Pop culture has recently experienced a surge in ’90s nostalgia, spanning cinema, music, and fashion. Perhaps it’s the longing for simpler times without smart gadgets and filters, or maybe the ’90s were cool and deserve a revival. Either way now is the perfect time to embrace it.
If you’re not into ’90s grunge or clubwear, you might find ’90s preppy fashion more appealing. The decade witnessed a notable resurgence of preppy styles in various sub-trends, including Princess Diana’s chic sportswear, nautical-inspired boat wear, and boarding school-esque plaid skirts and blazers.
The ’90s preppy style exuded effortlessness, timelessness, and undeniable coolness. It had a simple and understated essence with occasional bold accents. Picture classic tweed or plaid infused with bright yellow, like Cher Horowitz from Clueless, or all-American casual wear with chic grunge. To incorporate a hint of ’90s preppy fashion into your wardrobe, consider adding these classic ’90s pieces.
- Bucket Hats, Claw Clips, & Scrunchies
Hair accessories are gaining popularity, and we can credit the ’90s for their comeback. From oversized scrunchies to timeless bucket hats, these small details add the perfect finishing touch to your ’90s preppy fashion ensemble.
King, the professional fashion designer said, “The ’90s were iconic for accessories like bucket hats, claw clips, and scrunchies. The best part is that these items are still in style, but for a modern preppy look, opt for daintier and simpler versions of these accessories.”
- Crochet Tops
Crochet tops were a must-have in the ’90s fashion scene, alongside sweater vests. While they may not be as hippie-esque as tie-dye shirts or peasant tops, they were a favorite among the preppy crowd, offering a fun and playful vibe.
Nowadays, the modern version of crochet tops feels more structured, and you can discover various cute color combinations that truly make a statement. For a stylish outfit, consider pairing these tops with chunky sandals and bootcut jeans.
- Sweater Vests
Sweater vests were a prominent part of the classic ’90s preppy fashion, offering a versatile and stylish choice for everyone. Whether you opt for the timeless V-neck design or the super preppy crew cut, the sweater vest exudes a charming appeal.
Back in the ’90s, it was commonly worn with a white button-down shirt underneath, showcasing the collars and often featuring an argyle pattern, as pointed out by Antoque. To achieve a sweeter look, you could team it up with a mini skirt and clogs or sneakers.
For those seeking a contemporary twist on the ’90s sweater vest, experimenting with playful patterns or vibrant color combinations can breathe new life into the style.
- Boot Cut Jeans
Boot-cut jeans, a hallmark of ‘90s preppy fashion, draw inspiration directly from the fashion trends of the ’70s. The era of peasant tops, bell bottoms, and tie-dye left a significant influence on the ’90s, and these elements are now making a comeback in today’s wave of ’90s nostalgia. When delving into the preppy side of ’90s fashion, boot-cut jeans take the spotlight.
Offering a perfect balance of flair without appearing overly retro, they effortlessly complement any top or shoe choice you pair them with.
- Tiny Sunglasses
In the realm of sunglasses, each decade brings its defining style. The ’50s were marked by the elegant cat-eye shape, while the ’80s embraced aviators and oversized designs as the epitome of cool. As for ’90s preppy fashion, it found its iconic eyewear statement in the form of tiny sunglasses with rectangular, oval, or circular lenses, often adorned with a variety of vibrant tints. Interestingly, this stylish look is experiencing a contemporary resurgence.
For those seeking to incorporate this revived trend into their fashion repertoire, exploring the latest D&G eyewear collection is a fantastic idea.
- Slip Dresses
The ’90s fashion scene fearlessly embraced experimentation, and one prime example of this was the transformation of an undergarment into a statement piece. The slip dress, originally designed to be worn discreetly underneath clothing, emerged as a striking fashion trend. This alluring piece boasts a slinky, lightweight material, and delicate spaghetti straps that exude a sense of elegance.
Back in the ’90s, slip dresses were a hit, often featuring lace trim and cut in a short silhouette. However, contemporary fashion hasn’t shied away from innovation either. Nowadays, it’s common to witness slip dresses being paired casually with a short-sleeve white tee underneath and complemented by sneakers. This style choice provides a comfortable and chic option for those seeking more coverage while preserving the allure of the slip dress.
- Crisp Button-Down
Reviving the essence of ’90s preppy fashion, modern clothing now features updated classic silhouettes with a touch of refinement in subdued hues, complemented by effortless styling. Among the essentials from that era, the crisp, striped button-down shirt takes the spotlight. Today, this timeless piece is made 2023-appropriate by teaming it up with casual linen shorts or straight-legged jeans, exuding an easy-breezy, minimalist vibe that’s sure to make a statement.
The versatility of this wardrobe staple knows no bounds, making it suitable for almost any occasion. Dress it up with slacks for a polished office look, or toss it over a swimsuit for a carefree day at the beach. Whether you’re headed to a formal setting or a leisurely outing, the crisp button-down remains a reliable and stylish choice that effortlessly adapts to various settings and trends.
- Mary Janes
Let’s talk about Mary Janes – the iconic shoes that became the go-to choice for preppy kids across the nation during the ’90s. With their platform heel, rounded toe, and charming buckle over the top of the foot, Mary Janes exuded timeless elegance. Though traditionally seen in black, these versatile shoes can now be found in an array of colors and heel heights, providing endless style options. Pairing them with thin ankle socks adds an extra touch of preppiness to the look.
Back in the ’90s, Mary Janes held a significant position in the world of fashion, thanks to their classically feminine silhouette. Today, these beloved shoes are experiencing a resurgence in popularity, proving that their appeal remains evergreen.
- Pleated Mini Skirts
When reminiscing about ’90s preppy fashion, one cannot overlook the iconic ensembles donned by Cher and Dionne in the movie Clueless. Among their cherished favorites was the pleated mini skirt, boasting a mid-thigh length to showcase their fashionable legs and gracefully fluttering with each step, thanks to its delightful folds.
Pleated mini skirts offer a versatile canvas for styling, making them a wardrobe essential. Jarett Antoque, the fashion director at Amazon Style, recommends pairing them with a tucked-in blouse or top, complemented by a chic blazer or cropped jacket.