There are some fashion trends that belong firmly in the past. Wraparound sunglasses, pedal-pusher pants and virtually anything that Scary Spice wore on tour in the late ’90s are excellent examples of this.
And then there are those fashion perennials that never date: trench coats, a crisp white shirt, a cashmere sweater.
But what about the pieces in between? The ones that went out of style years ago but are now slowly inching back into fashion? Can you really dust these pieces off and give them another whirl around the sartorial block? To find out, we asked a fashion influencer, a writer and a stylist to revisit the looks they once loved.
Styling by Tara Morris
The Bum Bag, Jamie-Lee Burns of Mademoiselle Jamie
My first memory of wearing bum bags was back in 1994. I was six, and I had a hot pink and white bum bag that matched the basket on my bike. Unironically, I wore mine belted at the waist and paired with a bright, oversized tee, loose-fitting shorts and “dad sneakers”. (Which, now that I come to think of it, would be a perfectly reasonable look in parts of Surry Hills today.)
These days, I’m pretty selective about which trends I buy into: my style tends to be minimalist with a focus on timeless staples.
But I’ve been keen to dip my toes back into that ’90s look and this seemed like the most practical trend to try. Plus, I loved the idea of juxtaposing a street-style element with the classic aesthetic of my wardrobe.
To keep it simple, I went with a basic black leatherette bum bag, which I’ve been wearing slung across my body and, surprisingly, I don’t hate it… I can easily go hands-free – perfect for walking the dog – and I like the edgy laid-back vibe it gives to my outfits.
To avoid looking like you’ve borrowed something from your dad’s wardrobe circa 1990, I’d stick to bum bags in neutral tones rather than bright colours. I’d also wear it cinched at the waist over a blazer or, worn cross-body, with a slouchy sweater and tailored coat. It may not have the high-vis energy of my 1994 bum bag, but the grown-up version is still just as fun.
The Linen Look
Back in the ’90s, linen was it. Remember? Everyone wore oversized linen shirts tied at the waist, as well as linen blazers, mid-length shifts and button-up day dresses. Rachel from Friends – the epitome of ’90s style – had all-linen everything on high rotation.
As a teenager, my mum’s friend Barbara would custom make linen dresses and two-piece sets for me to wear all summer long. They were cute, boxy and practical. But at the time, I didn’t appreciate my mum’s fashion prowess.
I am very much on board with the resurgence of linen in 2019, a trend that has seemingly grown up a lot since the ’90s. No longer strictly the preserve of day wear, linen is dressier and more sophisticated than it once was. These high-waisted linen trousers by Assembly Label could easily pass as evening-wear, while this Zara tie-up blouse is elevated by the details. Rachel Green eat your heart out.
The Long Skirt – Tara Morris, stylist
A long satin skirt is really the combination of not one but two ’90s trends – the maxi skirt and the satin slip. As a teenager I loved both.
I owned several long skirts – a thick, black shiny one, as well as several ditsy floral print skirts from Just Jeans and Sportsgirl (identical versions of which could probably be found in nearly every Australian teenage girl’s wardrobe). They were versatile pieces back then – able to be dressed down or up – just as they are today.
I love this Georgia Alice skirt, which has a soft metallic sheen and, like most modern versions of the maxi skirt, a sleek, feminine silhouette. Pair it with a top that sits just on the waist-band, like this Ganni one, and you’re ready to go.