Crazy, colorful, and grungy. When we think of the fashions of the 1990s, many people imagine this period as a time of strange trends such as fanny packs, one-open-shoulder overalls and bowling-inspired shirts that reflected this raging decade. And, while it is true that the aesthetic of the 1990s trends was very different than the aesthetic of today’s trends, the 90s were not all about electro-pop, bubble gum bands and demented pattern mixes, as some things that were created in the 1990s were amazing and timeless.
Here is a look back at some fashion photographs from the 90s that showcase the best of the decade in menswear, proving that fashion meant more in the 90s than pop culture:
Giorgio Armani was a man who understood the aesthetic of the 90s just as the decade started. This photo from 1990 shows a very sensible look, featuring a fluid, almost deflated suit. In the history of the suit, the 1990s are characterized by draggy clothes and by fabrics that featured a “worn” aesthetic. The slouchy feel of the 90s was meant to signify sincerity and lack of pretense, which is why during the 90s, designers went away from the “power suit”.
If the suit needed to represent exactly what the 90s were about, the Armani label allowed itself to dive into other territories as well, exploring other aesthetics as well, which led to the creation of more fitting items that feature a timeless aesthetic, making them look modern even today.
And, to express the idea of “high fashion” and still remain true to the deconstructing spirit of the 90s, Emporio Armani released this 1994 fashion on stilts ad that goes to show how the aesthetic of a time can be merged with the timelessness of great style.
The 1990s seem to have been an era of sartorial understatement, but not for all. Designing for men who know who they are and who know exactly how to express themselves through their clothes, Ralph Lauren remained true to their preppy aesthetic even though they incorporated a relaxed and approachable aesthetic in their designs. The results led to the development of the brand, which became more and more appreciated, as it was able to offer their customers great clothes that would reflect their world view.
Playing with proportions, with this white suit, Gianni Versace answered the question of “how baggy a suit can get”. An inch larger would have made these clothes too loose and it would have been an exaggeration. It is truly remarkable how Gianni Versace managed to design a baggy suit and still keep it clean and crisp. We also love the way the suit is complimented by the great scarf.
Cowboys can never go out of style as this 1999 Wrangler ad proofs. If you look closely and ignore the technical aspects of the image and the specific coloring, you will notice that the hat, the shirt, the belt, the jeans and the shoes worn by this cowboy are part of a dateless handsomeness that reflects the core values of the All-American man.
A tank top is a fashion staple that never goes out of style. Paired with a pair of bi-color shorts, it makes for great beach attire, as this Nautica ad from 1991 shows.
Once again, you can see the spirit of the 90s reflected in the looseness of the tank top and in the chromatic, which is specific for that decade, but you can’t argue that such a tank top is something men would not wear today.
This DKNY ad from 1998 is a great example of how some colors never go out of style. Neutrals such as white, beige, gray, etc. are colors that are always in fashion and that are too versatile to be pointed to a certain era, as one can do with certain shades of every other color.
We love the dressy casualness of this outfit, given by the soft fabrics and the play with size. It really does make for a great outfit, don’t you think?
Watching these pictures, we can say that we are definitely sure that in 20 years from now, we will be looking at today’s trends with our eyebrows raised, but we will also appreciate the timeless pieces that have been created today. While trends can be fun and should not be completely disregarded, great pieces never go out of style, which is why we recommend investing more in style than in fashion, as, to quote Yves Saint Laurent, “fashions fade, yet style is eternal”.
Fraquoh and Franchomme
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