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Rock vintage 90s shell suit bottoms in so many ways!

October 17, 2019

Shell suit bottoms with their iconic elasticated waist, neon-bright or starkly dark colours and endless ways to style them, are a must-have addition to any wardrobe. 


Shell suit bottoms, whether vintage 90s or 80s, modern spins on shell suit trousers, or throwback-style shell suit tracksuit bottoms, are so versatile for everything from your next 1980s fancy dress party to casual Fridays to walking the dog, so try them on!

Asics Green shell suit

Asics Green shell suit

Shell suit bottoms flashback

Vintage 90s and 1980s shell suit bottoms and jackets evolved from that 1970s sportswear staple, the utilitarian tracksuit.  The original tracksuits of the 1950s and 1960s were made of moisture-wicking cotton or terry cloth, and were usually styled in dark neutrals with little to no embellishment. Shell suit tracksuit bottoms and jackets were a reinvention in nylon and other man-made fabrics. They featured in bright colours and with plenty of jazzed-up embellishments on sleeves, shell suit trousers and accessories.


Shell suit trousers and tops were quickly adopted outside the sports world, by the hip-hopping and break-dancing crowd. They wore their shell suit trousers emblazoned with stripes, lightning bolts and contrasting piping to make that statement of fashion rebellion.


This shell suit bottoms and tops trend quickly spread across the pond to Liverpool, UK, where lasses and lads of the Scouser generation rocked their shell suit tracksuit bottoms and jackets. These were bold and fashion-forward style statements that inspired the rest of the world to get on board. Scousers added on bubble perms, high-top sneakers and bright headbands to finish their iconic look.


Soon, vintage 90s fashion saw shell suit trousers and jackets worn as niche, understated style statements rather than the boldly colourful in-your-face shell suit tracksuit bottoms and tops of the 1980s. A legend had been unleashed!

Shell suit Trousers and Fashion Icons

Men’s shell suit bottoms and tops have been worn by superstar male fashion icons from the 1960s right to modern times, so you are in good company when you rock your shell suit tracksuit bottoms on the catwalks of your very own daily life.


From the 1960s, we had sports stars like John Carlos and Tommie Smith wearing their original tracksuits for warm-up and cool-down sessions before and after their sports events. As we know, these utilitarian tracksuits were the precursors to the shell suit trousers and jackets rocked within and outside the sports world in later decades.


Original authentic tracksuits from the 1960s were all business, in terry cloth or cotton to absorb moisture, and had buttons instead of zips for easy on-and-off use.

Rock vintage 90s shell suit bottoms in so many ways!


1970s shell suit bottoms

Vintage 1970s shell suit trousers and jackets were still very much sports wear uniforms, now widely adopted by the likes of Jimmy Carter for his daily jogs. Soon joggers on the streets of USA everywhere emulated that trend.


From joggers to Hollywood, shell suit bottoms and jackets were also rocked by action heroes like Bruce Lee in his movie, “Game of Death”, wearing his shell suit trousers and jacket in bright yellow, ala the Dragon from the East.


Also, in the 1970s, we saw TV stars like Lee Majors doing his bionic thing wearing iconic red shell suit trousers and jacket for his starring role on “The Six Million Dollar Man”


In the 1980s and 1990s, vintage 90s shell suit bottoms and jackets were widely adopted by music stars like the band Run DMC, and hip-hop and rap artists like Diddy and Jay-Z. They rocked their shell track suit bottoms and tops as statements of rebellious style and badass streetwear chic and teenagers on every street corner quickly copied the look


In the 90s, shell suit bottoms and tops were given a new lease on life when the USA basketball team to the Summer Olympics in Spain rocked this iconic uniform. Sports heroes from Magic Johnson to Michael Jordan were members of this elite sports team and wore their shell suit bottoms and jackets with pride.


