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These 6 ’90s fashion trends for men have staying power

Feed your nostalgia with these throwback trends

Keanu Reeves flannel
Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Fashion is cyclical. There are looks that we loved when they were all the rage and then started to make fun of when they lost favor, only to look back fondly and do all we could to bring them back. A good example of fashion-making comebacks is the mom jeans of the ’80s starting to show up in women’s fashion and men bringing back the mullet. No hairstyle was mocked harder than the mullet in the 00s, but here we are wearing it again. ’90s fashion trends are never far out of our nostalgic minds, but some of them are making the jump from fond memories to current staples.

Fashion may be cyclical, but style is an ever-evolving thing with classical, unmoving ideals. The warring dynamic between the progress of fashion and the unwavering mindset of style creates some striking looks to make you stand out. Bold confidence is the way to take what you saw thirty years ago and make it your own today. Here are six trends from the ’90s you can make work today.

Baggy is back

Man in Quicksilver Saturn Collection sweatshirt and pants on boardwalk
KC Stone / The Manual

Right around the time, Ricky Martin started wearing painted-on T-shirts while telling us to live the crazy life, baggy clothing started phasing out of our closets. Tighter fits were all the rage. It got so bad that suits looked to be straining at the seams to stay on even the fittest bodies. We are coming back to a more relaxed world (thank goodness), and so now we can loosen up and move a bit.

How it’s different this time

Sure, we can get baggier, but we’re not going as far as we did in the ’90s. We’ve learned moderation over the last three decades, so let’s not bring back the pants that are so baggy they are obliterated and soaked under your shoes.

Our recommendation: Matt & Bow has some great options for relaxed-fit pants. It will feel foreign when you first put them on, but it will feel like getting home before the street lights come on in no time.

Denim jackets never seem to fade

Man in hat and jacket
KC Stone / The Manual

Let’s be honest: the denim jacket could be a part of virtually any decade’s style lexicon. Steve McQueen made it look cool in the days when we needed an icon during the turmoil of American society. Rockers made them cool on stage with their blown-out hairstyles and electric tunes. But the nineties brought us different denim colors paired with graphic tees to make the looks unique to our personalities.

How it’s different this time

Color is key in today’s denim world. If you want to make this trend stand out in 2024, opt for unconventional colors like reds, greens, and pastels in your denim.

Our recommendation: DEVIL DOG DUNGAREES is one of the leaders in denim, and they have some of the best denim jackets on the market.

The flannel is king

Flannel shirt
Bannon Morrissy / Unsplash

Let’s be real. We all remember at least one iconic flannel look from the ’90s that we have secretly wanted to rock day in and day out since then. Whether it is Keanu Reeves’ flannel shaket from Speed, Kurt Cobain’s flannel love on stage, or maybe Cher from Clueless (no judgment), there is no shortage of flannel looks to get inspiration from.

How it’s different this time

One thing about flannel is that it is the perfect casual garment. It was always the outdoorsman’s best friend. Today, pairing it with an elevated leather jacket or under a sweater and the flannel is no longer just an ultra-casual garment but can be the perfect addition to your smart-casual wardrobe.

Our recommendation: Flag & Anthem is a constant every year with some of the best flannels you will find. They have great colors and high quality and are one of the coolest names in clothing.

Hats have snapped back

Man in Travis Mathew hat and Privé Revaux sunglasses
KC Stone / The Manual

Ah…the snap-back trucker hat. In the ’90s, these bad boys were reserved for, well, truckers. While they were a staple in the wardrobes of men everywhere, they quickly fell out of fashion thanks to their appearances on Seabass in Dumb and Dumber. Now, they are making a comeback.

How it’s different this time

We’ve ditched the rope along the bill and adopted a more streamlined profile on these hats. Now, the trucker snap-back looks more like your everyday ballcap; you don’t have to worry about a fit because one size fits all.

Our recommendation: Almost all of your favorite brands offer snap-back hats, but our favorite is this best-seller from Travis Mathew.

Nean and fluorescent colors reign

man in neon shorts

This one is a bridge style. While neon and fluorescent colors rose to popularity in the 1980s, they carried over into the 1990s and are today returning as a way to show off your personality. While the in-your-face colors of the early 1990s were the center of mockery in the dulled color palettes of the 00s, we have adopted the brightness again and are ready to show off.

How it’s different this time

This time around, there are fewer examples of these colors in the dress arena, and they are more often worn in casual environments. Focus these on your gym and beach wear for the ultimate center-of-attention looks.

Our recommendation: Municipal is one of Mark Wahlberg’s favorite go-to gym brands, and they have some great color options that will keep you looking great while giving you the same jacked looks as Wahlberg.

Graphic tees are no longer childish

Man in graphic tee
KC Stone / The Manual

It’s easy to think that graphic tees are the thing of children. It’s easy because we wore them as children and have been told since the turn of the century that we should toss them. But the truth is, if you wear them right, they are a great wardrobe staple. They are casual and comfortable, with a bit of flare.

How it’s different this time

These are best paired under shackets or jackets when you wear them out. If you want to dress these up in today’s world, they are the perfect partner to your sneaker game, or elevate the whole look with your casual chelsea boots.

Our recommendation: Lucky Brand is a premier clothier for virtually anything outside of your tailored clothing. But their collection of vintage graphic tees is the epitome of cool.

Whether you are looking cool like Steve McQueen reborn in 2024 or looking like a rehash of Justin Timberlake’s Canadian tuxedo, it all comes down to how you wear these ’90s comebacks. Always remember that fashion is what you wear, and style is how you wear it.

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Mark McKee
Mark is a full-time freelance writer and men's coach. He spent time as a style consultant and bespoke suit salesman before…
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