Cropped Cardigans, Knee-High Socks, and 7 More '90s Trends That Will Be Big For Fall
Celebrity stylists share their recommendations for what to wear (again).
As the end of summer draws nearer, it's impossible not to notice the fall collections popping up in your favorite stores. For avid beachgoers and fans of the scorching hot weather and barely-there clothing, this gentle nudge towards all things cozy and layered might feel premature. For fall lovers like myself, saying goodbye to #shotgirlsummer means saying hello to sweater season. But FYI: oversized cardigans won't be the only staple in our wardrobes this year.
According to fashion moguls and style forecasters, everyday wardrobe staples from the '90s are going to be all the rage this upcoming season. You'll still see trends from the early aughts trickled throughout celebrity wardrobes, as well as some '80s trends the fashion world never seems to get over, but autumn 2021 is all-in on the alternative era's resurgence — and personally, I'm all for it.
Having been born in 1991, I obviously didn't dress myself for the majority of this iconic time period. However, that doesn't mean I don't get nostalgic for the decade's fashion. Popular hair accessories from that time, like scrunchies and claw clips, are already having a moment, so to find out which other 90s-inspired items would be essentials to my closet this season, I reached out to celebrity stylists for their recommendations.
According to celebrity stylist, Cindy Conroy, we have Cher Horowitz to thank for the level of popularity knee-high socks garnered in the '90s. The Clueless heroine's iconic footwear is expected to be recycled for fall 2021, Conroy says, adding they'll be "reimagined with chunky shoes and sneakers."
It wouldn't be fall without a collection of cardigans hanging in your closet. While the autumn wardrobe staple has become something of a "basic" phenomenon over the last few years (with TSwift upping the article's cool-factor a la Folklore), cardigans were everywhere in the '90s, too. Back then, cardigans were worn over a silky slip dress or alone with jeans, but Conroy tells InStyle 2021's take on the trend will be cropped and buttoned up with mid to low-rise denim.
"Very casual chic, I absolutely adore the look of the cropped cardigan with a baggier pair of jeans. It screams understated sculpted vixen," Conroy says.
Blair Waldorf may have made a case for headbands in the 2000s, but they were a trendy hair accessory prior to Queen B's reign, and Conroy expects they'll be everywhere this fall.
"The updated look will be worn in sumptuous leather, dazzling bejeweled iterations, and textured headband creations," she tells us.
Anything Animal Print
In an exclusive interview with InStyle, celebrity stylist and Affirm partner, Tara Swennen, mentions that animal print (most notably leopard print) was all the rage in the '90s, and would be found splashed across coats, halters, crop tops, and accessories. Swennen suspects animal print will come back around for fall 2021, but worn as a statement pattern.
"Try using a monochromatic outfit as one's base and pair animal print shoes, scarves, totes, or blazers with jeans, skirts, capri pants, and dresses," she suggests.
High-Waisted Boyfriend Jeans
"In the '90s, jeans from Guess and Levis had a high rise, a high waist, and a slim tapered leg, giving way to what is now call the mom jean," says Swennen over email. This fall, Swennen suggests folding or cuffing the hem, "pairing them with a killer heel or fun sneaker, and aim to keep the emphasis on your waistline by tucking in your T-Shirt, blouse, or cami."
Swennen tells InStyle that slip dresses made from charmeuse and polyester satins and trimmed with bows and lace can be paired with vintage chokers, and worn over a simple white tee or turtleneck, or with a worn pair of Converse for fall 2021.
"Or, for an elegant transition," she adds, "opt for a cleaner version with a great pair of pumps and a long duster."
Swennen says actors like Julia Roberts have nailed the perfect androgynous silhouette of an oversized blazer by simply pairing the pieces with a classic white tee and sneakers. The combination is making a comeback for fall 2021, but to update the look, swap out the tee for a bralette.
"Ensure your pant has a high waist for balance, add as much height in a shoe as possible with either a sexy pump or a sky-high platform," Swennen suggests. "Pair it all with a fun printed clutch for a relaxed, yet empowered look."
Celebrity stylist Krista Roser tells InStyle designers like Chanel, Giorgio Armani, Fashion East, Fendi, Vetements, Emilia Wickstead, Peter Do, and Laquan Smith all have what she refers to as the "cool" girls' suit in their fall collections for 2021. The style comes inspired by the Versace suit worn by Linda Evangelista in 1990 and is "best paired with a high waist matching pant and cropped shirting."
Sweater vests have been slowly making their way back into our closets since 2020, so it shouldn't come as a total surprise that the piece is sticking around for the upcoming season. You might recall Kaia Gerber wore a cable knit sweater as a top back in October of last year. Since then, celebrities have been styling vests in all sorts of ways, serving us plenty of outfit inspiration.
Roser says this is probably because the sweater vest is a go-to layering piece for any mood. "I personally like the idea of a comfy moody look, layering an oversized black vest with an oversized long white button-up worn as a dress, paired with the second skin trend of boots for fall."