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Mar 9, 2012

Try to Remember...the Nineties



Readers, you know you're getting old when someone asks "Remember the Nineties?" and you assume they mean the 1890's.

Today it's time to jog your fashion memory, as we go back in time seventeen years.  This morning Michael fished this fantastic March 1995 issue of Vogue (Would you call it...vintage? -- Eek!) out of the trash and it's an amazing look at where we were not all that long ago.  Seems like only yesterday to me, though some of you were still in Pampers, or maybe your kids were. 

So, the Nineties...  (I'll now channel the spirit of Milton Berle.)  When the only thing that tweeted were birds.  When you could like something and nobody else had to know.  When friend and text were nouns.  When Amazon was a tall woman in a loincloth.

It's funny about 1995: life really had a different texture.  This was the end of the pre-Internet days and life and fashion still felt relatively sane.  It's not like the clothes themselves were so different -- in fact, these styles (which weren't original then, mostly) are still around today, it's just that everything else from every other era is around too.  It's all a big jumble.

Remember the supermodels?  They're nearly all present in the March Vogue.  Cindy, Helena, and Claudia!



Linda!



 Naomi!



Kate!



Christy!



Madonna is everywhere -- by 1995 she was already considered over the hill and desperately trying to stay current -- but otherwise there actually aren't a whole lot of celebrities in this magazine.  Fashion and Hollywood still occupied two different spheres; how refreshing!  No red carpets or reality show personalities.





I didn't remember that in the mid-Nineties we were going through a Forties/Fifties Hollywood-inspired glamour revival (Aren't we always?), but it's true.  Luxe was the word of the moment and it sounded fresh; we'd just been through grunge.  Lots of cinched waists, pencil skirts, lacquered hair, and pin-up poses.





Remember Kristen McMenamy?  (Photographer Steven Meisel; Fashion Editor Grace Coddington):











The suit revival was big too.  There was no fleece.







Nothing here looks like it would be out of place today to me, including Shalom Harlow (photos by Bruce Weber).  What do you think?



You can view more images from the March 1995 Vogue here.  Does any image seem particularly iconic or representative of that not-so-long-ago (in years) era?

Readers, how do you remember fashion of the Nineties? Anything here or that you were wearing at the time that would look ridiculous today?  Hmmm...



What do you think is the big difference between then and now, other than the complete absence of Angelina, Jen, and Snooki? 

Is it time for a Nineties revival, and what would that be exactly?

Jump in!

46 comments:

  1. It seems like there is more emphasis on shape, less on frou frou details. I would wear any of it that would go with my body type (except the last picture - natch :) I like that they're figure flattering yet modest compared to what's been out there lately.

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    1. Yes, yes, there's much less exposed skin and sex -- especially in the ads.

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  2. The biggest difference is that I could have worn any of those clothes in 1995 and looked damn good but they wouldn't fit me now - oh ageing! You're right though those fashions have stood the test of time and would be completely fine today. There seemed to be more focus on the clothes instead of who was wearing them. Nice find

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  3. Oh you make me feel old Peter! I got married in 1993, whaaaa that means I am old ;o)

    I do remember the revival of vintage style looks as I've been a 50s chick for too many years to remember now, it was also revived in the 80s and yes I remember that too....

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  4. Good god, I've just another thought-- am I stuck in the Nineties? My clothes still look like these. Shoulder pads anyone?

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  5. I was all about grunge for most of the 90s so I didn't wear any of this. I did have flannel, ripped jeans, and Gap overalls.

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  6. For the past many years I've felt that it's hard for fashion to look fresh anymore. There really is nothing new under the sun. The styles in this magazine appear timeless to me. They would only look out of place today by looking a lot classier than anything else you see on the streets now.

    Big difference? I love that nowadays women can draw on any era in fashion history and wear whatever suits their personal style or body type. I don't think we had that freedom in the nineties. I hate what many (especially younger) women do with said freedom.

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  7. Hmm, I think a magazine showing more casual fashion would highlight the differences a bit more. Everything in there looks quite classic and timeless.

