1993 Fashion Trends: Grunge glam, rainbow stripes and laid back looks

3 different styles of outfits of 1993 fashion trends
Reading Time: 4 minutes

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Last Updated on May 13, 2022

Once upon a time, Anna Sui was a thing beyond the Asian market…Kate Moss was super young and Naomi Campbell fell on Vivienne Westwood’s runway.

To be honest, considering the height of those platforms it is quite miraculous that she didn’t break an ankle and fell quite as graciously as she did!

I know I’ve injured myself way worse on flat shoes…Anyhow, did you think 1993’s fashion trends were chill?

Think again!

Red carpet styles were on fire, turning heads and making headlines everywhere thanks to Celine Dion’s thong and Cindy’s bustier dress, and don’t even get me started on Fran’s wardrobe on the Nanny…

Read on for more 1993 fashion trends!


OTT-Glam courtesy of Fran Fine from ‘The Nanny’

I have such fond memories of watching ‘The Nanny’ on carefree evenings after school, sighing with longing as I gazed upon what I thought was the utmost example of style.

Fran Fine was my fashion hero. I loved her mini skirts with sheer tights and tight sweater combos, her big hair, her bright, structured blazers, her animal-print sets, and her moments of sequined black-tie glam. What I loved most was that Fran was brave and bold, and she had fun with her fashion! 

Try it: 

  • Try on a mini skirt and flared jacket set. Or, you may feel more comfortable in a midi-skirt suit with a longline blazer. Branch out with bright colors or even a print and see how it feels and looks. Just try it
  • In Fall/winter, throw an animal print jacket or faux fur-lined coat over high-waisted cropped black trousers and a fitted sweater
  • Tuck an animal print blouse into high-waisted jeans, curl your locks and throw on a headband 

Eclectic grunge-glam from the notorious Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis show 

Grunge fashion took the runway in 1993 when Marc Jacobs designed the Spring ready-to-wear collection for Perry Ellis. (Versace also grunged-up the runway, but in a more high-shine way). Marc Jacobs was brave and unabashed with this show, and like all excellent creative ventures, not everyone loved it. Pish posh. It was fantastic. 

There were ethereal looks, with Kate Moss in a marshmallow-pink slip and blazer, with loosely-tied boots. There was a taupe skirt set with a sleeveless jacket and Birkenstocks.

Tyra Banks wore an all-purple ensemble with velvet, print, and tie-dye, while Yasmin le Bon wore a plain black slip with chunky lace-up boots. There were plaid, florals, lace, unexpected layering, beanies, boots, and crochet.

Most importantly?

It was attainable for women then, and now

Try it: 

  • Take inspiration from the look Naomi Campbell wore: look for a merino, wool, or cashmere long-sleeved black maxi dress with a crew neck and body-hugging fit. Pair with Doc Martens or black lace-ups. Long-sleeved knit maxi dresses are so versatile and lend themselves to everything from work-wear to going out depending on the styling. The silhouette is sexy but the coverage brings it back  
  • Channel this pastel look by layering a long-sleeved top under a sleeveless vest with a knit maxi in contrasting pastel tones. Or, swap them for brights, black, or neutrals to suit your preference. Swap out the Converse for a more robust fashion-sport shoe such as Nike Roshe 

Get Inspired: Tory Burch vs Marc Jacobs: Which Brand Comes Out on Top?

Drew Barrymore’s disheveled jeans and a shirt on the cover of ‘Seventeen’

Drew Barrymore was a 90s teen hero, with her pillowy lips, carefree attitude, and sultry grunge style. Her ‘Seventeen’ magazine cover in May 1993 perfectly summed-up Drew’s casual style, and the just-woke-up look of 90s grunge youth fashion. She wore an oversized white shirt with open top buttons, blue jeans, bare feet, and hazy matte-nude makeup. 

Try it: 

  • Find a white linen shirt and size up. Tuck one side into your blue jeans and roll the sleeves up 
  • For 90s airport-chic add a black or deep brown leather belt and leather Chelsea boots or lace-up boots 
  • Swap the jeans for a column-style maxi skirt sitting on the hips and switch out the boots for Birkenstocks (inspired by Marc Jacobs for Perry Ellis)

Read: 15 Awesome 90s Female Fashion Icons (That Stand the Test of Time)

Rainbow stripes and grunge on Anna Sui’s Spring ‘93 Ready-to-Wear runway

Did you wear those colorful, striped knee-high socks that were all the rage in the 1990s? I sure as heck did. In fact, I got a pair from my best friend for my 10th (I think) birthday. But I digress. The rainbow stripe trend was seen in 1993 on the runway of Anna Sui’s Spring Ready-to-Wear collection. 

This colorful grunge show featured other 90s staples such as butterflies, platform shoes, bare midriffs, plaid, muted florals, Mandarin necklines, and beanies. This is an incredibly interesting show to pore over, fusing grunge with high-glamour details such as sequins and lace, and 60s/70s silhouettes such as flared trousers. 

Try it: 

  • Find a bias cut slip dress with spaghetti straps and layer with a sheer lace wrap cardigan and knee-high lace-up boots 
  • Accessorise with oversized flower brooches, embellished beanies, and metallic brown lipstick 
  • Pair a colorful horizontal-striped sweater with wide-leg jeans, black boots, and an open satin jacket with a Mandarin neckline. It may sound unappetizing, but sometimes the least obvious combinations are the best 

Winona Ryder’s Purple Velvet Slip Dress on a 1993 Red Carpet 

Winona was a grungy goddess in the 90s, wearing leather jackets, blue jeans, graphic tees, dark lipstick, and darker hair. She was also a champion of the roomy pantsuit, such as a baggy chocolate brown double-breasted ensemble, and a relaxed-fit black suit with a high-neck top. 

But it was a simple purple velvet slip dress that she wore on a 1993 red carpet that really caught our eye. The maxi slip dress in a witchy purple velvet had a low V-neck, straight cut that pooled slightly at the feet, and was worn (we think) braless.

Winona accessorized with the ultimate 90s addition, a black choker necklace with a silver pendant. Another perfect example of understated 90s red-carpet style. 

Try it:

  • Layer a loose, slouchy velvet midi dress with an oversized black leather jacket and flats or western boots 
  • Find a burn-out patterned velvet cowl-neck midi or maxi dress and pair with strappy heels and gauzy chiffon scarf 

Let’s Throwback: Our Choices of the Best 90s Dresses You can Still Buy Today

Kate Moss’s 1993 Naked Silver Dress 

Kate Moss, the impish beauty that shook the fashion world in the 90s (and ushered in the waif look) wore countless stellar looks. However, one particularly memorable moment was when she wore an ultra-sheer silver maxi slip dress with black briefs and no bra.

The dress was like liquid silver, with super thin straps, a low neckline, and floor-skimming bias-cut hemline. Kate’s stunning face was practically makeup-free, and her hair was casually swept back. She was the picture of youthfulness and carefree fun.

Try it:

  • Find an opaque silver satin or silk bias-cut spaghetti strap dress and wear with simple, understated flats, a barely-there makeup look, and messy hair. Aim for a juxtaposition of regal, opulent fabric with a grungy, “threw it together” approach

Read: The Insatiable List: “Big Six” 90s Supermodels