90s Pants – The Garish the Better, Right?

Zubaz pants
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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

Pants! We all wear them, so I’ve got A LOT to say about them. Particularly if they’re from the 90s, because some of these will be glorious, some of them will be hideous, and some of them will be questionable.

MC Hammer pants are all three.

The good (or is it bad?) thing about pants is that you can’t escape them, so you gotta wear one style or the other. Unless you wear dresses all the time, in which case, I’ve blabbed about that, too. 

Camo pants

Oh come on, you know these. “I saw Cady Heron wearing camo army pants and flip-flops, so I bought camo army pants and flip-flops”. Army pants and camo pants are the same thing, really, so don’t get caught up on that. What you SHOULD get caught up on is the fact that they were COOL and they are, once again.

Are you shocked? I am, sort of, because I never thought something that’s objectively ugly would come back, but thus is the nature of cyclical fashion trends. And it’s not all bad – they’re comfy and casual, and they’ve got A LOT of pockets. Lots of them.

You’ll never need a bag, which is great, because I can’t for the life of me figure out what would be a good bag to pair with camo. 

Cargo pants

Very similar to camo pants in style, cargo pants are of the billion pocket variety, so they get a big PLUS for practicality. But are they stylish? Well…if you like beige, they are. And big pockets. I LIKE BIG POCKETS AND I CANNOT LIE. Are you too young to get that reference?

They’re very neutral, so they certainly fit right into the current trends, particularly for summer. 

Harem pants

Harem pants were trendy not THAT long ago, so you should be familiar with these. More than anything in the world, harem pants are damn comfortable. They’re loose and flowy and the crotch is miles away, and that fabric is thin and breezy, so they’re excellent for a hot summer day when it’s windy and you don’t want to show the world your underwear. 

Yes, they can look a little silly. But if you know what to pair them with (sandals, mostly), you can pull them off. The best thing about these is that they come in tons of colours, so there’s something for everyone!

Hip hop pants

You’ll really embrace the hip hop pants, because they’re baggy, loose, and comfortable. Plus, they give you that instant cool factor, right? Once you see someone’s underwear waistband, you KNOW they mean business. 

Don’t wear hip hop pants to visit your grandma, tho, because she will not be able to fully appreciate your intense commitment to fashion. Do wear them to the mall and when you go out dancing – you’ll feel like you came straight out of Step Up. 

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

Leather pants

If you’re ever looking for sexy pants, this is it, this is where the road begins AND stops. Leather pants sweat sex appeal, just ask Alice Cooper. He’s almost 80 and the man still looks good in a pair of leather pants, and yes, I’ve seen him live and I can attest to it. 

You can’t go wrong with leather pants and they are one of the few timeless garments out there, but for the love of god, please don’t wear them out in summer, because you will regret every decision you’ve ever made that lead to this moment. 

Neon pants

Look, you’ve gotta be brave to wear neon pants, and if you do, I salute you, because there’s no way I can pull those off. But if it’s summer and you’ve got a gorgeous tan, and you don’t mind blinding people, this is the ticket, mawma. 

You can wear them in whatever style you want, just make sure to pick a neon colour that is flattering for you, if such a thing even exists. Think highlighter colours – lime, pink, blue, or green. Just not all of them at once, please. 

Parachute pants / MC Hammer pants

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS What time is it? 


What can I even SAY about MC Hammer pants, other than that they are objectively insane, not very attractive, visually, but that they defined a decade?

While MC Hammer pants are not your everyday kind of pants, they are absolutely essential in every wardrobe, because otherwise, what the hell do you wear when it’s HAMMER TIME? I always keep mine within reach, in case the situation calls for them. 

Patchwork pants

These can certainly make a statement, so if you’re a wallflower type, maybe skip these. Patchwork pants are pants that are literally made from different patches, so they kind of look like one of those duvets – you know the ones. The type your mother makes from your old baby clothes. 

Wear them with a white tee to let them do the talking. …or with a patchwork top for that co-ord look that’s so hot right now.

Patterned pants

Patterned pants are A Look, but not one that is impossible to wear. Most of all, because not all patterns are made equal. Patterned can mean floral (which is very 90s, isn’t it?), subtle polka dots, Beetle Juice stripes, or something edgier, like those Alexander McQueen-esque skulls. 

Whatever pattern you pick, just make sure to pair it with a plain top in order to balance the look. You CAN wear two patterns, as long as you pick two dramatically different sizes and you echo some of the colours. 

