What to Wear to a ‘90s Party, Whether You’re Going for Casual Cool or Full-On Costume

Featuring all your most loved '90s fashionistas

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From TV icons like Hilary Banks to IRL starlets like Britney Spears, there are a seemingly infinite number of fashion resources to help figure out what to wear a ‘90s party. In a decade where everything from ripped grunge flannels to preppy skirt suits to The North Face puffer jackets (all worn with lace-up Dr. Martens, of course) were trendy, there are many, many different ways to take the theme and run with it. Here you’ll find 22 outfits worn by all our most-loved ‘90s fashionistas that are sure to inspire a fabulous throwback party look.

The ’90s Movies That Taught Us Everything We Need to Know About Fashion

drew barrymore what to wear to a 90s party
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1. Buttoned-Up Cardigan + Distressed Denim + Dr. Martens Boots

For a ‘90s look that’s just as stylish in 2023, try copying Drew Barrymore’s grunge-lite ensemble. As for makeup, don’t forget to swipe on some brown lipstick and fill in those brows.

princess diana bike shorts what to wear to a 90s party

2. Oversize Sweatshirt + Colorful Bike Shorts + Chunky Socks + Sneakers

There are so many Princess Diana outfits worth copying, but this one is by far the comfiest—and one of the easiest to recreate using pieces you likely already own.

fran fine the nanny what to wear to a 90s party

3. Slim-Fit Turtleneck + Miniskirt + Black Tights + Knee-High Black Boots

The Nanny’s Fran Fine was a major fashion icon (and still is) thanks to her over-the-top looks and even bigger hair. Want more Fran fashion inspo? Check out the Instagram account @WhatFranWore for a catalog of all her best looks.

hilary banks fresh prince of bel air what to wear to a 90s party
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4. Flower Hat + Button-Up Vest + Lace Blouse + Matching Corsage

Another impossibly chic TV heroine, Hilary Banks’s outfits are a treasure trove of ‘90s inspiration. Unsurprisingly, she also has multiple Instagram accounts dedicated to cataloging her iconic style.

selena what to wear to a 90s party
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5. Sparkly Long-Sleeve Crop Top + Matching Flared Pants

Make sure to brush up on the lyrics to "Bidi Bidi Bom Bom" before you rock Selena’s iconic performance outfit.

mary j blige what to wear to a 90s party
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6. Leopard Jumpsuit + Oversize Sunglasses + Black Gloves + Grammy Award

Mary J. Blige has been serving looks since the beginning of her career back in the ‘80s, but this leopard-print number has to be one of our favorites. (P.S. This was the performer’s first Grammy win for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group for “I'll Be There for You/You're All I Need to Get By” with Method Man.)

britney spears what to wear to a 90s party
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7. Pink Tube Top + White Cargo Pants + Chunky White Sneakers + Wireless Mic

Britney’s first album, …Baby One More Time, dropped in 1999 and instantly solidified her as one of the best new artists of the decade. Of course, her incredible performance looks helped as well.

vivica j fox what to wear to a 90s party
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8. Sheer Long-Sleeve Shirt + Denim Pencil Skirt + Baguette Bag

If you can’t find a denim skirt with embroidery along the hem just like Vivica A. Fox’s, try pinning a ribbon or embellished belt to your skirt to fake the look. Be sure to pin your hair back with a series of butterfly clips, too, for good measure.

kirsten dunst what to wear to a 90s party
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9. Babydoll Slip Dress + Coordinating Cardigan + Pieced Up-Do

We love Kirsten Dunst’s coordinating empire-waist slip dress and longline cardigan, but we adore her Pam Anderson-esque hairdo with, you guessed it, a plethora of butterfly clips to keep it in place.

baywatch pam anderson what to wear to a 90s party
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10. Red One-Piece Swimsuit + Rescue Tube

Speaking of Pam Anderson, the blonde bombshell was one of the biggest stars of the decade, and to this day you can’t look at a red one-piece swimsuit without thinking Baywatch.

princess diana revenge dress what to wear to a 90s party
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11. Black Off-the-Shoulder Minidress + Sparkling Choker + Black Heels

Looking for something a bit dressier? You can’t do better than Princess Diana’s infamous “revenge dress.”

elizabeth hurley versace dress what to wear to a 90s party
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12. Cut-Out Black Dress + Gold Safety Pins

Or, if you want to go even bolder, why not look to another infamous LBD moment from the ‘90s—Elizabeth Hurley in a stunning Versace frock seemingly held together with gold safety pins. Even better if you can get Hugh Grant to accompany you to the party.

