It is no secret that the 90s have been an enduring trend over the past seasons- plaid, crop tops, and basically Liv Tyler’s entire wardrobe from Empire Records have been everywhere. It was refreshing at first; we flirted with a peek-a-boo midriff here, stomped around in a pair of lug-soled boots there. The so-called grunge revival served as the perfect foil to the flashiness and brand-named excess of the aughties (hello, Juicy sweatsuits). Fashion is often touted as simply recycling the past, and the 90s had so much to give, from Claire Danes in My So-Called Life to CK One. But how much is too much?
There is no deviation in the life cycle of a trend; the only variable is the amount of time it takes for the trend to go through its paces. High fashion beginnings on the runways eventually trickle down into the mass markets. Once the masses have grown weary of the trend, it will meet its untimely death at the hands of a discount store bargain bin some time later. So it goes.
The problem with the 90s is that, despite reaching its saturation point, there seems to be no expiry date in sight. On a recent trip to California, nearly every girl I saw from ages 13 to mid 20s seemed to be wearing varying iterations of the same thing: high waisted shorts, artfully tattered t shirts, and flannels tied carefully around the waist. It was as if every vaguely grungy Tumblr post I’d ever seen had come to life. The whole 90s manifesto was to be more raw and undone, to be an individual. Yet here were these people, painstakingly putting themselves together to achieve the 90s look, only to melt into an alarming sea of sameness.
You can go buy your light wash high waisted shorts from Urban Outfitters or Topshop, Forever 21 or Brandy Melville. In fact, you can buy the entire look from these places. Which is not to say that there is anything wrong with these stores, just that I cannot remember a time when the “authentic 90s look” was not readily available for purchase at your local mall. It seems like this trend has been stuck in the “mass markets” phase for the past three years.
Yes, fashion exists in an endless waltz of reinterpreting old styles, but each decade has left behind its own distinct look. It is almost midway through this decade, and do we really want 2010s style to simply be defined by its regurgitation of 90s nostalgia?
Our courtship with the 90s has been fun. I will never forget you, knee highs. It’s not you, it’s me, thrifted flannels. Maybe we can be together again some day, but for now, it is time to tuck you away into the darkest corners of my closet. I love Clueless as much as the next person, but it is time to move on.
Sanam Yar, Incoming Fashion Editor