The ’90s called. They want their aesthetic back.

Sophia Hughes, Features Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Clad in a denim-on-denim ensemble, a girl walks down the bustling streets of Los Angeles. She’s wearing earphones and the clashes of drums in Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” seem to eradicate the chaos that surrounds her. Her getup is anything but form-fitting. The oversized jean jacket and the Adidas sneakers create a unisex style while her accent braids keep the look feminine. She is not intending to pull a gimmick, yet people can’t help but stare because this isn’t the ’90s. This took place yesterday.

Apparently the ’90s weren’t as archaic as everyone labeled them. The return of this decade in the fashion world does not come as a surprise considering our volatile society and the fact that it was arguably one of the best decades of all time. Bootcut jeans and “dad jeans” have made returns in stores such as Lucky and Gap and jean jackets have had a full on resurgence among the Generation Z kids that missed their initial popularity. Stan Smiths and a variety of vintage Adidas, New Balance and Nike sneakers have taken high school hallways by storm, perhaps a nod to Jerry Seinfeld’s trademark running shoes. Denim-on-denim has become an American cornerstone rather than a theme for school spirit day. Multiple hoops adorn women’s ears. Turtlenecks have become the standard sweater. Flannels embody grunge. Long socks are cool.

The return of the ’90s in the fashion world is eclectic at best. Like most things in life, it can be credited to pop culture.

Recently, the television shows that people have been turning to the most revolve around decades past. “Stranger Things,” practically an eight-episode tribute to the ’80s, exploded in 2016 with approximately 2.5 million demand expressions per day, according to Business Insider. “Gilmore Girls” of the early-2000s is one of the most popular binges on Netflix and recently produced a revival. “Friends” and “Seinfeld” are firmly embedded in the psyche of American pop culture. Though our society has its handful of contemporary-themed programs, age-old shows that feature their bygone decades as stylish backdrops stand strong.

Though these four shows do not all necessarily take place in the ’90s, the fashion between them is just as similar and significant. “Stranger Things” has characters decked out in shearling jean jackets, pants cutting above the ankles, long socks and Nike tennis shoes. Though Steve Harrington’s over-the-top quiff hasn’t gained entry to 2017, shearling jackets have become so mainstream that practically every clothing retailer sells them. Additionally, Rory Gilmore’s adolescent accent braids have made a comeback among high schoolers and Jess Mariano’s nondescript denim-on-denim habit provided evidenced that doubling the fabrics did not clash then and still won’t. Rachel Green, of course, assisted in reviving turtlenecks and bootcut jeans as she can make practically anything look quintessential. Kat Stratford in “10 Things I Hate About You” brought back multiple hoop earrings in the midst of the film’s resurgence on Netflix.

And then there’s Jerry Seinfeld.

Yes, Jerry Seinfeld. Yes, the one who quite literally wears the most basic looking clothing that is not exactly flattering. Yes, the one who is the epitome of “white ’90s dad” attire.

Why? The answer is a mixture of psychological reactions and stylistic choices. It’s normcore.

Normcore. A hybrid of “normal” and “hardcore.” The New York Times has defined it as “a fashion movement in which scruffy young urbanites swear off the tired street-style clichés of the last decade — skinny jeans, wallet chains, flannel shirts — in favor of a less-ironic embrace of bland, suburban anti-fashion attire.” Normcore can be characterized as a unisex style that works so hard to embody “normal” and “simple” through unpretentious clothing with basic colors. There are no blouses or neckties. There are no complex patterns or tight fits. It is not meant to stand out and the biggest brand in which these urbanites shop is the Gap.

In other words, the younger generation wants to be more independent. When before, the craze was to always be part of the group and stick with the latest fads, now there has been a complete flip flop. Young adults do not want to belong. They have lost the euphoria that comes with belonging. Though their unified defiance of belonging is almost contradictory to what they’re fighting for, it is clearly a rejection of the new.

Cue people over thirty everywhere rolling their eyes.

Yes, I understand. The constant journey that teenagers take to find new ways to reject society is a little melodramatic. But the creativity with which they develop these latest fads is pretty undeniable. Furthermore, I truly believe that experimentation in the realm of the ’90s and Normcore is a much better alternative to the other hipsters experimenting with facial hair and man buns.

Of course, the psychological analysis may not apply to all.

Hey, maybe people just liked the outfit that Elaine wore in their binging of “Seinfeld” last night.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The online student newspaper of Palisades Charter High School
The ’90s called. They want their aesthetic back.