The suburban mall was often the epicenter of fashion for so many '90s and '00s kids. It was also a surprising style hub for some up and coming celebrities who were slowly but surely developing their images. Mandy Moore shopped at Wet Seal and other mall retailers for her performance clothes in the '90s, according to a new interview with InStyle. TheThis Is Us actor and singer also revealed why she isn't sorry for her "cringey" looks from that era and during her teens.
Moore has become quite a stylish star who usually looks amazing whenever she steps foot onto a red carpet — her black 2018 Golden Globes gown with the red sash is one instance of such. However, she has a keen sense of perspective when reminiscing about her formative fashion years. "You look back and kind of cringe at those days," she told InStyle. "But I have some compassion for my younger self and recognize that that's what everybody was wearing at 15 and 16 back in those days."
Moore's attitude about her '90s style and fashion evolution is refreshing. It reminds you that most people, famous or not, experiment with various clothes, trends, and looks while in their teens. It's all a part of the continuous process of cultivating personal style. And there is absolutely no reason to apologize for it. She was merely rocking the looks that were popular and accessible to her at the time.
Moore also shared exactly where and how she shopped for clothes back in the day. Some of her go-to stores were likely your high school faves, too. She was a fan of "Abercrombie cargos and Nine West heels" during this period. She also adopted an easy-going approach when cruising the mall. "I had no idea about fashion and being fashionable," Moore said to InStyle. "I just loved any excuse to get to the mall and go to Wet Seal and find what I was going to wear on stage or something."
Wet Seal was a trendy store that specialized in clothing and accessories for teens and twenty-somethings. It eventually closed all of its physical locations and went into bankruptcy. The brand relaunched in 2017 as an online fast fashion retailer that drops new styles every week.
Moore isn't the only A-lister who looked to mall boutiques for inspiration and clothes while her star was on the rise. Actor Blake Lively has long been celebrated for her glamorous style and is known for slaying Gucci and Verasce looks. However, she has been vocal about the fact that she used to wear Forever 21 at red carpets in the '00s.
"I wore Forever 21 much longer than I admitted," Lively told InStyle a few months ago. "I just started saying it was vintage because I was so shamed for it." While no one should ever shame anyone else for their clothing choices, Lively put a creative spin on the fact that she was wearing a bargain brand to Hollywood events.
While Moore's style has changed over time, she sure has the right point of view when looking back on her fashion past.