Mens 90s vintage fashionOctober 20, 2015
The 90s saw a huge rise in unemployment and a great upsweep in communications technology – mobile phones and the internet became something for every household. These were among the factors, along with the natural need for a complete change that turned people against the colour and excess of 80s dressing. For mens 90s vintage fashion it was out with orange and pink shell suits, and in with charcoal grey trouser suits.
Mens 90s vintage fashion styles
Along with the rise in communication technology came a rise in designer’s interest in technological fabrics – Gore-Tex, Kevlar and Velcro were originally developed for the US Space Program but were quickly appropriated by designers who saw people’s desire to be sleek and no-fuss – so where before you might have needed several bulky layers of clothing to stay warm and dry, the new fabrics were thin yet had amazing all in one properties – breathable, anti-microbial, waterproof, thermal, and stayed in shape, no ironing required. Some also had extra properties like infused perfume or moisturisation.
Designers of mens 90s vintage fashion found that clothes made from these fabrics were really popular and not just in a sporting context as they would have been before. Sports people have always been interested in tech fabrics that improve their performance, some would say at the expense of design or good looks.
But now everyday people wanted them too business people who didn’t want to feel sweaty on crowded trains for example – but with the proviso that they should not look like sports clothing, but rather anonymous, slim and sleek. See the bad guys in The Matrix (1999) for a perfect example of buttoned up, not a hair out-of-place, menacingly impeccable 90s fashion taste.
Mens 90s vintage fashion – luxurious basics
This went not just for business suits, of course- there was a huge trend for “basics” – slim black trousers, the perfect white shirt, black polo neck sweaters. These fail safe garments in Mens 90s fashion did not draw attention to themselves, whether produced by Jil Sander or Primark.
White, black and grey were really the only colours permitted in mens 90s vintage fashion and the way to show luxury and expense was not to deviate from this palette or mould, but simply to buy clothes made from the finest fabrics – silk and cashmere.
So your black roll neck would look utilitarian but might be made in the finest, softest cashmere – and cashmere was much rarer and more expensive and, dare I say, better quality in the 90s than now. It was the trend for luxurious cashmere 20 years ago that has made it an everyday “little luxury” today, meaning an inevitable drop in quality along with price.
A reaction against all this tidy anonymity came from the grunge scene in Seattle, USA. It emphasised scruffiness and individuality, and it was almost imperative that you bought your 90s clothes outfit entirely from the thrift store.
Second hand band t-shirts, the original prints unreadable, should be surmounted by second-hand plaid shirts, and maybe a second-hand granddad cardigan on top of that. To keep up with Mens 90s vintage fashion grunge style, your hair should be long and unwashed, with maybe a home dye or bleach job, a la Kurt Cobain. With this wear jeans and boots or converse. Do not iron your clothes.
Moschino Cheap and Chic, suit with Roy Lichtenstein print, 1991
The sexy yet discreet gold medal Olympian
The ideal 90s man, in invisible clothing.
“Real men” dressed very boringly in the 90s