winona ryder what to wear to a 90s party
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13. Leather Jacket + Graphic Tee + Loose Jeans + Dr. Martens Boots

Winona forever, are we right? Channel the Stranger Things actress in all her ‘90s glory with an ensemble that would’ve been a go-to for any young star from the decade.

tlc what to wear to a 90s party
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14. Oversize Overalls + Plaid Shacket + Gold Hoops

Go all in on denim with some TLC-approved wide-leg overalls with lots of patches. Throw a plaid shirt on over the top and keep your footwear casual with either Timberland boots or socks and Tevas.

gwyneth paltrow great expectations what to wear to a 90s party
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15. Matching Green Shirt + Midi Skirt

To be honest, we wouldn’t even need to be headed to a ‘90s-theme party to want to copy this matching Donna Karan set from Great Expectations. Don’t forget to add some black strappy sandals and a black croc-embossed tote to truly embody Gwyneth.

liv tyler stella mccartney met gala what to wear to a 90s party
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16. Embellished 'Rock Royalty' Tee + Black Skirt or Brown Trousers

We may now associate the Met Gala with over-the-top gowns and wild red-carpet getups, but in 1999, Liv Tyler and Stella McCartney showed up in matching homemade one-shoulder T-shirts pairs with rather casual separates. In all honestly, the duo stayed truer to the Rock Style theme than most guests that year.

naomi cambell kate moss what to wear to a 90s party
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17. Metallic Minidress + Dark Eyeshadow + Model BFF

Or, if you want to embody another iconic ‘90s duo, opt for a sparkly minidress, crimped locks and a heavy dose of eyeshadow just like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.

tia and tamera mowry what to wear to a 90s party
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18. Denim Bucket Hat + Denim Vest + Button-Up Shirt + Henley Tee

Tia and Tamera Mowry’s show Sister Sister was an instant classic, not just because of the real-life twins’ charm, but because of their all-star outfits. Whether or not they opted for matching ensembles, they always looked incredible.

christina aguilera what to wear to a 90s party
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19. Cropped Cardigan + Cropped Tube Top + Dark-Wash Denim + Platform Slides

What a girl wants, what a girl needs, is a tutorial for how to achieve Christina Aguilera’s bouncy blowout so we can copy this 1999 look from head to toe.

gwen stefani what to wear to a 90s party
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20. Space Buns + Face Jewels + Fuzzy Bikini Top + Parachute Pants

Before embracing her country side with husband Blake Shelton, Gwen Stefani was just a girl with a truly iconic punk rock style and blue hair. We have no doubt her MTV Video Music Awards fit from 1998 will earn you tons of compliments, especially those face gems.

buffy the vampire slayer what to wear to a 90s party
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21. Faux-Fur Collar Duster + Minidress or Tubetop + Mini Skirt

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is yet another show chock-full of awesome late ‘90s fashion, but stars Alyson Hannigan’s and Sarah Michelle Gellar’s real-life looks are also worth copying. Case in point, these two takes on party outfits, both of which look perfect with a crimped up-do.

romy and micheles high school reunion what to wear to a 90s party
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22. Latex Minidress + Silver Choker + Platform Sandals

If it’s a ‘90s fashion movie moment you’re after, we think Romy and Michele are the way to go. Their actual reunion looks may require a little DIY to get just right, but any outfit from the film is guaranteed to be a big hit. And don’t forget to bring some Post-Its, too.

friends what to wear to a 90s party
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23. Denim Vest + T-Shirt + Maxi Skirt + Clogs

When in doubt, look to Friends. The first six seasons of the show offer up tons of ‘90s fashion inspo, whether you prefer Phoebe’s eclectic vibes, Monica’s casual ensembles or Rachel’s more fashion-focused fits. Heck, even the guys might inspire you, especially Chandler’s numerous sweater vests.

What’s a Good ’90s Theme Party Outfit for Couples?

If it’s a couples costume you’re after, we suggest looking to the most popular couples of the day for inspiration—Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe, Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, Hugh Grant and Elizabeth Hurley, David and Victoria Beckham, etc. Or you could look to other famous duos of the ‘90s like Cher Horowitz and Dionne Davenport, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, Wayne and Garth, Romy and Michele, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen—the possibilities really are endless.

What Outfits Were Popular in the ’90s?

The decade saw a wide range of aesthetics come into style, including grunge, sleek minimalism, hip-hop streetwear (hello, The North Face Nupste puffer), goth and even the beginnings of Y2K’s metallics obsession. If you want to know what folks were wearing on a regular day, check out TVs from the era that followed characters living average (if entertaining) lives, like Friends, Clarissa Explains It All, Seinfeld or Dawson’s Creek.

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Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on...

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