These Nineties looks are back, and Caitlin Moran’s loving it

Posted by for Fashion

With the Nineties slip dress dominating today’s catwalks, Caitlin Moran recreates the most beloved fashion and beauty of the decade

The Doc Martens

“No one told you the vital thing about Doc Martens: that, on day one, you have to HIT THEM ALL OVER WITH A HAMMER. SMASH SMASH SMASH. Particularly in the heel area, MASH MASH WHACK. You gotta make those boots your bitches. Either you break the Doc Marten in or it will break you in. The 30-year-old scar on the back of my heel attests to this. And yet, it will be the most faithful shoe you ever have. The Greyfriars Bobby of footwear.”

T-shirt, £14.99, Official (sportsdirect.com); shorts, £19.99, Zara (zara.com); tights, £12, Calzedonia (calzedonia.com); boots, £130, Dr Martens (schuh.co.uk)

The trackie top

“Oi oi! The trackie top was for when you were being a totally likely bloke/lady-geezer, but your arms were a bit chilly. In the full outfit – A-line skirt, Adidas Gazelles, tights – you felt oddly compelled to spend much of the evening bouncing up and down restlessly, while chewing gum and saying things like, ‘Bish bosh, Jack and Coke for me darlin’. Let’s get on one!’, and winking at everyone compulsively. Essentially, it gave you Cockney ADHD.”

Top, £49.95, Adidas Originals (adidas.co.uk); top (worn underneath), £16.95 for pack of two, Gap (Gap.co.uk); skirt, £19.99, New Look (newlook.com); tights, £16, Calzedonia (calzedonia.com)

The brown lipliner

“For a three-year period in the 90s, womankind decided to amuse itself by inventing and propagating the ugliest lip look ever known to humanity – heavy brown lipliner. Any passing poet would struggle with analogies. ‘Shall I compare thy mouth to… two hunks of liver? A mad beige doughnut? A battered fanny?’”

Mac Lip Pencil in Spice, £14 (maccosmetics.co.uk)

The silk slip and tiara 

“Glamour in the 90s was cheap: a silky polyester nightie/petticoat from Oxfam and a plastic tiara from, I want to say, ‘The plastic tiara shop’? This look was the enemy of anyone who needed a bra, or had flabby upper arms. You needed either naturally perky tits or a heroin habit. Or both.”

Tiara, £98, Butler & Wilson (butlerandwilson.co.uk); dress, £245, Ghost (ghost.co.uk); necklace, £169, Missoma (missoma.com); bracelet, £150, Pandora (pandora.net)

The kilt

“Popularised by Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, the tartan mini told the world you were adorable – but also meant business. Steely, yet lovable, it said, ‘I am the kind of girl who has enough self-esteem to insist you give your bits a quick rinse before we get down to it,’ ie the kind of class and elegance I aspired to. Most people bought a knee-length skirt from M&S, then used a stapler to shorten it to somewhere between ‘mid-thigh’ and ‘mingebrusher’, depending on the degree of their personal sexual messaging.”

Top, £36, Warehouse (warehouse. co.uk); kilt, £440, Le Kilt (lekilt.co.uk); tights, £16, Calzedonia (calzedonia.com); trainers, £70, Adidas (schuh.co.uk)

The choker

“The accessory of the 90s, the choker was initially intended to draw attention to the wearer’s doll-like neck, but was more usually employed to cover up a massive love bite you’d sustained from a man called Gav before watching Menswear [love ’em or hate ’em indie band]. Before the internet, love bites were massive. There was little else to do on a rainy day.”

Choker, £4.50, Claire’s (claires.com)

The thin eyebrows

“Kate Moss had perfect, Sindy-doll arches – and so the nation followed suit, with tragic consequences. Microblading has since been invented so women of my age can agonisingly buy back the eyebrows they ripped out in 1995. I firmly believe that, like the driving licence, teenagers should have to pass a test before they are allowed to buy tweezers. A child cannot handle the potential power of eyebrow removal. Tweezers are a safeguarding issue.”

Rubis Classic Black Slant Tweezer, £20 (lookfantastic.com)

The tartan shirt

“No one said ‘plaid’ in the 90s. ‘Plaid’ was a try-hard American word. It was a ‘tartan shirt’ and it made up 90% of your wardrobe. There was no such thing as a ‘woman’s cut’ tartan shirt back then – they were all cut for men – leading to the frequent grunge-lady-togrunge- lady inquiry of, ‘Do I look too shoulder-y in this?’ The answer was, always, ‘Sorry mate, yeah.’”

Shirt, £30, Rokit (020-7836 6547); tights and boots, as before

The shiny eyeshadow

“We only had one ambition re: eyeshadow in the 90s – make those eyes pearly! Pearly and shiny! Iridescent as fuck. You could forget about having a matte eye – no one wanted a matte eye. It was all about making your eyelid look as much like a sardine as possible. Or a cling-filmed mermaid’s tail.”

By Terry Ombre Blackstar in Blond Opal, £29 (spacenk.com)

The bantu knots

“While amazingly practical at a sweaty club – so much exposed neckage! Enjoy what breezes there may be! – this hairstyle was apt to give you a ferocious tension headache around 11pm, unless you were off your face on pills. Luckily, you were off your face on pills. Once, your friend used a bun like a wallhook and hung their handbag on it for a full hour. Again, you were off your face on pills.”

Boots Polyband Ponybands, £2.30 for 50 (boots.com

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Photography: Matthew Shave

Concept and styling: Caitlin Moran

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