35 Jacket Trends of the 90s: When Outerwear Was “Out There”

Sharon Stone and Mariah Carey wearing 90s jackets
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Last Updated on March 3, 2022

If you know anything about me – and why the hell would you? I’m a complete stranger – you know that I love coats and jackets. LOVE. I am the one person in the world who enjoys British weather, because we get to wear coats and jackets. 

Well, lucky me, the 90s regaled us with a vast array of different jackets in styles and colours and fabrics – some of which are coming back with a vengeance. Would I rather some of them stay buried in whatever attic they came from? YEP. 

But I’m afraid the 90s resurgence is well and truly underway now, including all its faux fur and windbreaker glory, so take shelter. See you all on the other side. 

Bomber jacket

Gotta admit – I hate this one, but I’m going to try not to let my mild dislike for this garment to cloud my judgement. Because let’s face it, bomber jackets are hopping right now, in both men’s and women’s fashion. 

More importantly, compared to the bomber jackets we used to wear, they now come in every style and fabric imaginable. The satin printed jackets are particularly interesting and expensive-looking, but you can play around with other styling aspects, as well. 

Denim jacket

As always, denim is the king and queen of everything, especially in the 90s, so we gotta talk about denim jackets. The memories I’ve got of denim jackets from back in the day is that they used to be pretty useless in terms of the warmth they provided, but they were fAsHiOn, MOM! 

Anyway, the denim jackets the kids have today are a bit different, cause they’re very “dad jackets”, aren’t they? Oversized and acid washed, they’re way cooler than the lame Canadian tuxedo I used to rock back then. 

Tommy jacket

Branding was huge in the 90s, in a way that became very tacky afterwards and is slowly coming back into fashion. And back then, it was ALL about the Tommy Hilfiger jackets. Tommy is still a respected brand and all, but not quite to the standard it used to be.

This is the type of stuff that separated the “cool” kids in high-school from everyone else – they had the Tommy jacket celebrities did. Will you be surprised to hear I never had one.

Read: Why Tommy Hilfiger is a Must-Know 90s Brand

Windbreaker jacket 

I almost feel like I’m cheating with this one, because windbreakers are soooo 80s, but in reality, I can distinctly remember the windbreakers I used to wear in the 90s. Of course, looking at them objectively, now – they’re garish and hideous.

But that’s sort of the appeal, isn’t it?They’re loud and patterned and colourful, which really brightens up a gloomy, windy day. Not to mention the comfort and practicality and the fact that you can wear the most basic outfit underneath; wouldn’t want to compete with the jacket. 

Kappa jacket

Remember Kappa? I bet your mom sure does, and that you used to BEG her to get you one. It’s one of those “cool” sporty brands that dominated the 90s and maybe it’s…20 to 30 years too late, but damn it, we can have those jackets now.

Take THAT, Stacy, I can be popular, too! You get bonus points if you’re able to get a genuine vintage one from the 90s and not just one in that same style. 

Winter jackets 

Of course, this is broad – winter jackets come in all shapes, sizes, styles, and materials, so we could be talking about anything. And we will. This past season saw the return in fashion of winter jackets that are actually WARM. 

Faux fur, puffers, parkas, even those insane sleeping bag jackets – they are all welcome and they’re keeping us from freezing our butts off. The bigger the coat, the smaller what’s underneath can be, which I suspect is where the trend is coming from, in reality. 

Wind jacket

The thing with 90s fashion is that lipgloss was in, which was a pain you know where because all your hair got stuck to your mouth. Windy conditions call for appropriate attire, and that includes a wind jacket. Yes, they are ugly as sin, but so is your mom!

No, I’m kidding, and maybe “your mom” jokes are inappropriate, although they are so very 90s.  Anyway, the wind jacket is not my fave, but it can be yours. I won’t judge you (too harshly). 

Track jacket

Okay, but you don’t really do sports – that’s SO 2018. Whatever, gal, that doesn’t mean you can’t wear a track jacket ironically. That is the fashion secret that is going to set you free – is it ugly? Tacky? Weather-inappropriate? It’s fine, I’m wearing it ironically

That works for track jackets, but don’t try that mess with cultural appropriation-y stuff, because that’s not freaking cool, ok?

Rave jacket

You’re all probably too young to have gone to raves, or even know what a rave is, possibly, but all you need to know is that there’s music and “other stuff” involved, and everyone wears happy colours.  That means that a rave jacket is going to be colourful, bright, neon, and most likely glow-in-the-dark, if you can handle that. 

Cartoon jacket

Who doesn’t love cartoons? If your hand is about to shoot up, then don’t answer that question. They’re the best things to come out of the 90s, bar none, and I’m not saying grown men and women should wear cartoons on their clothes, and I’m also not saying I’ve seen a PowerPuff Girls jacket and that I am currently clicking Add To Cart. 

Slapping cartoons on something is the best way to make it fun and whimsical, when you feel like winter will NEVER END. Plus, it’s a cool nod to the 90s and a sure-fire way to get all of my money. All of it

Sports jacket

That whole athleisure thing that happened in the 90s has been back with a vengeance (unfortunately, in my opinion), so this is the perfect time to break out that sports jacket. 

