Normcore is about simplicity and comfort - combining staples like jeans, t-shirts and hoodies, overalls and baseball caps. It's a gender neutral, pared down style that rose to prominence in the 90s in contrast to the bright and bold over-the-top 80s. It's unpretentious and casual, and rejects extravagance of any form. Flannels, button up shirts and cardigans layered over tank tops and graphic tees were a go-to look.
Sex and the City's Miranda Hobbes' practical nature meant she was often dressed in normcore looks, that suited her sarcastic humour and no nonsense attitude. Her high powered corporate job meant she was often in a suit, so it's only natural she would opt for the slouchy sweatshirt and baggy jeans on her days off.
Kat Stratford of 10 Things I Hate About You was about subverting the male gaze, wearing what she wanted because she liked it, and not caring about fashion trends like her sister Bianca. She preferred to wear cargo pants and a tank top or camo print rather than a flirty skirt or dress.
We've seen normcore come back into fashion over the last decade, and it's remained a popular look for off duty celebrities, incorporating athleisure clothing, and for those working in the tech space thanks to Steve Jobs. Who is your favourite normcore style icon?
Tartan was everywhere throughout the 90s. Vivienne Westwood began using it in the 70s, with Ralph Lauren and Laura Ashley following suit in the 80s. Alexander McQueen released his Highland Rape collection in 1995, the same year Clueless came out and Cher Horowitz wore her iconic yellow suit.
The historical epic Braveheart was also released that year which brought a resurgence in interest in Scottish heritage.
No longer relegated to punks and grungers (or indeed Scottish clans), it was very mainstream. A huge subject which we won’t go into here but we will share with you pages from Vogue’s Tartan editorial in their September 1991 Fall fashion issue which we have in our collection. Check out this instagram reel of the editorial.
A Shot of Scotch
“Scotland’s highlands are home to the Loch Ness monster and tartan- fall’s boldest pattern. Splashed onto everything from swashbuckling boots to classic kilts, there’s a tartan for every clan- from sophisticates to schoolgirls.”
Linda Evangelista models clothing from Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta, Isaac Mizrahi, Marc Jacobs, Jean Paul Gaultier, Norma Kamali and more.
Grace Coddington wrote for this editorial that “authentic tartans are registered designs and today more than a thousand variations exist”.
‘Dressed: The History of Fashion’ have a two part podcast on highland style if you’re interested in learning more about tartan. @dressed_podcast
2022 saw a resurgence in sexy 90s business wear style in the aftermath of the pandemic. Gen Z has hailed it ‘Corporate America Core’. Hailey Bieber and Kendall Jenner have been all over the trend after launching their own brands. We’re looking to the OG’s Rachel Green and Ally McBeal to show us how it’s done.
By the early to mid 90s, it was the norm for professional women to wear structured suits to the office and the colours that were popular in that time period were navy, grey or pastel colours. Two piece suits with blouses were worn but also short dresses with blazers. Later in the 90s, trouser suits instead of skirt suits were becoming more common. Slouchy pant suits were big in 1997.
Check out this instagram reel to see pages from 1998 and 1999 Victoria’s Secret catalogues and a few other publications including Holt Renfrew’s ‘Point of View’ 1996, J.Crew, Sears and JC Penney; all highlighting 90s women's office wear.