There was a time when chunky highlights reigned supreme and baggy clothes were an active part of runways and red carpets. For ’90s fashion girls, that day has returned because what was once considered outdated has quickly become cool again. The return of fashion trends from the 1990s has forced all of us to go back to our former teen closets (or more likely, those boxed-up items your parents tossed in the attic!) to see if we left something behind worth seeing the light of day again. And while we may be quick to roll an eye at Gen Z for reviving bucket hats, chunky shoes and khakis, it’s essential that we take a moment to commemorate our history and give thanks to the birth of the trends we never thought we’d meet again. In this walk down memory lane, we’re reliving the fashion of all-girl groups that spanned the decade.
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Destiny’s Child and their matching attire
Let’s get the most obvious trend out of the way, shall we? It doesn’t really matter which Destiny’s Child lineup you prefer because the matching outfits will always prevail. But, back in the '90s, we rarely witnessed Destiny’s Child without coordinated outfits. For the most part, the all-girl R&B group relied on Beyoncé's mum, Tina Knowles, to create their show-stopping looks. Some of the more memorable highlights include the overuse (depending on who you ask) of sequins, embellishments a-plenty, asymmetric hemlines, conflicting textures, and lots of colours!
Atomic Kitten may not have a pile of songs that continue to stream in your mind, but their debut hair colours are quite memorable. Highlights have always been on-trend, taking various shapes and always evolving in terms of application and technique. During the '90s, chunky highlights were all the rage, and placement was a particular art form in itself. These gals nailed the look with blonde chunks artfully placed so they could cascade their long locks without so much as a flinch.
The Spice Girls’ mix-and-match colours and patterns
Our beloved Spice Girls are truly the poster women for what was hot and what was not during the era that defined them. From platform shoes to over-the-top hairstyles and accessories and a nearly endless array of form-fitting dresses, what really made this all-girl group stand out the most during the '90s was their wide range of colour palettes and patterns. Often paired together in one look, they were sometimes worn to complement each others' stage presences. These ladies made metallics, satin, lace and latex look like it was easy to wear and expressed themselves in every shade of colour possible (unless you were Posh and could only rely on your little black Gucci dress). It should go without saying that these fashion statements projected a certain type of confidence that helped boost us all into a constant state of spicing up our life.
Athleisure made its comeback well before the '90s look came back in fashion, and no all-girl group did this look better than All Saints. It seems they had it all: puffer vests, cargo pants, track pants, tees, ball caps — anything that requires little effort but a heck of a lot of payoff. The band may not have stood the test of time, but never have we ever felt so inclined to wear our gym clothes as everyday wear before these four women showed us the way.
The Chicks’ piece-y strands and tiny hair accessories
Before The Chicks (formally known as Dixie Chicks) were banned from country radio and shunned by the industry for speaking out against former President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, they enjoyed a much less aggressive approach to their presence. When they first came on the scene, The Chicks expressed themselves through a variety of adorable hair-dos that often consisted of piece-y strands adorned with accessories synonymous with the '90s, including butterfly clips, metal hair beads, crown-inspired headbands and more. Their new lease on life has them rocking some edgier looks today, but if they ever wanted to bring back these specific hairstyles, we’d greet them with wide open arms.
The power of En Vogue is palpable even today. They are known as one of the most successful girl groups of all time, and they came on the scene well before the manufactured pop machines took over. The group's take on fashion always hit a high note, but here, in particular, we want to pay homage when they were adding pops of colour to their strands long before fast fashion stores began stocking shelves with neon clip-ins.
We’re going to excuse the fact that Courtney Love’s band Hole included a dude, mostly because we simply cannot skip over this important part of fashion history. The truth is, '90s girl grunge fashion was all the rage through the decade, and Hole was the epitome of grunge throughout the entirety of their career. Whether it was ripped lace, ragged plaid or clothes that straight up had stains on them — Love and her bandmates defined a look that would continue to find its way in the decades to follow.
Irish girl group B*Witched may not have fully formed their fame in North America, but they did gift us with a fashion staple that has yet to leave us entirely, and that is denim on denim. (Are we sure they aren't Canadian?) At this point in time, wearing a denim jacket with denim jeans, usually in the same wash, was an intentional look that didn’t let your skin breathe, but damn, did you look good. The denim on denim trend, known to many as the “Canadian tuxedo,” has not lost its appeal, and when done well, it can make you stand out in a crowd the right way.
It was at the start of the '90s when TLC hit the airwaves. It was also around this time that hip-hop fashion girls were placing their vote for comfort over anything else. In fact, the '90s really encouraged a more relaxed state of fashion overall, and with that came the onslaught of oversized clothing items that could be tucked, tied, cut or left to hang and not a soul around would question your ability to look as comfortable as you felt. TLC embraced this look with ease and was never afraid to incorporate their own unique touch.
We’re really pushing into the '00s with this one, but we couldn’t let you go without mentioning another fashion trend that has yet to see the end — graphic tees. Sugababes, in many ways, never really found a style to call their own, but they did embrace graphic tees just as the fad was creeping its way into a new decade. So while we may have upgraded our take on the graphic tee since then, we must show respect to the past — and here it is in screaming metallic colours.