Last month, Beverly Hills 90210 celebrated the 25th anniversary of its premiere in 1990, and Lifetime even released a Beverly Hills 90210 biopic. I knew the show had its share of drama in front of the camera (I mean, who could forget Kelly almost dying in a fire?). But if you grew up on Beverly Hills 90210 like me, you didn't just have 10 seasons worth of dramatics. You had 10 seasons worth of outfit inspiration.
I was one of those kids who watched Beverly Hills 90210 but didn't really understand most of what was going on until I re-watched it as re-runs a decade later. The series was really more than a teen drama. The first few seasons dealt with things like losing your virginity, divorce, addiction, abusive relationships, and even suicide. Say what you want about 90210, but it went there.
It wasn't just the show's story lines that took risks, either. The characters were progressive with their sartorial choices as well. (I'm still disappointed that no one at my high school dressed like this.) Many of the character's styles are still reflected in today's trends. Donna Martin was a fashion designer, after all. From sheers to florals, Beverly Hills 90210 sums up everything I still love about '90s fashion. Here are 21 style lessons it can teach us.
1. Rompers Are The New Power Suit
The year 2015 saw a huge resurgence of rompers and jumpsuits, but the look on Kelly Taylor's face proves she won't let us forget who wore it first.
2. Haters Know Nothing About Floppy Hats
If you are going to wear floppy floral hats, you better have a really good way to defend the look to the haters.
3. Sunflower Print Is A Neutral
These are just two of the many sunflower print looks worn by Donna Martin. I'm not gonna lie though: If I could find them both today in plus sizes, you can bet I would be rocking 'em.
4. And A Sunflower Is The Best Accessory
A cheetah print romper/jumper paired with a giant sunflower makes a statement, and I am here for it. Who says you can't mix prints with a bold accessory? Donna Martin sure wasn't afraid to try it.
5. Crop Tops Can Be Cutesy
I can't remember Tiffani-Amber Thiessen's character Valerie Malone ever being anything but a total badass, but this crop top and jean short combo is totally reminiscent of the adorable Kelly Kapowski, also played by Thiessen.
6. You Can Wear A Bra As A Top
I just wore lingerie as outerwear for a week and a sports bra is my favorite crop top substitute, but I have to give a lot of credit to Donna here. Maybe this is why the love of bras as tops was embedded into my subconscious.
7. Menswear Is For Everyone
I am always in favor of playing with gender norms through fashion, and there's a lot to learn from Brenda's oversized button-down and tie look.
8. Americana Styles Can Be On Point
I know that something really dramatic was probably happening in this scene, but all I can focus on is this amazing Americana sweatshirt. I need it.
9. Overalls Can Be Chic
Overalls are one of those love-hate fashion items, right? But when they are in, they are in. Sure, they still get a lot of hate, but there are a lot of great ways to style overalls if you are bold enough. Not surprisingly, Donna Martin rocked them flawlessly.
10. Pleather Is Forever
I am sure there was a reason that Valerie was wearing this pleather corset, but all I know is that I would definitely sport it too. I'd like one in size fat, please.
11. Plain White Tees Are Your Besties
I never wear plain white tees, but looking at both Kelly and Brenda's looks here kind of inspires me to do so. The oversized sleeves rolled up and either knotted in the front or tucked into a high-waisted skirt take another traditionally menswear piece and flip it around.
12. And Color Is Your Pal
There was always a sophistication to the styles of the early Beverly Hills 90210 characters that seemed to age them beyond their years, but this look is totally '90s high school teen.
13. Chains Can Amp Up Any Outfit
I have a very personal connection to chain belts. Inspired by my love of '90s fashion, I have designed them for the past three years. I am partial to seeing Donna in this turtleneck crop top and chain belt, but it's just so obviously a stellar look.
14. Fringe-tastic Pieces Are Über Trendy
So, ASOS has a very similar jacket to this one on sale now. What more could one ever need?
15. Sheer Illusions Are Totes Sexy
OK: If you are thinking that these looks are straight out of the ASOS website, I promise they are legit '90s throwbacks. That sheer illusion look is being done on everything as of late, from bodysuits and jumpsuits to dresses and crop tops. Just know that Donna and Brenda did it first.
16. Beaded Netting Mustn't Be Left In The Past
Claire always had a way of speaking her mind, and sometimes she did so through fashion. This beaded net tank is totally something I can see myself rocking for the holidays.
17. Chokers Are The Only Necklace
If there are two principal lessons I hold onto from the later seasons of 90210, they are to trust no one and to wear a tube or halter top with a choker, always.
18. Turtlenecks Are Underrated
A ribbed sleeveless turtleneck? You can find a plethora of cute ribbed options on Boohoo today. Just make sure you also channel Valerie's sass.
19. The Fur X Leather Combo Is Perfection
I have a thing for faux fur this winter, OK? While there's really not much need for leather and faux fur in the 90210 district, that didn't stop Claire from rocking the looks anyway.
20. We Mustn't Ever Forget The '90s
Brenda's camel-colored blazer and oversized hat next to Kelly's sheer blouse with cutesy coloring really makes me wonder if this was actually taken in the '90s or in 2015.
21. Trends Are Cyclical
There's something awesomely dated about this photo, but if you've learned anything reading this, it's that you can expect to see more headbands, baggy high-waisted jeans, suspenders, and ruffle shirts in the future. I mean, if there's one thing you can count on in fashion, it's that it will repeat itself.
Here's hoping everything on this list repeats itself, for a long time to come.
Images: 90210 Productions (21)