Popper pants

I feel like I lost a bet somewhere and owe someone money for sure, because I NEVER thought I’d see popper pants again, and yet, here we are.

In case you’re young enough to have escaped the carnage the first time around, popper pants are wide leg pants that have poppers going all the way down on the sides. And yes, they do work. And yes, people would undo them and wear them with the legs flapping everywhere. It was a dark time that I do not wish to revisit, tbh. 

Print pants

I love me a print, but it’s gotta be right. Animal print is HUGE right now, but it’s not for everyone. On me, it’s giving you Peggy Bundy, but on YOU, it may look classier. Of course, the secret to not looking like Peggy Bundy is to not pick patterned leggings.

Instead, maybe go for a pair of culottes or just wide-leg pants. Even shorts would do, because it’s not something you see often, and it can be a very refreshing look. 

Raver pants

I’m not exactly a rave-going gal, but I know a thing or two about raver clothing. I’m not going to lie to you – raver pants are absolutely bonkers. They’re very (VERY) wide legged, which, while super fun, also makes them a tad difficult to walk in and they tend to take up a lot of floorspace. 

It’s clear they won’t be practical for a ton of things other than raves, but…do you really need to wear them to other places?

Stirrup pants

And speaking of Peggy Bundy…welcome to stirrup pants. While I don’t find them quite as hideous as I did when I was a kid, I’m still not completely on board with these, but it’s not the look that’s throwing me off; it’s the stirrups.

They have always been MAD uncomfortable on me, and I cannot deal with that kind of pain. Maybe that makes me a wimp, IDK, but I ain’t going through that again. If you are a braver soul than I am (or have sturdier soles (hehe, get it? Soul? Sole? I’ll see myself out), give them a spin. 


The day has come, my friends – sweatpants are in fashion, somehow. To be fair, they’re not the sweatpants your grandma wears around the house, they’re “joggers” and they’re called “athleisure” now, for some reason. But they’re still freaking sweatpants and no one can convince me otherwise.

It’s not that bad, because it’s acceptable to wear sweatpants in way more places now, not just Starbucks at 7 am and at your 9 am class. Just pair them with a real pair of shoes and throw a jacket over and you’ll be perfectly passable. 

Tapered pants

I love me some tapered pants, because they’re SO. FREAKING. FLATTERING. Thankfully, we live in a day and age where truly anything goes – I mean, come on, Peggy Bundy pants are back in style – so tapered pants and wide leg pants can BOTH be just as fashionable. 

The great thing about tapered pants is that they look excellent cropped, and they give you a real Audrey Hepburn kind of vibe. If you don’t know who that is, think of her as your grandma’s Kylie Jenner. 

Tartan / plaid pants

There is nothing more punk than tartan pants, so you can have a lot of fun with these. Add a spiky belt, some fishnets, creepers, a crop top, and neon pink hair, and you will look authentic af. Okay, so maybe you don’t need to go ALL out with the look; tartan can look good in a casual environment as well, as long as you pair them with something a bit more toned down on the upper half. Let the tartan speak for itself. 

Windbreaker pants

Okay, windbreaker jackets are bad enough, but windbreaker PANTS? YEEEP, they were a thing, and now they are, once again. If you’re not feeling these, don’t feel bad; they’re certainly not for everyone, unless you’re MC Hammer, but we’ve already covered that. 

I will say, though, that they are outstandingly comfortable, so I wouldn’t rule them out just yet. Plus, they would make a really fun going out outfit. 

Workout pants

Everyone is all about always looking like they’re coming from or going to the gym, so I guess wearing workout leggings in public is a thing, now. They’ve gotta be Lululemon, so people know you’re loaded. 

I’ve got nothing against people who enjoy creating the illusion of a healthy lifestyle; as for me, I’m happy to advertise my unhealthy non-gym-frequenting self by never wearing workout pants in public. It works just fine for me!

Read: 90s Workout Clothes: 8 Ways to Get That Retro Fitness Look

Zubaz pants

I know I always say I don’t judge, but I am ABSOLUTELY going to judge you for wearing these pants. The thing is that I can totally see WHY someone would want to wear these, because they’re super patterned, super fun, and they look comfortable, to be honest. 

I just can’t get over that hideous quasi zebra print that is sooo unflattering and…just…NO. 

I bet you didn’t even KNOW pants came in so many varieties. Will I be seeing you sporting some popper pants next?

Image source: Kidmissile