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It’s the mid-90s, 1995 to be exact. The O.J Simpson trial is taking over the world and ‘Toy Story’ is released (two very different cultural phenomena). Drew Barrymore is flashing David Letterman while dancing on a desk, and TLC’s timeless hit ‘Waterfalls’ is released to worldwide acclaim. ‘Friends’ is still going strong and is a household name.
There are no iPhones in sight and people are communicating via fax machine, payphone, and the long-lost landline with a curly cord. Most of us still did our homework using pens, paper, the library, and the old encyclopedias in our homes. ‘Twas a simpler time.
But what about the clothes? Good question.
The red carpets are looking glitzy. Liz Hurley is in a fully-beaded white gown and Madonna saunters in a lilac slip dress with gigantic feather boa at the Academy Awards. Cheryl Crow foreshadows the boho trend to wash over the early 00s at the Grammys, while Courtney Cox wore a choker, brown lipstick, and a satin dress at the Emmys (peak 90s).
Here are our favorite fashion moments and trends from the year 1995!
- Drew Barrymore’s Letterman Outfit (head to toe)
- Uma Thurman’s sweet, fresh Oscars dress
- Sheryl Crow’s blue velvet and red embroidery at the Grammys
- Latex, cinched waist, wide hips, suits, and fur on Mugler’s Fall Couture runway
- Marcia Clark’s smart suits and clip-on earrings during the O.J Simpson trial
Drew Barrymore’s Letterman Outfit (head to toe)
In 1995, Drew Barrymore was a guest on David Letterman. She famously jumped on Letterman’s desk, did a sexy dance, and flashed her bare chest for a scandalous second. What a joyous, cheeky moment that was.
But it’s her outfit we’re unpacking here, and it was 90s all over. She wore her signature flower in her pixie-cut hair, layered chokers, a cropped pale blue sweater, and low-slung bootcut pants with black boots. Her brows were thin, her skin was matte, and her lips were brown (a 90s makeup poem, if you will). Sexy-grunge at it’s finest.
- If low-slung pants that sit on or below the hip are just not for you (neither, not since I was 18) go for mid or high-rise jeans or cord trousers with a boot-cut or slight flare
- If your midriff is under tight wraps, swap the crop top for a bodysuit or a long-sleeved tee tucked into the front of the trouser waistband
- Deconstruct the look with a boot-cut, long-sleeved jumpsuit in soft velvet or cord, with a daisy in your hair and dark matte lips
Uma Thurman’s sweet, fresh Oscars dress
The mid-1990s was a time of such contrasting fashion. There was slept-in grunge, playful hip-hop style, and eclectic mish-mash (a la ‘Blossom’). There were tacky-glam animal print and faux fur, and there were smart suit jackets with cinched waists and matching mini skirts.
But then there was the minimal, clean, almost princess-like style seen on red carpets and at prom. It consisted of simple slip dresses with subtle glittering embellishments, gauzy wraps, matching earring and necklace sets, and sweet little heels.
Uma Thurman perfectly demonstrated this when she walked the red carpet at the 1995 Academy Awards (for ‘Pulp Fiction’). Her super pale lilac Prada dress draped over the body with floaty pleats at the hem, a simple scoop neck, and a silvery chiffon wrap.
This look was highly publicized and celebrated at the time, and it’s clear why. Uma looked understated yet achingly gorgeous. Feminine yet not frou-frou. Curated but not overdone.
- Look for a scoop or cowl-neck slip dress in a pale pastel shade. Midi or ankle-length slip dresses with a slight flare at the hemline are versatile for daywear as they can be layered with stockings, boots, cardigans, and coats
- For going out, take inspiration from the gauzy shawl by layering the dress with an embellished, lightweight cropped cardigan
- Matching bias-cut satin skirt and tank sets are equally as 90s but offer more outfit options as they can be mixed and matched
Sheryl Crow’s blue velvet and red embroidery at the Grammys
Sheryl Crow’s 1995 Grammy look has aged well. It was country, bohemian, eclectic, and full of texture. She wore deep-blue velvet bootcut trousers, red velvet boots, a white crochet top, and a gold jacket with intricate embroidery. Her curls were loose and bouncy and her face was fresh as a daisy. It had a little 70s, a little 60s, and a dash of old English regality.
- Trawl the stores for a pair of high-waisted, slim-leg velvet trousers and pair with a white linen shirt with a French tuck (one side tucked into the trousers)
- Pair an intricate, embroidered jacket with ripped light blue jeans, a simple white tank, and heeled Chelsea boots
- Take the whimsy a step further by layering your regal jacket with a ruffle-neck blouse and slim, cropped trousers in shimmering jacquard
Latex, cinched waist, wide hips, suits, and fur on Mugler’s Fall Couture runway
Now for the high-fashion runway, and we’re focusing on Mugler’s Fall 1995 Couture show. Kim Kardashian brought Mugler to the attention of the younger generation (or those who weren’t familiar) when she wore her “wet” Venus dress to the Met Gala last year (2019).
Mugler is known for structured silhouettes and high-tech fabrics, as demonstrated in this collection. Some of the models look like cut-throat Parisian business women (complete with cigarettes and cigars) about to break a billion-dollar deal. Others look like the evil queen going to the ball, with red velvet and satin, feathers, fur, animal print, and outrageous headdresses.
- Take inspiration from the rich jewel-tones in the collection by finding a winter wool coat in deep berry or teal, belting at the waist and wearing over a sheath dress with fishnets
- Try your hand at wearing a corset or bustier (one that doesn’t squish your organs, please!) with high-waisted trousers and heels for a night out
- Add a velvet cropped blazer with a faux-fur trim to workwear or going-out attire and create a sharp makeup look with thin brows, a defined cupid’s bow, and severe contouring. Turn heads? Absolutely.
Marcia Clark’s smart suits and clip-on earrings during the O.J Simpson trial
First of all, Marcia Clark is so much more than her clothing and her aesthetic. Of course, she is a brilliant and badass prosecutor, survivor, and author who holds her own. But, as fashion is the name of the game here today, let’s appreciate those snazzy courtroom threads she rocked during one of history’s most-watched cases.
- Look for a bright red suit jacket with contrasting lapels (just like Marcia’s classic pick) and wear open over a scoop-neck tank, with slimline cropped pants
- Find a structured blazer with wide shoulders and a cinched waist (or have it tailored so) and add a thin black leather belt around the waist. Contrast the professional direction with distressed jeans and ankle boots