There are a few different directions you can take here, from the American letterman jacket to one of those track jackets, or anything with a hood, really. Don’t wear it with heels.

Ski jacket

Can you wear a ski jacket when you’re not going skiing? Well, the jury’s out on that, but with the winters and the freaking POLAR VORTEX we’ve been getting over the past few years, I’m tempted to give them a pass. 

Obviously, this thing’s going to have A LOT of volume, so maybe go for skinny jeans on the bottom half if you don’t want to look like the Michelin Man. 

Shell jacket 

This is super 80s, but bleeds into the 90s (I definitely remember having one of these in the 90s), and it’s the colourful shell jacket. Not quite as good in the rain as a proper raincoat, but good enough.

The way I like to wear stuff like this is with like, heels, or a really made-up face and over-the-top hair. Just contrast the casualness (that’s probably not a real word), you know?

Snowboard jacket

Just like the ski jacket, the snowboard jacket is normally reserved strictly for winter sports, but we can bend the rules a little bit. It can make a very fashionable statement, while also wealth signalling, a la “I’m rich enough to hit the slopes whenever I want!”, or just look like you’re constantly on holiday. Lug a snowboard around too, for good measure. 

Plus size jacket

Again, anything can be a plus size jacket, because you can wear any style of jacket. Whether that’s a denim jacket, a leather one, a windbreaker, a puffer, a trench coat – everything goes, and we’re seeing influences from a lot of different decades, not only the 90s.

Basically, someone decided to just give up this year, and we’re good to go on wearing anything, which I’m not mad about, not gonna lie. Democracy in fashion can only be a good thing. 

Puffer / bubble jacket

I swear to god I never thought I’d see the day when the puffer jacket came back, and yet, here we are. The puffer is not only acceptable, it’s “cool”, which I admit, I find somewhat baffling. I mean, hurray for being warm and comfortable, but a little lost on what’s cool about it. 

I guess the contrast between the huge jacket and the teeny tiny things girls wear underneath is appealing, plus you can get away with a crop top because the jacket is warm. In addition, they’re colourful and sometimes, shiny, so that gets a thumbs up in favour from me!

Starter jacket 

I’m telling you, if you want to convincingly look like a small-town American football hero, the starter jacket is for you. These are usually branded, or they have sports team logos, and if you want to achieve this authentic 90s look, you can probably just hit the charity shop and you’ll find plenty of these discarded. Don’t worry, no one’s a football hero over the age of 25. 

Neon jacket

While neon tends to make people like me look like death, it’s an EXCELLENT addition to the jacket repertoire, because the vast majority of people are out in boring, black clothes. A pop of neon says HEY LOOK AT ME THIS IS FUN WOOOO, and also that you’re into the late 80s/early 90s.

I may not be brave enough for neon jackets myself, but I’ll nod at you knowingly on the tube. Just make sure to pair it with neutrals, and not more neon. This isn’t a rave, love.

Nautica jacket

The Nautica jacket, like the FUBU jacket, and the Tommy jacket (and so many others) is one of those obviously branded things men like to wear to show how cool they are. I can’t even take the piss out of them, because women totally do the same thing with those obnoxious Louis Vuitton logo bags, so eh.

If you REALLY want that 90s dad vibe, you have to get yourself an oversized Nautica jacket that you can pair with your awkwardly long white socks and dad sandals. 

Leather jacket 

My fave, my love, my life – the leather jacket. You can pry this baby out of my cold, dead hands. The moto-style leather jacket has always been and always will be “cool”, but the 90s were also about a more elegant type of leather look.

You know those blazer type of jackets that your mom probably wore? The ones you used to hate? Well, guess what’s coming back in fashion? DING DING DING IT’S THE 90s LEATHER JACKET. Have a dig in your mom’s closet; you may still find it.

Hooded jacket 

Listen, a hooded jacket isn’t just for Eminem in 8 Mile, okay? You and I can wear one too, and you know why? Because it’s practical, Barbara! It’s been decades since we’ve been allowed to dress for comfort and practicality, and if you hate umbrellas as much as I do (for those of you yelling “But why do you live in the UK, then?!” – I KNOW, OKAY? I KNOW.), then this is a nice alternative. 

Hip hop jacket

This is gonna be something that falls under athleisure, and you’ll notice that we’ve got a lot of sporty vibes going on – what can I say, it’s what the 90s were all about; at the same time as being all about bare midriffs and platform shoes, for some reason. 

The so-called “hip hop jacket” can be in any colour you want, although probably less of that really colourful, dorky, 80s-inspired kind of jacket. That’s not cool enough. 

Read: 90s Hip Hop Fashion Guide: Outfits, Brands, and Trends (Women’s Edition)

Grunge jacket

What is the grunge jacket, you ask? Well, let’s see: 

  • Oversized
  • Probably from the men’s section
  • In a dark, murky colour
  • Probably has pins and patches
  • May smell less than fresh, but that may just be you

There is no “one true style” of grunge jacket, but you can’t go wrong with one of those olive-y anorak jackets that kinda looks like your dad brought it from the army. 