And then there were the Brit bands like Oasis and Blur, who wore shell suit tracksuit bottoms and jackets on stages from London to Liverpool. And British footballers made their own masculine style statements on the field in their version of shell track bottoms and tops.

90s Green Adidas Golfing Trackie Bottoms

90s Green Adidas Golfing Trackie Bottoms

Best places to buy shell suit bottoms

There are so many global and local online market places where you can do a virtual tour, find shell suit tracksuit bottoms and tops that mesh with your personal style, and get yourself everything in size men or women, from waist 30 to beyond, with an elasticated waist for even more comfort.

90s Black Adidas Sports Trackie Bottoms

90s Black Adidas Sports Trackie Bottoms

  • Start your online browsing at Etsy


Check out their shell suit trouser offerings for the best choice in one-of-a-kind, vintage 90s originals, including handmade custom selections. You will find everything here, from authentic throwback shell suit bottoms to modern reinventions of shell suit tracksuit bottoms made with current technology and style.


  • Another great place to do your virtual shopping is at BooHoo


Here, you can find women’s shell suit bottoms in lovely shades of blue, from pastel pale all the way through to dark navy. Or find trendy men’s shell track bottoms with tapered legs and tuxedo stripes, perfect when paired with your favourite sneakers.

90s Adidas Navy Blue Shell Suit Bottoms

90s Adidas Navy Blue Shell Suit Bottoms

  • Then, head on over to Mennace


Look for their green shell suit bottoms with red panels for a colour play on this classic. Also find many other colour, fabric and style choices from original vintage 90s UK-sourced shell track bottoms to current reinventions of shell suit trousers in muted shades of modern darks, to highly embellished style statements you can rock for your next 1980s or 1990s fancy dress party.


  • Do also visit eBay


You will find vintage 90s shell suit trousers in all shades of green, pink, purple and other bubble gum fun colours for the ladies, and more neutral shades of blue, grey and black for the guys. Or check out extravagantly styled shell suit bottoms and tops to mix-and-match or wear together for fancy dress costume parties.


  • Another place to source your shell suit track bottoms from is from Depop


Offering vintage shell suit bottoms and shell suit tracksuit bottoms in dark pink with blue and black stripes down the front for fashionistas, or waist 30 and above with elasticated waist band options and dark rinse colours for men, you have a multitude of options to choose from here.

90s Navy Blue Shell Suit Bottoms

90s Navy Blue Shell Suit Bottoms

  • At Depop, you’ll also find vintage 90s shell suit bottoms.This popular online market place offers vintage 90s shell suit trousers in cool colours like purple with contrasting stripes, or multicoloured shell track bottoms for a bold choice. You will find inclusive sizing here too, from a waist 30 all the way up to extra extra large sizes.


  • And everyone knows about Asos, the global online market place


Asos offers designer brand vintage 90s shell suit trousers from the likes of Adidas and Nike at affordable price points and in excellent condition. Find them in far-out colours like shiny green or more sober styles like navy and black. You can also find vintage 80s shell suit bottoms at Asos.


Once again, they offer brand name options from Adidas, Gucci and other high-end fashion houses here. You can get yourself both ladies and men’s shell suit bottoms on this site.


  • Another cool place to check out is The Vintage Scene


Offering you the best in UK-sourced vintage fashion options, pick and choose from vintage 90s and 80s shell bottoms and matching tops for true throwback style. Buy the full suit or just the shell suit trousers or shell suit jacket to suit your mood.

90s Black And Lilac Shell Suit Bottoms

90s Black And Lilac Shell Suit Bottoms

97th Vintage
  • If you are searching for high-end shell bottoms from top designers like Fila, Puma and Reebok, do check out 97th Vintage


This vintage market places offers you shell suit trousers and jackets from the likes of such sportswear giants as Reebok, Fila and Puma at reasonable price points you won’t find anywhere else.


The highly curated collection of designer brand shell suit bottoms on this site ensure you get only the best quality, highly durable fabrications and most wearable high street designs in vintage 90s and 80s shell suit track bottoms and jackets to choose from.


