When the whole 90s-revival thing picked up steam most recently, I didn’t think twice about whipping out my overalls and buying a new tattoo choker on Etsy. No shame there — I’m a 90s kid, after all. But I’ll admit that the return of these trends can look either amazing…or just really, really bad.
We’ve watched our favorite 90s stars’ and fashion icons’ styles evolve over the years, but there’s still something magical (and hilarious) about remembering the big hits of the decade — like the Rachel haircut or Cher Horowitz’s epic outfits in Clueless. Pieces like overalls and crop tops can certainly take more modern, streamlined forms nowadays, but still, mastering their return is all about styling. There’s a fine line between giving a chic nod to the 90s and looking like a character from Spice World.
To help you avoid going into full-on time-capsule mode, we put together outfits that tap into the 90s the right way. So go on, learn how to bring these signatures back to the future.
Talk about a throwback. Christina Aguilera’s choker is just the finishing touch on her quintessential 90s look. The super-low-rise pants, the baby tee with intentionally layered cami underneath, the micro-eyebrows, and a dose of attitude are giving us major flashbacks.
Aside from tattoo chokers, black bands with a single charm were everywhere (mine had a yin-yang charm, obviously). Oh, and if you didn’t feel like spending money on one, you could always cut off a ring of fabric from a pair of black tights and just wear that around your neck. Let’s not relive that look.
Think of your choker as a sleek accessory to tie together an office-appropriate look in a fresh way, rather than a front-and-center piece. Forgo a pendant for a minimal metal version, and layer it with your simple, wear-every-day chain necklaces for added interest. Wear it with a flowy top, a bold pair of tailored trousers, and a bit of a heel, and you’re honing in on the trend without going full-on 90s pop star.
You don’t have to convince us to love a crop top — at this point, they’ve become a staple in our wardrobes. But there’s always a chance of looking a little too 90s, especially if you fall into wearing one with boyfriend jeans and a flannel tied around your waist. Instead, opt for a ladylike, knee-length skirt and a studded shoe with a bit of a heel. The classic black bag makes the outfit look all grown up, while a whimsical statement ring keeps it playful.
We’ll just leave this here… In all seriousness, what would the decade have been without overalls? They were fun to wear as a kid, no doubt, and made an appearance in just about every Mary-Kate and Ashley movie, so obviously they were a must-have — especially when paired with a straight-up soccer-mom haircut. Sure, they were probably the least flattering garment ever to exist, but did that matter in the 90s? Nope.
These days, though, your typical 90s overalls might not be such a good look. The key to making these onesies feel grown up is to find a well-fitted, more streamlined silhouette, as opposed to just breaking out your vintage pair. This chic variation embraces the trend, but without the overly baggy elements from your childhood. When paired with a classic bow blouse and a statement clutch, overalls feel intentional rather than nostalgic. Tighter, more structured ones have been popular lately among both celebrities and street-style stars, and when styled the right way, they feel anything but kiddish.