90s Mom Fashion Trends and Styling Tips

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Young mum wearing neon windbreaker with child on back

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Let’s give a big shout out to all the 90s moms out there who kept us fed, sheltered, and loved at home, and entertained us on the TV screen each night.

Remember that shoulder-length haircut with rounded bangs and flicked-out ends? Or the chunky highlights and high, fluffy roots (looking at you, Aunt Becky)?

Bless my heart.

But today, we’re looking at the clothes, the glorious, mom-style 90s fashion getups. 

Mom Jeans, tucked-in blouse, and white sneakers

Celebrity inspiration: The classic SNL skit poked fun at the original 90s Mom style: Mom jeans with a leather belt, and a tucked-in polo shirt, blouse, or waistcoat. The jeans were blue, high-waisted, puffy around the hips, and gently tapered toward the ankle. Once worn by suburban Moms, now worn by big city supermodels such as Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid. 

Julia Roberts (not yet a Mom at the time, but we’ll let that slide) rocked this look in a fresher sense, with a plain white tee or blouse, open long-line cardigan or blazer, and Chelsea boots. Her tumbling curls and tiny sunglasses were the perfect edits. 

How-to: 

  • For a more flattering fit around the waist and behind, forgo the puffier jean for a tighter, more streamlined style in classic 90s blue. Add a brown or black leather belt and the Mom-jean aesthetic is preserved
  • Tuck a white linen blouse into your jeans, roll up the sleeves and add a pair of black leather Chelsea boots for 1990s-2020 street style
  • Try a tight turtleneck sweater tucked into classic Mom jeans, and hoop earrings (My Mom’s friend wore this look often in the 90s and I thought she was the epitome of style at the time)
  • Spice it up by pairing your MJ’s with a cropped tee or tank, or a cropped lace camisole like the one Kate Hudson wore as Penny Lane in ‘Almost Famous’ 

Maxi skirt, white turtleneck, and embroidered waistcoat

Celebrity inspiration: Member of the classic 90s TV Mom crew, Patricia Richardson from ‘Home Improvement’ served true Mom-style gems. One of her best looks was a straight maxi skirt with a white turtleneck (the thick, fleecy kind) and an embroidered waistcoat. The color palette was natural and earthy, with a hint of Phoebe Buffay-style hippie influence. 

How-to: 

  • Pair a silk high-waisted bias-cut midi or maxi skirt with a cropped turtleneck long-sleeved top or bodysuit 
  • Swap the skirt for a pair of floaty, wide-leg pants with a turtleneck tee and cropped embroidered waistcoat
  • Pay homage to 90s moms with sensible sneakers and white socks 

Sweater-set and smart trousers 

Celebrity inspiration: Patricia Heaton from ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ (that poor woman living with Ray all those years, eek, am I right?) was partial to the sweater-set. This consisted of a high-neck knit tank or tee with a matching cardigan worn with one button done up at the chest or clavicle. 

The colors were often jewel-toned and the look was paired with sensible black slacks or trousers. No-nonsense. Younger girls also wore the sweater-set, but in a midriff-baring style with jeweled embellishments or embroidery, and paired with denim midi-skirts. 

How-to: 

  • Juxtapose a smart sweater-set with ripped, distressed jeans and moto-boots
  • Go full 90s school dance with a sheer ¾ cardigan worn over a matching lined organza tank (if you’re lucky enough to find one) with classic black skinny jeans and heels 

High-waisted khaki slacks with a tucked-in gauzy blouse and cardigan

Celebrity inspiration: Vivian Banks (the original played by Janet Hubert) from ‘Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ was an absolute queen of glamour and smart style. When she wasn’t rocking shoulder-padded blazers and skirt suits she often wore puffy high-waisted khaki slacks (belted), with a printed blouse tucked in. Aunt Viv also layered her blouses with colorful cardigans (Coogi-style), or sharp-shouldered jackets. 

How-to: 

  • Linen is an excellent alternative to thick khaki fabrics if you want something lighter and more modern. Try a pair of linen cigarette trousers in a khaki green tone and tuck a white cotton shirt into the waistband 
  • Keep your go-to high-waisted jeans but wear with a silk, satin, or organza blouse in a floral print. Take it another step with a silk neck-tie 
  • Large clip-on gold earrings and bold blush are always welcome here 

Slacks or jodhpurs, a wide-shoulder blazer, high-neck tee, and Gucci loafers 

Celebrity inspiration: High-class Moms with a penchant for the finer things wore smart slacks (high on the waist, thanks), a shoulder-padded blazer, a high-necked tee, and authentic Gucci loafers. The ultra-fancy ones added a silk necktie and fluffy hairstyle. They took their inspiration from Ralph Lauren runways and campaigns, complete with the faux tan. Princess Diana wore this look like no other, with feathered short hair, sunglasses, and effortless elegance. 

How-to: 

  • Rough it up with distressed jeans and a low-cut V-neck tee with a wide-shoulder blazer and studded Western boots 
  • Take the equestrian lane with cream-colored fitted jeans, a fitted chambray tucked-in shirt, and a brown tweed blazer 

Denim dungarees, an oversized tee, and chunky sneakers

Celebrity inspiration: Cool Moms of the decade followed the styles of TLC and Aaliyah and chose denim dungarees layered with oversized tees or shirts for casual or weekend wear. Double points for frosted pink lipstick, blue mascara, and a scrunchie

How-to: 

  • Change it up with a denim boiler-suit or 70s-style long-sleeved jumpsuit worn with FILA sneakers 
  • Layer baggy denim overalls with a long-line cotton crop-top bra for a peek of skin and breezier layers for warmer seasons 

Theme park or holiday resort tee, Bermuda shorts, and TEVAs 

Celebrity inspiration: In classic 90s rom-com ‘Pretty Woman’, Julia Roberts wears rust-red Bermuda shorts, a matching jacket, and a silky blouse (after she has been “up-scaled” by Richard Gere). 

Many moms of the decade adopted these flouncy, pleated shorts but wore them with shapeless t-shirts with holiday resort or theme park logos, and sensible TEVA sandals. Comfort reigns supreme, right? I’m sure you’ve all got a photo lurking somewhere (hard copy, of course) of the family in neon board shorts, branded Summer tees, and sandals (I most certainly do).

How-to: 

  • Try a pair of Bermuda shorts or culotte shorts with an off-the-shoulder bodysuit or fitted tee and Adidas slides 
  • Pair a worn-out band tee with flippy Bermuda shorts or ¾ culottes, a leather belt, and leather mules 

Windbreaker tracksuits and sneakers 

Celebrity inspiration: The tracksuit has a varied past, becoming ultra-mainstream in the 00’s thanks to Juicy Couture, Britney, and Paris. In the 90s, the tracksuit was worn by everyone from hip-hop artists to moms who doubled as gymnastics or skating coaches after school. The windbreaker tracksuit in neon tones and graphic patterns was worn by all ages, from toddlers to Grandma’s walking group. 

How-to: 

  • Pick one or the other, the pants or the jacket, to avoid the costume party look 
  • Pair neon windbreaker track pants with a spaghetti-strap tank and chucks or Vans for weekend walks, housework, and TV-marathoning (minus the shoes)