    In 1995 I discovered the crop-top and the 1" inseam short shorts. Boy was I mad when crop-tops became passe a couple of years later (though I'm sure everyone else was terribly relieved). I do still wear my shorts like that when the weather permits...

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  8. Wow- not a ruffle in sight! I'm still slowly warming up to ruffle-details. And when did the white-shirt-sticking-out-from-every-edge-of-a-shrunken-sweater look crop up? I remember that being a shock. The Vogue set especially really focused on fit and clean lines. Looking grown-up was a good thing.

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  9. My style in the nineties was WAY different than what was represented in Vogue. I was heavy into grunge and wore floral rayon dresses with Doc Martens and my dad's marine corps fatigues jacket. I thought I was so cute.

    Those things in Vogue look like they would not be out of place in a Vogue today.

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  10. Thanks for sharing this find, Peter. The one caution is that most women don't dress like Vogue models at any time in history. If you look at a current issue you will see a lot of interesting stuff, but not necessarily what most people are wearing. This is probably the case for the 1995 Vogue as well. The only fashion I remember from 1995 is the wedding dress I made. (I was an ancient bride of 40) I would still pick the style now.

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  11. What caught my attention while I looked through 2 pattern books of the late 80's and early 90's was Vogue looked more timeless with the fashions while the Butterick looked much more trendy and "out of date" Made me think that Vogue really does master timeless. As for the general look of the above phots...I much prefer the cleaner less foo foo and embelishment that is just TOO much of now in fashion. I really thought this big shiney jewelery etc would tame down but it hasn't. In that issue they showed a longer skirt but never remember were they longer then??? I see a repeat of the longer length now for fall 2012.

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  12. the clothes look lovely and current to me. The only thing that says "90's" to me is the hairstyles in the second pic and the very last pic, and maybe the lipstick colors. The designer clothing all seems very classic and gorgeous. I don't think 90's RTW looked that classic tho...

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  13. oooh, i love the suits!
    1995 was the year i went off to college. think I lived in jeans, doc marten boots, and oversized tshirts.

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  14. I look at the 90's as a very minimalism stage. I got married in 1994 and my style was fashionable but it was like I was still somehow on the late 80's (Red lipstick, high heels with skinny jeans, etc). I remember 1995-1998 to be the "khaki" era. I was living upstate NY and everyone there wore Gap khaki pants with white shirts or stripe shirts and looked very preppy. I hated it.

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  15. I executive and aspiring exec women were still big into suits with same fabric jackets and skirts or slacks...now it seems like that is less a big deal. Instead it's stand out dresses and suits that have more individuality...thank heavens!

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  16. forget the first I...never did learn to type well. That was another thing, keyboards on your desk used to indicate lower status...now we want keyboards, iThisandThats, smart phones, etc. The more access the better.

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  17. It would be a delightful comparison and contrast to see a Sears, J.C. Penney's, Lord & Taylor, Macy's, and a Nordstrom's or Neiman-Marcus catalog from that year.

    Somehow the offerings to the masses get wide circulation at the time, but short-shrift there after.

    To the real RTW we saw in our daily lives, attention, attention must finally be paid to such clothes.

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    Replies
    1. Or you could just catch an episode of "Friends."

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    2. I was going to say this - I've seen some early episodes of Friends recently and the clothes look TERRIBLE. Also, I can't believe they're from 1994. Where did those 18 years go??

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  18. You make me laugh, really! I do think that the 90s were like yersterday...

    Well, I remember that the fashion designs became a bit "clean". There were some revivals, but not ruffles, like in the 80s. There were also some sport clothes that came to be use on the streets and the starting of the nylon "puffy" winter jackets substituted the nice wool ones.

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  19. I graduated from high school in 1995, so I can't say I was dressing like the Vogue photos. I remember wearing baggy overalls (actually, I wouldn't mind if these came back in fashion, they were so comfy!), spaghetti strap sundresses with short sleeve white t-shirts underneath, Doc Martens, pleated jeans (ewwww!), and long flow-y rayon dresses and skirts.

