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Pulling the shell suit 90s style look – Casual and work wear

May 3, 2019

A vibrant shell jacket and a matching elasticated trouser were the signature look of the 90s. We’ll show you how to pull off the shell suit 90s look – for anywhere!

 

The shell suit 90s look isn’t just about shell tops and matching elasticated trousers. You can pull off that vintage 90s look by mixing-matching casual work wear with pieces of a shell suit you might have lying around.

shell suit 90s look

shell suit 90s look

Changing the shell suit – Nineties style!

The nineties saw a refreshing change in how people viewed the shell suit – that versatile jacket and trouser combo that burst onto the athletic scene almost three decades earlier. Shell suit 90s style was a departure from the traditional “made for sports lovers” concept. With giants like Nike and Adidas looking to cash-in on the popularity of elasticated trousers and matching tops, they advanced a new idea of the shell suit – “made for everyone!”.

 

The 90s wave of soccer-centric craze in the U.K. also fuelled the popularity of the shell suit – and not just something to be worn at track and field events. It’s true, these outfits were a popular attraction for many a fancy dress party.  The simplicity in which you could fabricate something crazy, by wearing just a shell jacket and any combination of skirt, dress or trouser – made it a costume-lovers delight.

 

But a more important reason that the shell tops, with matching elasticated bottoms, became popular among the masses was the more relaxed silhouettes that manufacturers embraced. The shell suit 90s look was a sharp departure from the slim-fit shell suit look from the 60s, 70s and mid 80s. And that meant you didn’t need to be a track star or a darling of the soccer field to don on your shell jacket and slacks.

 

The shell suit 90s style made it open season for everyone to look perfectly “in place” wearing something athletic-looking.

Shell suit 90s look for the outdoors

Women with a taste for the athletic lifestyle could opt for a more colour coordinated ensemble to pull off a shell suit 90s style look. For instance, a bright pink shell suit with a jacket and matching elasticated trousers would make a great head turner – whether it’s at the mall or at the movies! While you can get this combo with Velcro fasteners for your top, my personal preference is for the shell jacket to come with a zip fastener.

 

On a warm sunny day, you could accessorize this shell suit 90s look with a matching flat cap and a pair of shades. If it’s a bit cold or nippy outside, accessorize your shell suit with a pair of ear muffs or a fleece headband – 90s style! A pair of neutral (white) coloured runners would be a great finishing touch to this look. If your elasticated trousers also come with elastic cuffs, then choose a pair of high-top running shoes. As the trouser cuff wraps around the shoes, it’ll give you an even more authentic shell suit 90s look!

Pulling off the Casual work shell suit 90s look

You don’t need to wear elasticated trousers with your tracksuit jacket to pull off that shell suit 90s look for work. If you’ve got a well-preserved, loose-fit 90s shell jacket with side pockets, you could pull off a nice casual office-look with almost any type of pants or trousers. A darker jacket – black, dark blue – would complement a pair of well-cut pale blue jeans, for example.

 

And if your work place doesn’t look kindly on the “full” shell suit 90s look, your jacket will certainly not look out-of-place over a dress shirt and khakis. Formal dress shoes would make the perfect accompaniment for your casual/formal work look.

 

 

Links [i] [ii] [iii] [iv]

[i] https://www.complex.com/style/2015/11/history-of-the-tracksuit

 

[ii] https://www.etsy.com/uk/market/90s_shell_suit

 

[iii] https://www.bluerinsevintage.co.uk/collections/full-tracksuits/products/blue-grey-90s-adidas-shellsuit-sports-jacket-m

 

[iv] https://marketplace.asos.com/listing/tracksuits/90s-vintage-blue-patterned-shellsuit-jacket/3190191

 

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