As I creep up on 30, slowly and from behind so that it doesn’t notice me, there is one thing that is making me feel increasingly old, the nineties trend. The rise of nineties fashion, perhaps the first fashion trend where I can honestly say ‘I wore that first time around’, is eerily disconcerting. I remember scrunchies and chokers in their first less slick and cynical incarnation. I remember being 12 and longing for a dolphin tattoo over my belly button and a pair of Doc Martins. When grunge was grunge and not the slightly sanitized knowing version I see much younger and much cooler people wearing now. I finally identified with my mum saying ‘I used to have one of those!’ as I rolled my eyes in exasperation.
Then it struck me with a dawning horror that this was just the beginning, that fashion is a cyclical beast and that the next inevitable steps is possibly the brashest, ugliest decade of all, the noughties. The noughties has a line-up of fashion crimes that would make the eighties blush. When style icons included Atomic Kitten and Christina Aguilera in what can only be described as her ‘stripper stage’, when fashion that was loud, crass and pretty much devoid of taste. Anyone for a visible thong? Plain for weekdays and diamante encrusted for special occasions and weekends, of course. Or how about a skirt-belt? For those days when you just can’t decide whether you want to wear a skirt or a belt so you obviously opt for skirt so short it could easily be mistaken for a belt. This was the decade of the low, low-rise jean – perhaps the only denim incarnation that called for a bikini wax and hundreds of other serious affronts to taste.
So come 2025 when a whole generation of teens take up their handkerchief tops and velour tracksuits and I am contemplating 40 will I shake my head and tut at their poor taste? Will I have lost all my fun fashion sensibilities? Will I have forgotten that I not only wore these trends but embraced them with glee to the point that one summer I didn’t take off my cargo pants and knee high boots even in a heatwave? Maybe, but I’m hoping that by then I will be approaching being a grown up and embrace the ridiculousness of fashion rather than turning into a judgemental old bore. Only time will tell I guess but for now the nineties still send a shiver up my fashion spine.