Every era has its fashion disasters, ones so bad they’re rather magnificent. I’m a child of the 90s, a golden age when boy and girl bands ruled the world and fashion was fearlessly ugly. Here are my favourite 90s fashion disasters – shout out to J. Timberlake!
1. Monstrous Kickers
As a person of diminutive stature, I’m particularly wistful for the Kickers days. Anyone who was anyone wore these bad boys to school. One inch of rubber? How about four? The bigger the heel, the more status was conferred – the 90s high school equivalent of peacocking.
Constructed from rubber presumably now re-purposed for a small fleet of monster trucks, an army of ants could be squashed with just one step in these Killer. Heels.
Not even sure I should call Kickers a fashion disaster.
2. A Wardrobe Full Of Tammy
Tammy, Tammy, Tammy. How I miss thee. You were there when I purchased my first pair of formless skater jeans, a beloved glitter-tastic catsuit and other totems worshipped with the same fervour I normally reserved for TLC and the Spice Girls.
Littered with profound philosophical insights such as “I may be a princess but I still love football,” any serious exhibition exploring the capitalist co-option of feminist sentiment should feature a couple of Tammy artefacts.
3. The Magic Bubble/Popcorn Top
I believe the USP of this creation was its alleged shape-shifting ability. Doll-size at first glance, the bobbly fabric was meant to expand upon wearing, except it kind of didn’t.
I have several traumatic memories of wearing these brightly coloured sausage skins on boiling family holidays, the hem endlessly riding up as I desperately pulled it down, somewhat akin to the humble yo-yo- whoa, additional/effortless 90s reference there!
4. Couple Co-Ords
The coordinated couple is one of my most missed 90s fashion disaster spectacles.
Ok, so there’s clearly some strange Freudian undercurrent afoot when you start dressing like the mirror image of your lover, but there’s also something brilliantly brazen about it. What better way to announce your love to the world than to dress like matching sexy assassins? See below.
5. Patchwork Denim
A 90s fashion disaster I hoped would remain buried forever, until I saw these jeans. Pair them with a simple white vest, tousled hair and damn- I digress. That being said, back in the day I did own several bizarre, patchwork skirts which would’ve been better utilised as cosy wall hangings or tablecloths.
The patchwork look enabled the wearer to enjoy multiple shades of denim in a single outing: acid; indigo; mid-blue; white – the denim world was your oyster. Sigh.
6. Tiny Tinted Sunglasses
One of the least flattering 90s fashion disasters, I partook via a pair of rimless pink rectangles studded with diamante flourishes. They blocked out about 1% of the piercing sunlight, but you know what? I think I’d wear them even now.
Fashion is often technically impractical, offering little protection against the elements. Who cares? It’s meant to be fun! To all you 90s kids out there who still hold a yin yang lighter to small and colourful specs, I salute you.
7. Elaborate Combat Trousers
Flares, mom jeans, these terms are now in common fashion parlance. But…combat trousers. A 90s throwback we don’t speak of too often, and for good reason.
They’re hard to find online, quite possibly due to the fact that the majority have been used as fuel for bonfires across the world or hidden in the darkest corners of Etsy. To qualify, they must have random tassels, pouchy pockets and zero tailoring. Chain skater-style belt optional.