Top 15 Cringeworthy Fashion Trends from the 90s

There is no doubt that fashion is subjective and keeps changing with time. What is popular at one point of time can become outdated a while later. The 90s is a decade filled with nostalgia and reminds us of things like butterfly clips, slap bracelets etc. However, looking back, there were also several trends that would clearly be embarrassing if worn today. The fact that these were insanely popular at that point of time is surprising in itself.

Top 15 Cringeworthy Fashion Trends from the 90s

1. JNCO Jeans

Source: Mixmag

JNCO was a clothing company that surprisingly manufactured jeans until 2018. Their jeans had huge back pockets, graffiti like artwork and huge inseams, which could go up to 50 inches! They became relevant in the hip hop and skater subcultures and were extremely popular in the 90s.

2. Frosted Tips

Source: Maxim

This men’s hairstyle involved applying a lot of gel to the hair to create spikes, and then bleaching the tips so that the ends appeared blonde in contrast to the rest of the hair. It was everywhere in the 90s and the early 00s. A lot of celebrities including Zac Efron and Justin Timberlake also sported this haircut. This trend made a comeback recently, but it was short-lived, and for good reason.

3. Skirts over Trousers

Source: Marie Claire

At one point in time, the question of whether to wear skirts or pants could be decided by a simple answer: both. This questionable trend took off in the late 90s and became so popular that celebrities and band members also wore it on the red carpet.

4. Bowl Haircut

Source: Fun 107

This men’s haircut, along with its variation- the step cut was all the rage in the 90s. The closer the shave, the better it was. Most people got theirs cut at home, instead of going to a professional.

5. Blue Eyeshadow

With trends like this, makeup in the 90s was quite bizarre. Women often wore electric blue eyeshadow. To top it up, it was combined with striking red lipstick, which makes this even more questionable.

6. Popper Pants

Source: Pinterest

Also known as Popper Joggers or Button Ups, they were the definition of trendy in this decade. The brighter the stripe on the side, the more stylish they supposedly were.

7. Mullet

Source: Synfonic

A mullet consists of short hair in the front and long hair at the back. While this haircut first appeared in the 80s, it became extremely popular in the 90s. A lot of band members and singers such as Blake Shelton and Billy Ray Cyrus had one.

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8. Body Glitter

Source: Yahoo News Canada

Body glitter became very popular during this era, thanks to celebrities like Britney Spears. There were powders, gels and sprays containing glitter. The more you applied, the better it supposedly looked. The mess it made was not much of a concern, apparently.

9. Hypercolor T shirts

Source: Throwback

These were heat sensitive T-shirts that changed colour whenever there was a change in body temperature. This sounds very cool in theory which explains why they got so popular in the 90s. However, in reality, they created a lot of awkward moments because there would be different coloured patches due to sweat.

10. Bantu Knots


This is an African hairstyle that is also known as Zulu knots. It has been around for several years. However, with celebrities like Gwen Stefani and Bjork wearing it in the 90s, it was relabeled as “twisted mini buns” and became quite popular. With hairstyles such as dreadlocks and cornrows, this decade was full of cultural appropriation.

11. Tube Tops

Source: Rooster Magazine

Another trend that became popular thanks to Britney Spears, these were extremely tight fitting crop tops. In the past few years, they have made a comeback. However, these days tube tops are designed in a more sophisticated way and can be seen in various patterns.

12. Thin Eyebrows

Source: Throwbacks

This trend from the past is quite strange. The obsession with skinny eyebrows was everywhere. Women got their eyebrows done until the point that they could barely be seen. Even celebrities such as Drew Barrymore sported this look.

13. Dog Tags

Source: Fancy Dress and Party

This is another mysterious trend that became extremely popular somehow. People wore silver dog tag necklaces. The ones that were engraved were even more in demand.

14. Bondage Pants

Source: eBay

Those who were into the punk and goth subculture in the 90s are familiar with these pants that became quite trendy. These came in various patterns but they had lots of chains, buckels, straps and rings- hence the name.

15. Dark Lip Liner

Source: Entity Mag

While using a lip liner can make lips appear fuller and well defined, this trend just made lips look strange. Women, including celebrities such as Pamela Anderson, were often seen wearing dark lip liners with light lipstick.

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