It’s the things that look so utterly cool at the time that come off as so dated looking back. That’s the nature of trends, and the value of timelessness. The two aren’t mutually exclusive: you can always wear a trend in a way that suits you and with consideration to the timeless.

And so here we are talking about things that were once cool, and could we be doing that right now talking about any era but the ’90s? While they’ve been back on the radar for several years now, the neo-90s trend is still evolving. Here’s how to indulge in it as a fashion trend for spring 2014.

Click the thumbnails for full pictures
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14
Party like it's 1999: S/S '14

Things from the ’90s that have already had comebacks: grunge, floral skater dresses, culottes (or a descendent thereof), leggings, crop tops, velvet. Sure, there’s some blur between what we think of as ’80s and ’90s, as there is between any two decades, but 2014 is sweeping up those little elements of the latter that haven’t quite come back around as yet.

On the spring 2014 runways there were a few main sub-themes of 90s fashion.

Clueless ’90s

It’s impossible to overstate just how iconic the film Clueless was and is in the realm of 90s fashion. Alicia Silverstone in knee-high socks, tartan skirts and twin-sets: it may have been a satirical depiction of Beverly Hills teenage life, but it stuck. On the spring runways, those elements were back – given fresh new life.

Look out for:

  • Knitted twin sets, like Sister by Sibling’s pink gingham take.
  • School-girl chic with a nineties twist, like Ralph Lauren’s boldly printed floral ties, mini skirts and piped v-neck sweaters.

1990s clueless fashion
Clueless revived: at Ralph Lauren and Sister by Sibling, S/S ’14.

  • Platform shoes, knee-high socks and choker necklaces.
  • Block coloured mini shift dresses with matching sheer cardigans, a la Carven’s immaculate, 90s-meets-now take.

1990s clueless fashion
At Carven, S/S ’14.

Minimalist ’90s

And speaking of Clueless, you may recall these lines: “Mel: What the hell is that? Cher: A dress. Mel: Says who? Cher: Calvin Klein!” That little white, spaghetti strap dress covered with a matching sheer jacket. Ring any bells, Carven?

Calvin Klein’s brand of minimalism typified the ’90s: it was Kate Moss stepping out in those little barely-there slip dresses, it was clean white or simple black. To channel the 1990s think of the low necklines and easy cuts that draped off the era’s waif figures; for tailoring keep it a little relaxed and ultra simple.

90s minimalism spring 2014
The return of ’90s minimalism: at Preen & Theory, S/S ’14.

’90s glamour

There’s another ’90s theme which blurs far more heavily with the 1980s: it’s that particular brand of glamour that embraces heavy chain jewellery, off-shoulder cuts, boldness and gold lamé. Think of the slick hair, red lips and sexy dresses that made the ’90s supermodels burn into memory as the pinnacles of glamour.

Balmain was the biggest advocate of this 80s/90s glam: featuring overalls, gold chains, strong pinstripes and double-breasted cuts.

90s glamour fashion trend
90s glamour at Balmain, S/S ’14.

Grunge ’90s

’90s inspired fashion: the key elements.

The slip dress.

If you can indulge in one ’90s inspired piece and one only, there’s little question of which it should be in 2014: the slip dress. It can be sheer or opaque, floaty or fitted, short or long; just keep it simple, minimal, and opt for thin straps.

The slip dress in 2014 steers further from the grungy interpretation of the ’90s (sorry, Courtney Love). Rather than looking to vintage sleepwear for inspiration, look to chic, clean pieces. To get the most amount of wear out of your luxe slip dress, learn how to layer it – working it in with multiple sheer pieces as it was done on the runway at Theyskens’ Theory and Rag & Bone.

90s slip dress
The nineties inspired slip at Preen, Rag & Bone, and Theory, S/S ’14.

Floaty florals.

The florals of the ’90s have a particular look and feel. They’re lightweight, first and foremost, devoid of structure and sticking to a youthful mood. Floral dresses with ra-ra hemlines, or billowy culottes that trick the eye into believe they’re skirts, are as ’90s as they come.

floaty florals 90s
’90s inspired florals at Carven and Calla, S/S ’14.

Bold citrus colours.

When it comes to colour palette, it’s the soft pastels and monochrome shades that inspire the most – especially when it comes to the delicate slips and the minimal mini dresses. But if there’s another colour palette to consider, it’s the boldest of bold citrus hues. The 1990s were obsessed with them – tangerines, lemons and limes – and in matchy-matchy skirt suits and knee-high socks, Ralph Laurens spring 2014 ensembles screamed of those nineties summers.

citrus colours 90s
’90s citrus colours at Ralph Lauren, S/S ’14.

1990s fashion: more inspiration.

For plenty more inspiration on styling 1990s inspired clothing – including plenty of layering ideas – visit the gallery.

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