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How to nail ‘90s style

How to nail ‘90s style

The ‘90s is one of those decades that never really left us – style wise. This was the last great era of subculture, after all – a time before you carried the internet in your pocket, before style was democratised the way it is now, and before the ‘collage’ approach to dressing took Gen Z by storm. It was the decade of grunge, windbreakers, and flannel shirts, and there’s a lot we can draw from it (the good and the bad). 

Luckily, it’s easy to embrace this era today – even 20 years later. In fact, we imagine many  of its hallmark items already linger in your existing wardrobe. And who better to help rediscover ways to wear them than stylist Toby Standing – he may have only lived through six years of the ‘90s, but he’s been paying tribute to it through his style ever since.  

Go back to the source

If you want to bring iconic elements of ‘90s grunge into your wardrobe without looking like you’re in costume, menswear stylist Toby suggests “going back to the source and see what they’re actually wearing.” Oversized cardigans, looser-fitting denim in light washes, canvas shoes like Chuck Taylors and Vans, all of these categories are easy to find from a variety of different brands and at a huge range of price points. 

Focus on the footwear

The obvious gateway into this aesthetic is through footwear – it’s both where you’re most likely to look first and where you can make real impact style wise. Toby suggests “opting for a low-top, gum-sole shoe like the Adidas Spezial or Gazelle and going for a bolder than usual colour like sky blue, pillarbox red, or bright yellow. “

Choose your icon

“Almost 30 years on (and 15 years from when I first listened to ‘Bleach’ and unleashed some early angst), Kurt Cobain is still one of my absolute style icons,” Toby says. But when it comes to the Gallagher-inspired, parka-wearing, elements of ‘90s style, you can find inspiration that speaks more to your everyday wardrobe. Just follow the broader style philosophy of your ‘90s icon of choice. 

“The outfits of ‘90s style icons were put together, not just thrown on. Your look would be a signifier of not just who you were, but who you supported, where you lived and what was important to you. Sound grandiose? Sure, but it’s not untrue.” 

Make it feel authentic today

There’s an ease and carefree approach to the way the people of the ‘90s dressed. It’s about found clothing, pieces that you’ve dug out of your parents wardrobe and cut to make it fit right; it’s got an inescapable cool factor that still feels relevant to today. And, with the approach of blending all these different types of aesthetics into one, blending dress codes, and making the most of the clothes you’ve got, the ‘90s era quickly becomes very 2021.


Words: Yasmine Kennedy
Styling: Toby Standing