Read: Grunge Accessories for Women That’ll Turn Heads

Oversized jacket 

Looking for a shortcut to looking grunge and vaguely like Linda Cardellini in Freaks and Geeks? Buy yourself an oversized jacket. Or steal one from your boyfriend, dad, or older brother. 

It’s a one-step process in which you take said jacket and throw it over whatever you are wearing, for an instantly casual and laid-back look. No one thinks you care that much, because otherwise, you wouldn’t be wearing that cool, oversized jacket.

Colourful jacket 

If you’re sick of neutral monochrome and are a lover of colour like me, hands up! Maybe it’s a holdover from the 80s, but regardless, it’s cute af and I love it. You can wear a colourful jacket with pretty much anything (probably neutrals), and the best thing is that you can totally coordinate colours! Pair that neon orange jacket with a neon orange beanie, girl. YOLO.

Raincoat jacket

If you’re looking at this, scratching your head, I laugh in the face of your privilege of not living somewhere where it rains so much, that there’s barely any point in owning any other type of jacket. 

Anyway, the raincoat is cool, now, as are rain boots. I credit that entirely to music festivals and the necessity of these things forcing them to become acceptable again, so we’re pretending that looking like 90s dorks is cool. And you know what? That’s just fine, come at me with that Paddington Bear jacket. 

Tapestry jacket

You’ll either love this type of material or you’ll hate it, and I know what category I’m firmly in. Look, I just think it looks A LOT like my grandma’s ugliest couch, so I’m not at all inclined to go for it. And it can look kind of matronly.

BUT it can also be really vintage-looking and it goes well with a funkier, more eclectic kind of style, so if you’re brave enough for this, I say wear it and screw what I say. 

Parka jacket

Are parkas the most fashionable jackets alive? Absolutely not. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make it fashion. Like with the other oversized, sporty, or otherwise unflattering jackets, the parka can be worked. 

If you pick out a pastel-coloured parka, no one’s going to be giving you side-eye. In fact, they’ll only be jealous of how warm you are and how cute you look. 

Plaid jacket

Plaid will always be in fashion, if you ask me, but especially if we’re talking about 90s fashion, it cannot be missing from your wardrobe. It would be fashion suicide! Well, not THAT dramatic, but I was trying to go for 90s teen movie. 

Anyway, ANY style of jacket can work with plaid, so don’t feel like you’re limited in terms of style. And it’s sooo Clueless, it hurts. 

PVC jacket

I’m a sucker for some PVC, and I will gladly wear it in any form it’s in, to the eternal horror of my mother. Sorry, mom! Not trying to look like a leather daddy, just love shiny things. 

As far as I’m concerned, PVC is, as the kids say, the shizzle (do young people still say that?), and a jacket is just the natural extension of that. Imagine a black moto-style PVC jacket, with high-waisted jeans and a pair of big stomping boots. Mmmm.

Overcoat jacket

Okay, this one surely brings about memories of old people, but overcoats are not only cute and very 90s, they are also really cute and in fashion! You can get one (or several) in a bright colour and live your Mrs. Maisel fantasy. I can take or leave the matching bag and hat, that’s a bit much for me. 

It’s certainly one way of looking cute in horrendous weather, if it’s not quite a March of the Penguins kind of cold. 

Faux fur / fuzzy jacket

You know when you do that thing where you spend your whole life screaming loudly about how much you hate something and how tacky it is and then you grow to love it? Well…for me, that’s the faux fur jacket, the pinker and tackier, the better. 

Listen, it’s still an ironic kind of “Omg this is freaking ridiculous I LOVE it” appreciation (plus a new-found appreciation for the pimp look), but still – I’ve got two, now. I am ready for our Muppet overlords. 

Fleece jacket

Say what you want about fleece as a fabric and how it’s for doc workers, but it’s suuuper comfortable and warm. You are literally wearing a blanket, so in my opinion, you are #winning. 

It’s not even unfashionable, and it is, indeed, so very 90s, because it fits right into that grunge ~aesthetic~ that you like to post about on Tumblr. 

Duffle jacket 

Okay, so the duffle coat or jacket isn’t the most feminine piece in the world, but it doesn’t really matter, because it’s majorly cool, not to mention WARM. And yes, that’s something you’ll hear a lot of from me, because I’m literally a lizard. 

Yes, it reminds me of Paddington Bear, but is that really a bad thing? Paddington is a fashion icon, not to mention my personal 90s hero. 

Flannel jacket

I’d say that flannel is having “a moment”, but it’s not really a moment, because it’s been a full-on love affair. Basic white girls love their flannels, folks, especially paired with knee-high socks, beanies, and pumpkin spice lattes. 

The cool thing about flannel jackets is that you can get them in pretty much every colour and it doesn’t get more casual or laid back then this. It’s peak autumn; people can probably hear the leaves going “crunch crunch” just by looking at you. 

What’s your favorite? Let me know below.