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  20. I spent a big chunk of the 90s dressing brides, bridesmaids and ball goers, and the big game changer trend from the 80's was 60s revival. Shell and shift dresses, empire lines, wearing Mum's 1963 wedding dress (which generally meant a remake of the bodice so the lass would fit into it!) Scallops (in again this year) and guipure lace in bridal translated for streetwear into clean lines, all the 80's ruffliness and laciness gone. The soft, feminine thing came through in clean grunge, with the hippy side of the 1960s look. I loved it and in bridalwear at least, I hope Princess Kate's dress is the game changer we need to herald in a new look.

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  21. I think the 90's were quite stylish, where the best of the 30's, 40's and 50's were mixed in a practicle way (read: machin washable). It will be hard to repeat it, as it was in so many ways a mix of styles from other decades. That would be short laces mixed with doc martens, it that case. Thanks for asking!

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  22. Most of these pictures do look pretty chic/timeless/classic - the only one I peg as being overtly "90s" is the peach jacket/pant suit - the large oversized shape, not to mention the color, are pretty much what I remember hating about shopping in the 90s (of course, when you are 10 and have to shop in the adult section, well, there was a lot to hate and not a lot to love). Actually, what I remember most about the 90s are the plastic "jelly" shoes, the "mom" jeans, and lots and lots of t-shirts. Barbie had much better clothes than she does now though.

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  23. I must admit, I started kindergarten in 1995, s my views may be a bit skewed. While these clothing items seem to be timeless, a quick trip to your local thrift shop will show you that not all 90s clothing was timeless. Lots of dainty floral sundresses that just look dated and the occasional pair of Doc Marten knockoffs.

    The suit jackets in Vogue looks like natural fibers and are cut to fit close to the body. I think in actuality there was way more boxiness and polyester.

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  24. Those pages all look really nice, and I remember everyone paying attention to all those models, and how they dressed, treated their skin, etc. All my friends dressed very preppy. I remember khakis, "rugby" shirts, just generally everything GAP (my family had to shop more frugally).

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  25. What I remember about fashion in the 90's . . . as a newbie in the Military we were counseled (for off duty occasions) "If you dress like JFK, you will always be in style." Looking back, I don't think it was bad advice, and it was certainly easy to follow.

    The 90's are also the time that I became aware that "Name Brand" clothing became a staple/"requirement" for high school students (Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, expensive athletic shoes wear worth killing someone over). I remember thinking "Why are the parents buying this expensive crap for their kids?"

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  26. No fleece?

    In 1995, fleece, polypro, wetsuits, and jogging & kayaking t-shirts comprised a good half of my wardrobe.

    Name Brand clothing was pronounced Patagonia.

    Fashion has changed quite a lot in my world ;D

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  27. All I remember was the long rayon floral dresses. I wore those a lot. I suspect that fleece was still used more in sportswear than mainstream fahion. When did the Jo-Lo leisure suits appear?

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  28. By the time 1992 rolled round i was parenting a newborn and a 3 year old, hence i kind of missed the 90s in a child induced haze LOL

    I seem to be only able to remember 90210, Melrose Place and Friends, crop tops (which i never wore) and music that barely made an impact on me: perhaps focussing inward on my young family wasn't so bad after all haha.

    The big difference between now and the 90s for me, is that newborn baby i spoke of is now 19 and got her divers license 2 days ago and i've barely seen hide nor hair of her since :/

    In all seriousness, i love the 40s-50s revival in Michael's magazine but i don't ever remember it, sadly.

    So what's different

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  29. I can't think of anything I would call 90's fashion and I'd wear most of the things in that magzine. Does this mean I'm old?

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  30. Ahh... I had the red/pink dress that Kristen is wearing in a scrapbook for years, and I patterned the Dior jacket disappearing collar back then too. I notice they have repeated that idea recently!

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  31. I was raising children in the 90s so I wasn't focused on fashion or anything else. I like the suits, though. Less skin, but still sexy. The models have more meat on their bones albiet still thin.

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  32. It's funny to read this today as I had to explain to my nephew what the gay nineties just the other day. It did make me feel old.

