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1995 & 1996 Fashion Trends (90's Girl Fashion)

I’m not sure if some of these fads and fashions were regional to my area. Most of the styles could be found at the local mini mall which is a place that is still there today. The mini mall was essentially just an old large store space filled with little booths and the merchants selling their wares. My mom told me it used to be a Woolworth’s.

Back in the mid 90s mostly clothes, shoes, and accessories were sold there. There were a few other booths that sold food, candy, car stereo supplies, custom embroidered hats, and one booth that sold Spanish language music and house records.

Most of the clothes were of poor quality and made cheaply. I bought a shirt there that shrunk in the wash! The (ladies) clothes were also mostly made of synthetic materials. You were hard pressed to find something there that was made of natural materials unless it was jeans, shirts or sweatshirts.

If you were fortunate to take a tip to one of the local malls you could find better quality clothes there…sometimes.


In 1995 and 1996 it seemed like most of the girls seemed to wear these. Some of the styles were really fancy and had a little buckle chain detail. I preferred the patent leather ones with a platform heel.

Tall socks

Thanks to Clueless for this trend. Thigh highs were the trendiest, but knee socks were acceptable too. Most of the time the girls would just pull up their regular socks as high as they could breaking the elastic. 

Backpack purses

I remember these being popular at my school in late 1994/early 1995. I remember buying one with my Christmas money. I was so excited to buy one. I had a few other ones as the years passed on. Including a patent leather rectangular one that said “Whatever!”on it.

Animal backpack purses

Another Clueless inspired trend an extension of the backpack purse trend the animals I used to see the most were bears, cats, and bunnies.

Feather accessories like purses, hair clips, pens and pencils

Marabou feathers were on everything it seemed. I liked this trend - it was fun. Although when the feathers seemed to fall off your accessories it was really messy. (my own vintage pink purse)


Plaid skirts, argyle, plaid pants, pleated skirts, and sweater vests. The preppy look was going strong all through the decade.


Ball chains

It seemed everybody wore these, guys and girls. People usually wore them plain, with letter blocks that spelled their name or something like that, or with novelty charms.

Claw clips

To me these were an updated version of the butterfly and shell clips from the 80's.


I didn’t like claw clips much; especially the cheap ones. They would usually break from my thick hair. They were just too rigid. I have some old Goody ones I got in 1995 that are still in good shape.

Baby tees

I remember these being really big in mid 1995. The girls at school usually wore ones with this kitty on them or an angry teddy bear face which I could not find a picture of.

Long skirts/Maxi skirts

I remember a lot of these being made of polyester and having flower prints. I think a popular look was to wear them with a cropped baby tee.

Matte pastel nail polish and navy blue nail polish

They were big in 1996, but got replaced by iridescent pastel nail polish in 1997. Navy blue nail polish was big during the winter of 1996-1997. I never liked navy blue polish because I don’t like that color in general. At my junior high, navy blue colored polish was associated with “bad girls”.

Holographic stuff

This stuff was mostly on hair clips and on necklaces. Holographic glitter nail polish came out a little later. I had some holographic hair clips.


Sanrio seemed to be having a resurgence at that time, but I've always been a Sanrio fan. 

USA stuff/96 Olympics stuff

USA and 1996 Atlanta merchandise was really popular. The USA hadn't hosted an Olympics games since 1984 in Los Angeles.

Slip dress

These were so versatile. They could be worn by themselves or over a shirt for a more conservative look or even with pants if one wanted to be so bold. I know slip dresses are still being sold today, but they don’t have that unmistakable 1990s cut and shape.

Rachel haircut

These were hugely popular. My cousin even had one. I didn’t want one because I was growing my hair out back then.

Number shirts with the number of the year on it (possibly regional)

I don’t know if this is a regional thing, but when the calendar changed years the girls would go out and buy shirt and generic jerseys with the last two numbers of the year on the back. For example in January 1995 they would get a shirt or jersey with a big “95” on the back. These were not class shirts/jerseys. I never understood this since they were only "good" for one year.

Baggy jeans (possibly regional)

These were still popular where I lived. The guys and girls would buy like size 50 and 52 inch waist jeans to wear them the baggiest.

Caboodles (?)

To be honest I never really fussed over these things. The other girls at my school had them for storing makeup and school supplies. I never wore much makeup, and I still don’t. I much preferred my pink glitter Hello Kitty pencil box.

