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15 ‘Ugly’ ’90s Fashion Trends Making A Comeback

Platform sneakers, flannel shirts, and more.

See the top five “ugly” trends from the ‘90s that you’re going to want to add to your wardrobe this ...
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The biggest ‘ugly’ ’90s fashion trends were all about grunge. Footwear and accessories were chunkier, denim was slouchier, flannels were oversized, and hair was pulled back with a scrunchie.

And while you may have thought those trends were nestled comfortably in the past, you couldn’t be more wrong. From platform sneakers to oversize plaid, the ugliest ’90s trends are back, but with a more tailored, sophisticated twist. These reimagined ’90s trends are both a nod to the retro decade and a hint toward the future.

One way to reimagine the most popular retro trends? Start with how you style them. Instead of wearing your JNCO-style jeans with a grungy oversized plaid shirt, consider teaming the denim with a sleeker bodysuit. Into the oversize flannel top look? Pair it with bike shorts or a denim skirt for a chic contrast.

And throw on accessories with abandon. Whether platform sneakers or grown-up jelly sandals, your shoes are an easy way to dip your toe into the “ugly” trends of yore. For a really low-stakes take on ’90s trends, throw a scrunchie in your hair, whether you’re wearing a T-shirt and denim, or a slinky slip dress.

Ahead, find the top “ugly” trends from the ’90s that you’re going to want to add to your wardrobe this year and beyond.

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1

Wide-Leg Jeans

When flares just aren’t enough, reach back into the archives and slip into a slouchier pair of wide-leg jeans. Think JNCO status. Top them with a slim bodysuit or classic white tee to balance out the proportions and you’ll feel like you’ve traveled back in time.

2

Bucket Hats

If you haven’t rocked one of these since ’99, it’s time to rediscover the casual coolness of bucket hats. For a relaxed, hanging-at-home look, pair this colorful style with cozy sweats and white sneakers. Going out? Slip into a little black dress and platform sandals.

3

Oversized Plaid Shirt

One of the mainstays of the grunge era is an oversized plaid flannel shirt. Keep it open and layer it like a jacket — or, rather, shacket. For this season, try pairing it with more sleek styling pieces, like bike shorts or skinny jeans.

4

Scrunchies

The only appropriate accessory to wear with that high ponytail is a scrunchie, right? Right. Elevate the stretchy jersey style by choosing scrunchies made of luxe velvet, silk, whimsical prints, or even leather.

5

Platform Boots

Whether you opt for high top or low top, chunky or sleek, platform boots are a fun way up the ante on every look this season.

6

Overalls

Paging your inner child: When was the last time you spent an afternoon going down slides and hanging from monkey bars? These distressed denim overalls have recess vibes written all over them. They’ll go from the park to the post office (hey, you are technically an adult) with ease.

7

Skorts

Justice for the skort! This nostalgic style doesn’t get nearly enough love or appreciation. It’s truly the best of both worlds. Plus, this neutral hue works well with other muted tones and textures.

8

Tinted Sunglasses

Black lenses are so 2021. Right now, shades with tinted lenses are a celebrity favorite. Whether you’re going for fiery red, neon yellow, or cool blue, the key is to add some color to your world — literally.

9

Lace-Up Tops

Looking for a top that’s effortless without trying too hard? Enter the lace-up sweater, which can work for just about any occasion. Pair with denim for date night or with a pencil skirt for your next networking event.

10

Grown-Up Jelly Sandals

Remember the jellies of your childhood? Well, they’re back, but they have an elevated air to them. Channel your favorite strappy sandals and go for a PVC version with youthful whimsicality, whether you’re wearing denim cutoffs or after-hours mini dresses.

11

Cowl-Neck Silks

The loosely gathered cowl neck was all the rage in the ’90s, whether it was featured on the front or back of your look. Well, with the rise of slip dresses and “going-out tops” as of late, cowl necks are back and better than ever.

12

Boxy Cardigans

Boxy cardigans were worn with everything from high-waisted skirts to mom jeans in the ’90s, and they’re huge in the current fashion lexicon as well. A 2022 twist? Button them up to the top and wear them with no layer underneath for a flirty take on the trend.

13

Sweater Vests

If the layered look is your thing, sweater vests are coming back with fervor for the current season. Yes, the sweater vest your Dad used to wear. Go cropped with a longer shirt underneath, or layer an oversized style over a fitted top.

14

Lug Soles

When it comes to this ubiquitous ’90s footwear trend, the chunkier, the better. Go for lace-ups, or Chelsea boots — as long as they have a heavy black rubber sole.

15

Cargo Pants

That’s right: the pant trend that you cringed over your father wearing when you were little is here again — and it’s cool now. Embrace a utilitarian vibe with a pair of cargo pants that you can style with sneakers or pumps.

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