What to Wear to a 90s Party: 8 Style Tricks to Try

By: Rachel Aschenbrand-Robinson

The 90s are a source of endless style inspiration. So many iconic looks came out of the decade, and whether you loved or hated 90s fashion — or you’re experiencing it for the first time — there’s no denying the era that brought us everything from Clueless to Kurt Cobain is back with a serious vengeance. So if you’re heading to a 90s party but you’re struggling with what to wear, chill out — we’ve got you covered. Ahead, eight tips to make sure that your throwback outfit is da bomb.

1. Embrace 90s Grunge Fashion Without Looking…Grungy.

Dannijo-Vixie-Thin-Choker Vince.-Coastal-Slip-Dress The-Kooples-Red-Plaid-Shirt See-by-Chloe-Nougat-Milo-Backpack

Dress: Vince, Shirt: The Kooples, Choker: Dannijo, Backpack: See by Chloe Accessories

90’s fashion was all about being too cool to care and grunge was a major trend of the decade firmly planted in that concept. Mixing elements of punk and alternative style, the idea was to look as uninterested in your outfit as possible, while still putting thought into it. The main element of this iconic look included flannel and plaid button downs, usually worn with a slip dress or distressed jeans. Backpacks were the bag shape of choice in the 90s and chokers reigned supreme when it came to jewelry.

Since the grunge trend centers around looking somewhat unkempt, tweaking it to be a little more pulled together is ideal if you’re heading to a 90s theme party. It is still a party after all. Go for a slip dress that feels sexy but on-theme, then throw a plaid button down around your waist. Complete the look with polished, updated takes on 90’s style, like a sleek backpack with gold hardware and a choker embellished with sparkly crystal.

2. Survive the Party in a Comfortable 90s Denim Outfit

Elizabeth-and-James-Pink-McKinley-Sunglasses Free-People-Superstar-Buttondown Current_Elliott-The-Kick-Jeans Liebeskind-Brooklyn-Hobo-Bag

Sunglasses: Elizabeth and James, Shirt: Free People, Jeans: Current Elliot Bag: Liebeskind

One of the best things about 90s clothes? Oversized was totally in and denim was a key component of any wardrobe, meaning comfy was cool. Higher waisted, straight leg jeans ruled the day and denim on denim was quintessential 90s look. Think Jessie Spano on Saved by the Bell.

If you want to nail 90s style and stay comfortable all night, this look is your best bet. A patchwork two-tone shirt (bonus points if you button it all the way up) tucked into distressed jeans is the ideal combo of on-trend and party perfect. Just add oval sunglasses and a drawstring bag. Finished off with lace-up boots or penny loafers, you’ll totally look like all that and a bag of chips.

3. Go Floral with Your 90s Retro Clothing

Elizabeth-and-James-Lynn-Sunglasses Privacy-Please-Floral-Plaza-Kimono-Maxi Ettika-Double-Onyx-Choker ZAC-Zav-Posen-Navy-Eartha-Iconic-Backpack

Sunglasses: Elizabeth and James, Dress: Privacy Please, Choker: Ettika, Backpack: Zac Zac Posen Handbags

Any 90s girl worth her salt rocked floral dresses on the regular. Smaller, ditsy prints evoked the thrift store vibe of the grunge era and were almost always accessorized with the MVP accessory of the decade: the choker. The look was feminine with a dash of punk. Your inspiration? Winona Ryder in Reality Bites.

For a 90s outfit, you can actually wear after the party’s over, opt for a retro feeling wrap dress, then pull the look together with an edgy necklace, sunglasses, and a modern backpack that can be worn as a satchel. Chunky shoes like Doc Maarten boots will seal the deal.

4. Have Fun with 90s Overall Outfits

Cinq-à-Sept-Striped-Nicolette-Top Free-People-Boyfriend-Overalls Gorjana-Chloe-Choker Gigi-New-York-Stone-Andle-Crossbody

Shirt: Cinq A Sept, Overalls: Free People, Choker: Gorjana, Bag: Gigi New York

We told you denim was important! No grunge-era closet was complete without at least one set of overalls. Whether they were worn with both straps up or one strap unbuckled, these were a staple of 90s attire.

Pay homage to 1990s fashion in black boyfriend overalls, then add a pop of color with a bold striped ribbed knit (another of the major 90s trends). With a gold choker and a messenger style bag, you’ll nail that My So-Called Life vibe, but in a grown-up way.

5. Get Noticed Using 90s Urban Fashion as Inspiration

Gas-Bijoux-Pink-Bo-Shagreen-Earrings Jason-wu-Grey-Midnight-Grey-Sweatshirt MINKPINK-Wild-Flower-Scando-Jeans Sondra-Roberts-Multi-Stripe-Resin-Minaudiere

Earrings: Gas Bijoux, Sweatshirt: Jason Wu Grey, Jeans: Minkpink, Clutch: Sondra Roberts

Urban style in the 90s was all about being bold. Mixing bright colors, global patterns, sporty shapes, and street style influence, this vibe was impossible to miss.

Channel your inner hip-hop queen in a graffiti motif sweatshirt and embellished jeans, then add vibrant accessories like a multicolor clutch and doorknocker hoops. The result? A look that’s totally fly.

6. Channel the Supermodels with Your Vintage 90s Clothing Look

Alexis-bittar-Gold-Crystal-Accent-Choker Milly-Cropped-Cable-Sweater Halston-Heritage-Silver-Sequin-Mini-Skirt ZAC-Zac-Posen-Star-Earthette-Shoulder-Bag

Choker: Alexis Bittar, Sweater: Milly, Skirt: Halston Heritage, Bag: Zac Zac Posen

From Cindy Crawford to Naomi Campbell, supermodels ruled the 90s. In the earlier part of the decade, Versace ads were packed with big-name beauties wearing crop tops and mini skirts, a look that became instantly iconic — and one that’s ideal for 90s costumes.

Recreate this classic 90s look with a cropped pastel sweater and sequin skirt, then accent it with a glittery choker and embellished bag. For a finishing touch, try adding socks with heels to really drive it home.

7. Spice up Your Outfit with 90s Jewelry

Eddie-Borgo-Layered-Plate-hoops Free-People-Uptown-Girl-Blazer Joie-Glyn-Darlin-Tee Current_Elliott-The-Fling-Jeans

Earrings: Eddie Borgo, Blazer: Free People, Tee: Joie, Jeans: Current Elliot

Jewelry was a major component of 90s fashion — and hoop earrings were at the top of the decade’s must-haves list. Fortunately for us, this quintessential 90’s style is making a serious comeback, and you can add it almost any look.

If you want to add just a hint of the era to your outfit, try adding a pair of gold hoops. Want to go a little further? Go for an oversized blazer, a graphic tee, and straight leg jeans and you will take your 90s theme party look to the next level.

8. Get Funky in 90s Disco Fashion

Eddie-Borgo-Nubla-Pendant Tory-Burch-Floral-Brigette-Shirt Osman-Ariel-Flare-Trouser Kate-Spade-Gold-Glitterbug-Bag

Necklace: Eddie Borgo, Shirt: Tory Burch, Pants: Osman, Bag: Kate Spade

The 90’s saw a resurgence of 70’s trends, including psychedelic everything (anyone remembers blacklight posters?) and disco fashion. Bands like the Spice Girls and Jamiroquai brought back flared pants, wild prints, and platform shoes.

As far as nineties party outfits go, this is definitely one of the most fun options. A floral button down and dramatic flares with a long pendant and sparkly clutch will get you in a dancing mood for sure.