Looney Tunes Blues

After the hip-hop shirts went out of style there was Looney Tunes Blues which sometimes still used the hip-hop motif with jean background. ( book mark from my personal collection)

Suede sneakers

I don’t remember the specific name for these things, but they were like suede sneakers with a lug heel. Skechers made this style famous, but all my parents could afford was the payless knockoffs. It didn’t matter since most of the kids at school had the knockoff ones too. The shoes would usually get “broken in” by the other kids stepping on them. The strange thing is I could not find a picture of these anywhere on google. This was the closest picture I could find from a circa 1999 Skechers commercial from an old episode of Pokemon.

“y” necklace

Invented to show off cleavage; I think? I had this really strange one with a tiger head charm on it. I just remember I bought it at a craft store. I just really wanted one because it was trendy. This trend has not seemed to come back yet…

Bubble watches

These were popular around ‘96 and stayed popular into the turn of the millennium. The real trendy thing to do was to have a bubble ring watch.

Work shirts with patches

I didn’t really know these were trendy. My male cousins used to buy them at the swapmeet. Even my mom had one. Then they started making more tailored girl styles with logo spoof patches.

CK One

I really like this fragrance. I like unisex cologne. I still wear it occasionally today. I like that it is very strong.


70s revival and “hippie” clothes desgins

All the happy faces on stuff like hair clips, wallets and shirts. Most of these designs were on novelty items like coin purses and pencils. I remember getting this giant novelty pencil in 1996 decorated with pictures of happy faces, daisies, and peace signs.


Daisies were on everything; clothes, purses, watches, school supplies, wallets, backpacks, jewelry, hair accessories, patches, and other things. I remember in my 7th grade year book a bunch of the girls took photos in this daisy print shirt/dress. I can’t believe they weren’t embarrassed that they were all wearing the same print shirt/dress.


It seemed a lot of clothes from 1995 and 1996 seemed to be made of polyester maxi skirts, button up shirts, and dresses. Or maybe it was only the cheap trendy clothes I could afford.

Wood heel sling back Mary janes, and clogs

Sling back shoes and wooden heel clogs were very popular with the girls at my school. Since these were a style of shoes sold at the mini mall they were of poor quality. The stitching on the shoe would fray easily. For some reason the girls liked to wear these shoes with those white athletic/gym socks that had a grey sole or gray heel. To me that just looked tacky. 

Flair jeans

I like that these were in style when I was starting to notice trendy clothes. Depending on the cut these can be forgiving to pear shaped females. When skinny jeans came back in style I couldn’t tolerate them. (note the chunky trendy hair on the model)

Mood rings

I wanted to get some because I wasn’t really good at accessorizing or had a lot of accessories. I spent $5 at Claire’s for a mood ring with a happy face “mood stone”. It was a ripoff. That thing never changed color! It was labeled “mood ring” on the package. I tried everything to change it. I even stuck it in the freezer, and nothing happened. A few months after I bought it the “mood stone” fell off the band. 

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MarshMellow Posted on Dec 13, 2015 at 09:14 AM

Wow, this is awesome, we must be around the same age. I had smiley faces and daisies on everything, too. And I 100% agree with your assessment on flares vs. skinny jeans.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Sep 16, 2014 at 06:21 PM

Wow, this was a very extensive look at the fashion of my Junior High and High School days. I can see why it won the contest. I definitely remember all those giant patent leather shoes and glittery blue nail polish on the girls in my class. The Sanrio popularity in my town fizzled out by 1992 or so, but I was a Keroppi fan in 5th grade for sure!

raptor Posted on Feb 18, 2013 at 07:27 PM

I remember some of these things. Girls went gaga over the plaid stuff after Clueless.

Vaporman87 Posted on Feb 18, 2013 at 03:58 PM

@vkimo: I agree. Too often we tend to look at the past from only our own point of view as males. It is a breath of fresh air to see how things looked from a female perspective. Thanks again pikachulover!

vkimo Posted on Feb 18, 2013 at 03:38 PM

Always refreshing for a female "retro"spective article!

Vaporman87 Posted on Feb 18, 2013 at 02:35 PM

Having graduated in '92, I was never too familiar with trends like these during these years. I was entering the working world and had a lot going on.

It is interesting to be given an inside look at what was stylish in those years following the end of my high school days.

Thanks for this!

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