  • Finally, do check out what Amazon has to offer you


This huge virtual market place has everything you could possibly be looking for when sourcing shell bottoms and tops, all the way from designer suits to low-cost, fast fashion fancy dress options. And you can pick and choose from a vast array of accessories to finish off your shell suit bottoms with classic sneakers, throwback headbands or anything else that you want to finish your look.

Gucci shell suit

Gucci shell suit

The Comeback of Shell Bottoms and tops

 Shell suit bottoms and tops are one of the few throwback fashions that have made a strong comeback on global fashion catwalks on both sides of the Atlantic. The classic brash and bold shell suit bottoms and jackets of the 1980s and 1990s, with the elasticated waist,nylon fabrication and baggy style of yore, has seen a resurgence in modern day fashion trends.


Witness Gucci sending its own spin on shell suit bottoms and tops down the 2018 Spring catwalk, embellished with tiny sunnies and belt bags to really amplify that 1980s retro style. And then there are the sportswear giants like Nike, Champion and Reebok with their reinvention of shell suit track bottoms and jackets in modern colourations and flamboyant patterns and designs to really make this look stand out from neutral athleisure wear.


So now you are not restricted to online market places like Etsy or your local thrift stores and main street consignment stores to find shell suit bottoms and jackets to mesh with your personal style and current wardrobe. You can find them in any store, bricks-and-mortar or online, as modern outfits ready to wear.

On trend

The platform that tracks fashion searches, called Lyst, has shared that there has been a recent spike in shell suit bottoms and jackets searches, especially for authentic vintage 90s outfits. A lot of these searches originate in the fashion capitals of the world, like London, UK, or New York city, with searches up by over 80% year over year.


Top sites being visited and browsed for shell suit bottoms include high-end fashion houses like Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Global fashion influencers like Kylie Jenner and her BFF Bella Hadid rocking their shell suit track bottoms with off-duty style have played no small part in driving renewed interest in this fashion trend, so consider yourself in stylish company.


Adidas Firebird Track Top

Adidas Firebird Track Top


Styling men’s shell suit tracksuit bottoms and tops for today’s looks

There are a multitude of ways you can style men’s shell suit bottoms and tops for day to evening to weekends, for a modern-retro spin that will show your style savvy.


  • When planning that Friday business-casual look, pair your shell track bottoms in a dark neutral like black, navy or charcoal with a white T-shirt and sports jacket over top. Add sockless loafers and you are good to go.


  • For laid-back social events on the weekends, combine your shell suit bottoms with your favourite printed T-shirt and classic sneaks for a chic-cool vibe. Don’t forget to add some throwback aviators to finish off your look.


  • And for evenings and nights out, why not wear your shell bottoms with matching jacket for a top-to-bottom spin on the tracksuit look. Layer a black T-shirt under the jacket on summer nights or wear a black turtleneck sweater in winter evenings. Add dark high-top trainers for that streetwear vibe.


You can even rock them at the club or your next night out, by elevating the look with a slim-fitted turtleneck sweater under a biker jacket on colder nights, or with your favourite muscle T-shirt on warm summer evenings.

bohoo Shellsuit Jogger

bohoo Shellsuit Jogger


Styling women’s shell suit tracksuit bottoms and jackets today

So many cool ways to style your shell suit bottoms and tops, so let’s get right to the inspiration!


When rocking your shell track bottoms, pair them with a sleek fitted and sleeveless turtleneck topped tucked in for a dressy-casual look in summer or with a long-sleeved turtleneck sweater in winter. Add strappy high-heeled sandals to finish your summer evening look or your favourite lace-up booties for some cosy style.


For a more laid-back vibe, throw a chunky, oversized sweater over top and add your favourite sneakers during cooler weather, or knot an oversized graphic T-shirt on one hip and add classic white trainers for summer cool.




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