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Niche shows worth watching for the ’90s fashion alone

WORDS BY JASMINE WALLIS

Cultural cornerstones.

Sometimes the ’90s fashion trend feels like it just won’t quit. 

While modern trends like the futuristic Croc or the coveted House of Sunny cardigan dot our Instagram feeds, they always seem to be paired with teeny-tiny ’90s sunglasses or a silk, Calvin Klein-inspired mini dress that looks like it walked straight off the set of Clueless

Despite many people trying to make the ’70s happen with the current flare revival or the über popular Gen Z take on Y2K aesthetics, it seems that the era of the ’90s has the most staying power of all. But from where can you glean inspiration when social media and magazines are a jumble of trends and decades? 

We’re taking it back to a time before iPhones, YouTube and cursed Instagram shopping tabs to view some ’90s TV shows (that you’d have to watch at the same time every night, can you believe?) to find the next big trend set to be all over our feeds any day now. 

Show: My So-Called Life
Inspiration for: Androgynous angst

Only running for one season, My So-Called Life took a look at adolescence in the mid-’90s. Starring a young Clare Danes and future fashion aficionado Jared Leto, the show is set around a group of high schoolers in America’s midwest. 

Focusing on teenagers, the fashion is quite innocent and pared down. But among the scrunchies and blue denim mom jeans, the fashion in My So-Called Life is gender fluid and, at times, androgynous. 

With chunky, knitted sweaters and worn leather loafers, My So-Called Life is the perfect viewing to help you gain inspiration from the $5 bargain bins at your local charity shop. Everything old is new again, anyway. 

Show: Buffy
Inspiration for: Fashionable heroinism

Serving as an allegory for life in your teenage years, Buffy the Vampire Slayer makes killing demons and vampires fashionable

Starring Sarah Michelle Geller and running from 1997 to 2003, Buffy’s titular heroine would make the ultimate style influencer in the 2020s. So much so that a number of Buffy style accounts have been popping up on Instagram over the last few years. 

With her mixture of prep princess and leather jacket-wearing coolness, Buffy is the multifaceted fashion icon we all need. 

Big winter coats and colourful sunglasses may be all I’m wearing this season, tbh. 

Show: The Nanny
Inspiration for: Colour dressing

How could I write an article on ’90s fashion without referencing the queen from Queens herself, Fran Fine AKA The Nanny.

 

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A post shared by Fran (@everyoutfitonthenanny)

After re-discovering this show on Stan, I’ve been gasping over Fran’s unique and colourful style (and trying to figure out how to make it work in 2021). 

 

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A post shared by Fran Fine Fashion (@whatfranwore)

Her hyperfeminine, playful and glittery approach to dressing is an expressive, yet chic, look into the American fashion of the mid ’90s. 

With no flannel or baggy jeans in sight, I’m looking to The Nanny for inspiration on how to work a bold leopard print and colourful leather outfit this winter. 

 

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A post shared by Fran Fine Fashion (@whatfranwore)

Show: Living Single
Inspiration for: Big New York energy

Set in a Brooklyn brownstone, Living Single aired from 1993 to 1998 and is an amazing reference point for iconic ’90s fashion. The sitcom focuses on six friends living and working in New York — sound familiar? 

Living Single is heralded as the inspiration behind (or blatant blueprint of) the biggest show of the ’90s, Friends, and you can see why. 

Developed by Queen Latifah and Kim Coles, Living Single is inspiring my city living wardrobe at the moment. 

Featuring crisp white shirts paired with high-waisted jeans and Matrix-esque jackets over a chic turtleneck, Living Single should get more credit. Not just for being a fashionable TV show but also a great cult sitcom. 

It’s not even just the ’90s, we’re obsessed with all the fashion looks TV shows have shared with us.

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