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  33. Wow, when you said a Vouge from '95 I figured that was about the one year I spent looking at Vouge, thanks to a housemate. I didn't recognize the cover but the inside, not only have I seen it, but I must have poured over it because I know every page. I really liked Shalom Harlow and I particularly remember the clashy pinks and blues in the satin dress. Actually I think this issue influenced my clothing choices quite a bit. It was my last year of college and I wasn't buying anything at that time. But sometime in the next couple years, I had a bright yellow dress, I had a rose colored button front dress with panel seams and aping the lilac thing I had a pink/lilac linen dress I wore with pale blue tights. Most mine were thrift market finds, but it can't be a coincidence that they mimicked this issue. I do actually think these styles were in stores. I remember a friend nearly buying a pale blue DKNY pant suit with very clean lines that looked spectacular on her, but was ultimately impracitcal to buy. I also really remember the guess jelly shoe add, I would definitely have bought those. Even in '95 I was nostalgic for the early eighties jellies and now I see they're almost the same as the ones that Jeff Bridges wore in Big Lebowski a couple years later. I wasn't sewing for myself at the time, but I know pining for some of the clothes I couldn't afford around this time gave me the bug. The most amazing thing about the clean lines concept is how minimal the fashion spreads are. I can actually see all the clothes--a current issue of Vogue is completely different.

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  34. Out here in California, I remember one fashion trend that screamed 90's and that was black leggings with an oversized chambray shirt. Then you would wear Doc Martins with them.
    I was in my mid thirties then, so I remember wearing a version of this. Then when I look back in children's fashion from my daughters, there were a lot of oversized collars on dresses, and exaggerated puffy sleeves, that I think were a left over from the eighties.
    In general though, you are right, things in 1995 still could be relevant today. I think we have done it all, and are kind of in a rehash mode.

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  35. I love those over-the-knees dresses and skirt sets. Something that is hard to find now days. Everything seems to be mini, revealing, and tight.

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  36. The 90's were more kind to women than the 80's - less all over the map design wise better fabric. I've got a few patterns from then that translate really well for today. I grew up in San Diego and there was one very popular look I remember both teens and women wore and it's forever trapped in the bad trends locker - the shrunken t under a rayon flower print slip dress with flip flops. Nope, did not wear that so there are no black mail photos.

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  37. Pardon - that sounds snobby because nobody is innocent of bad fashion. My friends were mostly artists and musicians in the 80's and you bet there are plenty of bad fashion black mail photos of me if we go back that far. But that's before digital and I'm not scanning them...

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  38. What i remember most is short tops showing your belly and mini skirts! Even now there is a 90s fad where I see pre-adolescent girls using these "show your belly" type of shirts, even if you have the skinny body to wear them they tend to look a little distasteful

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  39. What I remember most was the age of the supermodel.....those women each had a distinctive look. I saw a recent Calvin Klein show and I was appalled at how skinny the models were and how they all looked like drones off an assembly line!!! The same mechanical walk, hair and face! How I long for the day when models had a personality and designers allowed them to smile!!

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  40. I can tell you that I was a pioneer of sortsd of the Canadian body-piercing movement; I opened my shop in Toronto in 1992. I have always been ahead of the crowd; I still can't get over the fact that I visited "The Vault"in NYC 10 YEARS before the supposedly 'so outrageous' Madonna did! (I remember reading about this in the Enquirer and rolling my eyes)That was back when piercing was still "cool" and "edgy"...although I admit that when I saw navel piercing featured in Vogue (1994, I think it was) I knew both that it was now no longer "cool" but that I would make a LOT of money..and I DID.

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  41. That peach suit is a monstrosity but everything else does look surprisingly fresh. I was in college in the 90s. I wore a lot of gauzy long broomstick skirts and flannel shirts (yes, together). Ah, grunge.

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  42. Yes, I agree with others... the gauzy long skirts and the dainty floral dresses (usually high-waisted and slightly oversized), but of course with Docs or Birkenstocks or what have you. I really remember the 90s as the non-fashion decade. How at least with my friends the point was to look as if you weren't trying and nobody I knew bought new clothes. Have you seen pics of Kristen McNemany lately? She's so stunning with her long silver hair.

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  43. Sigh...a world without fleece and celebs!
    Happy days.
    And clothes that you'd actually want to wear. Crikey!

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