trend inspired by vintage 90s clothing.

Slip dress with shoulder straps

Slip dress with shoulder straps:Photo credit – Sven Teschke

Slip dressing

  • Vintage 90s slip dressing:  another vintage 90s fashion trend with legs is the ever-sexy slip dress.  Today’s version is layered over casual T-shirts to give it a daytime casual look or layered under a fuzzy oversized sweater for a dressed-down winter look.


This vintage 90s clothing trend also takes the form of spaghetti strap silk and lace camisoles layered under tailored heritage fabric blazers and over skinny dark was jeans, a look as perfect today as it was back in the day.


Offset the feminine vibe of a slip dress or cami with edgy footwear like combat boots or high-top sneakers.

Woman wearing animal print slip top

Woman wearing animal print slip top: Photo credit – Boca a Lenda”

Animal print

  • Vintage 90s clothing the animal print way:  The Spice Girls rocked animal prints in all its forms, from slinky catsuits to cropped tops to skin-tight mini dresses.


Another vintage 90s trend that never went away, rock a classic leopard print in traditional shades of gold, black and brown or update your look with a zebra or snake print in an unexpected fresh new colour like pastel or red.


If you don’t want to go animal print from head to toe, give this vintage 90s clothing trend a try with accessories from shoes to bags to scarves to hairbands – everything looks better on the wild side!

Friends actors photo montage

Friends actors photo montage


  • The “Friends” influence on vintage 90s clothing trends:  Jennifer Aniston set the vintage 90s style trend for minimalist, sleek and sexy office wear, while Courtney Cox rocked the girl-next-door look of Mom jeans, fitted cropped sweaters and chunky platform shoes.


And Lisa Kudrow was all about the ditzy, boho-chic look of the vintage 90s, with her bright and whimsical outfits that continue to inflame our imaginations today.


Be inspired by the vintage 90s on-screen styles of “Friends” or emulate the off-duty L.A. style of Jennifer or the New York chic of Courtney as they rock the real world or red carpet today.

90s clothing - Jonathan Brandis, 1993 in a Ventura Blvd diner in Los Angelesi

Jonathan Brandis, 1993 in a Ventura Blvd diner in Los Angelesi


  • Vintage 90s clothing the flannel way:  besides cultish ripped jeans, flannel shirts were another essential component of grunge dressing done the vintage 90s


Marc Jacobs set the trend in the 1990s with flannel shirts walking down his catwalk paired with leather moto jackets and combat boots for the full-on rocker look.


Today’s spin on flannel is all about comfort, warmth and retro style, with buffalo check flannel shirts, jackets and sweaters in red and black pairing so well with pale wash skinny denims or corduroy leggings tucked into chunky boots.

Martin Meister photographed in the late 1980s in his own clothing design which was on exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum London in 1994

Martin Meister in Goth costume, 1989. Photo credit. Michael Satori


  • Vintage 90s clothing for Goths:  inspired by the likes of Korn, Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, vintage 90s the gothic way is all about lashings of black lace and leather, finished with Doc Martins, fishnet stockings and sterling silver accessories.


Rock the Goth look today with a faux leather moto jacket layered over a black turtleneck sweater, pale lips and a smoky eye, and finished with stone-washed ripped jeans and black combat boots.


Now that you have seen the top vintage 90s clothing trends that continue to circle back every fashion season, read on for some of the best places to get your vintage 90s head-to-toe ensembles or those specific pieces to enliven your current wardrobe.

Sourcing vintage 90s clothing

If you want to acquire a piece of vintage 90s history for your very own, read on for some of the top virtual market places to find the good stuff. Alternatively, head on over to your local thrift store for budget and environment friendly pre-loved options.


Or, check out all the rent-to-wear vintage 90s clothing choices out there – a perfect way to wear the trends for a day or a week, then let them go on to the next fashionista.


  • Amazon


Vintage 90s clothing purveyors of all things classic and original right to modern reinterpretations of retro wear. Find something for every budget here and take advantage of the added perks like same day or free shipping, under certain conditions.


You cannot go wrong with Amazon!


  • Rusty Zipper


If you are looking for vintage 90s clothing from original resellers that have that authentic look and feel, check out the collection at Rusty Zipper. With everything from shoes to hats to all kinds of vintage 90s clothes, you are going to find that special piece of nostalgia to rock with your current favourites.


  • Etsy


And when you want to stand out from the rest of fashion crowd and rock a one-of-a-kind custom made vintage 90s item, check out the curated choices at Etsy. You will find only true originals from back in the day here, so take these vintage 90s clothing options out for a spin in your everyday looks. Other sources include ASOS, Rokit and Beyond Retro.


You are now all set to start your exploration of vintage 90s clothing and find that perfect piece to elevate your current style with throwback panache.