It's fine to embrace the Nineties fashion revival, says Anna Hart. Just remember - your teenage days are over...
When I was 14, I fell deeply in love with 70s fashion. I abandoned Belfast's high street (lined with 90s stalwarts like Kookai, Exhibit and Bay Trading Co.) and lurked in Oxfam and War On Want, trailing my hand along the rails, divining for anything polyester. I hit the jackpot in Help The Aged after a local theatre company had a clear-out of their wardrobe department, and left the shop with bagfuls of plaid flares, garish floral dresses and a pair of white platform boots. My mum took one look at me in my new gear and mused, 'Gosh, I remember all this the first time around.' I looked at her like she was older than Yoda.
The withering look I gave my mum has come back to stare me out, bigtime. The 90s are here again, and yes, I remember them the first time around. So here are the rules for doing the 90s revival, without looking like you simply haven't been home to change since 1999.
1. DON'T just dress like you did as a teenager.
Yes, nostalgia is fun. Yes, sometimes we wish we could return to the days when our biggest worry was who scrawled 'munterface' on our homework diary. But dressing in slip dresses and tattered tights like Kurt-era Courtney, or in crop-tops like Sporty Spice, will not make the last 20 years go away. You have changed: you probably have more money, you have a job to go to, you look different. Buy 90s pieces that suit the person you are today, not who you were back then.
2. DO re-invest in classic pieces you wore to death back then.
You were right about Doc Martens. They're brilliant. Treat yourself to a brand new pair of eight-hole Cherry Reds and stomp through A/W13. Leather backpacks, aka bagpacks? Turns out they were pretty nifty too, so check out Topshop and American Apparel for vintage versions. Some of your youthful fashion sense has finally been vindicated, so high-five yourself and fall back in love with old favourites.
3. DON'T be tempted by jelly shoes.
I know they were practical because you could spill cider over them with impunity, but by now you should trust yourself with garments that are not wipe-clean.
4. DO use this as an excuse to rewatch 90s shows on Netflix.
Buffy. Northern Exposure. Twin Peaks. Friends. Ally McBeal. Seinfeld. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Cheers. This Life. It's all officially fashion homework.
5. DON'T leave the house without checking you're wearing SOMETHING new.
While there's a fashion revival on, this is the equivalent of checking if you've got lipstick on your teeth. It doesn't need to be new-new. Just non-90s new. If you're going to wear a grungy sloppy sweater as dress (as model - and Jake Gyllenhaal-kisser - Alyssa Miller does above) then pair it with this season's ankle boots, not Doc Martens. Wear your Reebok hi-tops with high-waisted skinny jeans, not low-rise bootcut. And, regardless of what else you're wearing, remove that velvet scrunchie.
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