I just read a post from buzzfeed.com on my Facebook feed, that, like so many other things nowadays, made me nostalgic for my youth-http://www.buzzfeed.com/leonoraepstein/things-teen-girls-wore-in-the-winter-of-1996
When I turned 13 in May of 1994, Kurt Cobain had just committed suicide, Ethan Hawke and Stephen Dorff were Hollywood’s pretty boys, the economy was booming under President Clinton, and bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Green Day dominated the airwaves. No one except rich businesspeople had a cell phone, and Facebook was more than a decade away.
“Grunge” wasn’t just a musical movement. Teenaged apathy reigned, and boys and girls alike weren’t about dressing to impress. Flannel shirts, ripped jeans, army jackets and Converse sneakers were everywhere, and the cool kids paid $2 for an original Adidas shirt at the Salvation Army rather than spending $50 on a designer sweater at the mall. The understated grunge look was a startling contrast to the pastels, huge shoulder pads, and oversized earrings of the 80s.
As a teenager, I loved this mix-and-match kind of fashion–combat boots with floral dresses, bodysuits with ripped jeans, large chokers, and flannel shirts with, well-everything. I borrowed my dad’s oversized shirts and would ride my bike to the Disabled American Veterans thrift store in search of Izod Lacoste sweaters and vintage ringer Ts. Pants and sweaters were baggy back in the 90s; backpacks were tiny. I read Sassy, Young and Modern, and Seventeen magazines religiously, watched the movie Clueless so often I nearly wore the VHS tape out, and wanted to be an “it” girl like Drew Barrymore. I’m still mad they cancelled My So-Called Life after one season.
Now, tight clothing is all the rage. Teenaged girls of all shapes and sizes wear skinny jeans, off-the-shoulder neon tops, spike-heeled boots, and leopard-print leggings. Some 80s fashion, like the New Wave tailored look of straight lines and lots of red and black, was cool, but for some reason, fashion designers have resurrected the worst of the 80s. I rarely buy new clothes because everything just seems tacky and cheaply made. Even though designers have tried to bring 90s fashion back as well, girls just don’t look comfortable, like they did in 1996.
Maybe I’m just getting old, but I wouldn’t trade my secondhand Doc Martens, loose corduroys, and oversized zip-up sweatshirts for anything. Every time I go to a Goodwill or Salvation Army, I search for a Baja pullover, striped skater sweater, or another 90s fashion gem.