I might have only been a child in the '90s, but I still remember the year of 1996 — largely because the Spice Girls released their debut single “Wannabe” that summer, but also because it was a good year for style. From matching tracksuits to Clueless-inspired minis, the fashion trends of 1996 were so good that most, if not all, of them have made a comeback in 2016.
While Clueless technically came out in 1995, it wasn’t until the year after that the public got around to donning Cher-like attire. Mini skirts, knee-high socks, and cropped vests finally broke through the grunge scene. But no matter how hard Cher tried, '90s grunge had some serious staying power, as chokers, overalls, mini sunglasses, and scrunchies were among the hottest trends of the time. While some of these looked seemed destined for the trash bin (scrunchies, I’m looking at you), most of them have made it back into my daily wardrobe rotation thanks to the massive '90s revival that has taken over the 2016 sartorial scene.
If you are a fan of the '90s resurgence or just want to take a walk down memory lane, scroll down to see the 11 hottest trends from 20 years ago — all of which have exhibited tremendous longevity.
1. Slip Dresses
The slip dress was an evening-wear must in the '90s. Everyone from the Spice Girls to Kate Moss rocked a slinky slip dress back in '96.
If there is one accessory that defines the '90s and 1996 in particular, it has to be the choker. From beaded chokers via Liv Tyler to layered gothic ones à la The Craft, the choker was the necklace of choice in '96.
While we might like fitted overalls today, the teens of '96 preferred them big and baggy and styled with a backwards cap.
4. Matchy Minis
Pleated plaid minis à la Cher Horowitz as well as itsy bitsy denim ones were a mainstay 20 years ago.
5. Track Pants
The year 1996 knew how to do athleisure before it was even a thing. From Adidas track-pants and crop tops to slip dresses paired with sneakers, the year was responsible for making athletic-wear look cool.
Sweet, simple, and always in style, gingham and plaids were just a few of the must-have prints in '96.
7. One-Piece Swimsuits
One-piece swimsuits were all the rage 20 years ago, and come to think of it, they are all the rage right now as well.
This was the hairstyle of choice in '96 — that is, if you weren't rocking an awesome blow out like Cher H.
A headband atop your tresses was so 1996.
10. Mini Sunglasses
Round mini sunglasses were the go-to accessory that year.
Whether paired with a mini dress or a tracksuit, every fashionista in '96 rocked a sweatband.
The moral of the story here is that 20 years ago, well, the fashion was surprisingly similar to today's.