90s Mom Fashion: 5 Quintessential Items of Clothing You Need (And How to Style)

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90s mom fashion trend a mother with baby

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Last Updated on June 30, 2021

The moms of Millennials and Gen Z were some of the leading fashion icons in the 90s, even though at the time it did not seem this way.

While their looks were not considered all that fashionable during the 90s, they are now highly in style and are praised as iconic. The majority of these women were hard workers, who attempted to look stylish in an effortless manner.

90s mom fashion is making a comeback. What was trendy in the 90s was one thing—and then, there was mom fashion.

The secret to their easygoing view at fashion:

Every mom is different, but there seems to be a pattern in what they wear. They tend to prefer comfort over style, yet 90s mom fashion trends are extremely fashionable and cool. They made unkempt and casual seem uncomplicated and sexy.

Throughout this guide, we will show you how you can achieve the 90s mom fashion look. It is much easier than you may think.

90s Mom Clothing Items (and How-to Style)

While there are endless stylistic trends from the 90s that are linked to mom fashion, there are a selected few that are the most iconic. These are what influencers are wearing, and they will transport you straight back to the 90s.

#1 Mom Jeans

Considered the most iconic garment from this stylistic trend, mom jeans were everything back in the 90s. Comfortable, functional, and highly stylish; these denim pants were the go-to everyday option of most moms in the 90s.

They are characterized for being high waisted, rising above the navel area, and giving you a flat behind. The majority of the denim of mom jeans was slightly faded, washed out blue color.

They were usually fitted, but not tight enough to be considered skinny jeans. They have recently made a huge comeback among celebrities and fashionistas. Kendall Jenner is often seen rocking her favorite pair of mom jeans.

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How to style?

  • Chunky sneakers
  • Plain white tee
  • Gold chain necklace
  • Your favorite sunglasses

#2 Oversized Leather Jackets

It’s no secret that leather jackets were a big trend from the 70s all the way up to the 90s. They formed part of the grunge fashion aesthetic, but are also highly characteristic of mom fashion.

Leather jackets are a great way to style any outfit and look effortlessly chic while doing so. You can wear them on over tees, blouses, denim, dresses—the list goes on. These were favorited by many iconic 90s moms because of their comfortable yet stylish appeal.

During the Fall and Winter months they were the perfect addition to any outfit for warmth and style. Style icon and model Hailey Bieber is often photographed wearing 90s mom fashion with a reminiscent leather jacket.

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How to style?

There is no wrong way to style a leather jacket. However, try slipping one around your shoulders the next time you wear a dress and heels. It will combine the feminine with a hint of edginess; what 90s mom fashion was all about.

#3 Cardigans

Cardigans were one of the most subtly yet sexy trends from 90s mom fashion. During this decade, many moms opted for wearing them with no shirt underneath—essentially converting the cardigans into button up blouses.

This trend was refreshing and very different from trends seen in the past. Katie Holmes was photographed wearing a cardigan as a blouse—and broke the internet doing so. Fans became obsessed with the trend, which is now commonly seen.

How to style?

To recreate this trend, choose your favorite cardigan from your mom’s sweater—but make sure it includes buttons. Simply put on a pair of form fitting trousers, and button up the cardigan ¾ way.

This will create the comfy, effortless, and very sexy cardigan effect from the popular 90s trend.

#4 Plastic Claw Hair Clips

Plastic hair clips were all the rage in 90s mom fashion. They came in all shapes and sizes, but large ones were the most common. Moms are always busy and running around. Claw clips are a quick solution for a messy updo that ends up looking surprisingly stylish.

Bella Hadid is famous for her 90s nostalgia inspired style. She often replicates mom trends from the 90s. Bella’s go-to hairstyle on the run is combing it back and keeping it out of her face with a claw hair clip.

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How to style?

Replicating this style is easy. Comb out your hair, and part it in the middle. Then gently gather it at your nape, and twist up as if you were creating a bun. Once this is done, you can attach the claw clip to hold it together.

This a quick fix if you have dirty hair and are in a rush—no one will notice. These claw clips from Revlon are the ideal option and solution for this trendy hair accessory.

#5 Biker shorts

Biker shorts were the ultimate athleisure trend of the 90s mom style. Worn under hoodies, sweatshirts, and loose tops, they were the ultimate sporty garment that could double for running errands.

Lady Diana Spencer is on the biggest 90s fashion mom icons, and she was seen sporting this trend on the regular. Even the princess of Wales wore biker shorts, and so should you!

Easiest way to style them?

Currently, celebrity moms like Kim Kardashian are taking on the biker shorts trend from the 90s. To recreate this aesthetic, purchase a pair of biker shorts in a solid color; avoid any printed versions. Next, pair with an oversized sweatshirt.

Complete the look with your favorite sneakers, above the ankle socks, and accessorize with a baseball cap. These Nike biker shorts are very similar to the ones worn throughout the 90s.

90s Mom Outfit Ideas by Season

When considering outfits for the seasons, Lady Diana Spencer was the ultimate style icon. She is said to have changed fashion in ways that no other woman of her position could.

She was iconic for many reasons, and fashion is just one of them. Her outfits throughout the decade are the seasonal inspiration we need to analyze moms 90s fashion:

Summer

A typical 90s mom fashion outfit appropriate for summer shows plenty of skin. The 90s were laidback and casual—with moms’ fashion being no exception. An ideal summer outfit would include:

  • Your favorite pair of mom jeans
  • White button up blouse (unbuttoned) tucked inside
  • Brown leather belt cinching your waist
  • Ballerina flats

You could also switch the blouse for a tank top. Don’t forget the most important part—oval shaped black sunglasses. This style of look is refreshing and ideal for summer weather, while still being elegant and effortlessly stylish.

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Spring

Fashion drastically changes from summer to spring, and 90s mom trends proved this. During the springtime, and ideal look would include:

  • Pair of cigarette style checkered pants
  • Light sweater on top
  • Slip on loafers

This look is perfect for a casual outing, lunch with friends, or for taking a stroll. By incorporating bright colors, such as red or yellow, this look will be even more in theme with spring. It is comfortable, adaptable to slightly colder weather, but also light.

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Fall

Fall weather is much colder than summer and spring—and calls for a drastic change in wardrobe. Business moms from the 90s are our ultimate inspiration for fall fashion. They made a suit jacket and pants look highly chic.

A beige blazer, tailored yet loosely fitted, along with a pair of beige pleated dress pants are the ideal fall 90s mom fashion look. Finish off the outfit with a pair of pointy kitten hills for the optimal mom effect.

Winter

Winter fashion looks require much heavier fabrics. For an easy yet eye catching style aesthetic, choosy a boxy plaid blazer. Pair with a thick turtleneck top, and with whichever bottoms you prefer.

For skirts, choose the same print as the blazer, and pair with elegant black tights. For a more casual everyday look, pair with your favorite jeans or black pleated pants.

Recommended Reading: 17 Outfit Ideas to To Get That Preppy Style

Celebrity Inspiration Section

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)

What’s your favorite 90s mom look? Let us know in the comments below!