90s Teen Movie and TV Character Style

90s Teen Movie and TV Character Style

With so many incredible teen movies and shows in the 90s (it truly was a golden age), we wanted to pay homage to some of our favourite characters by styling looks based on their brilliant costuming. We hope you like our interpretations! (Everything is for sale- click the photos 😉)

Kat & Bianca Stratford
10 Things I Hate About You (1999)

Costume designer: Kimberly A. Tillman 

This teen rom-com is a modern retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. It stars Julia Stiles as the angsty, antisocial Kat Stratford and Larisa Oleynik as her popular good girl sister Bianca. 

Kats’ style in this movie epitomizes late 90s/ early 00s normcore trends with plenty of tank tops, long sleeve tees, low slung pants, flip flops, camo print and cargo pants. Most of the characters in the film inhabit this type of understated clothing. It was a realistic wardrobe for the time period in comparison to the costuming in other teen movies of the time such as Jawbreaker. The platform flip flops worn by Kat throughout the entirety of the movie became a huge summer trend after the film’s release, continuing in the early aughts. Tillman added a rubber platform in order to make them last throughout production with the producers apparently being sick of looking at them by the end!

Bianca is feminine and preppy in minidresses, cute tops, florals and pink. She’s a post-Cher Horowitz type with realizations such as “There’s a difference between like and love. I like my Skechers, but I love my Prada backpack.”

“As far as Kat, she was artistic, and a bit rebellious, and kind of had to look a little bit like she didn’t give a shit. She wore army pants. And then Bianca was very feminine, with the pink, and always [had on] the perfect lip gloss and cute, flippy hair.”

Tillman had previously worked on another cult 90s film Wild Things the year before. 

She thrifted a lot of pieces in Seattle, New York and LA. She dyed and altered most pieces while others were built from scratch such as the prom outfits. “I felt really strongly about those [costumes] being the culmination of the romances, that they should look like their true, romantic selves,” Tillman says.

“Back then, slip dresses were in vogue. And Julia looks so gorgeous in that kind of steely blue, it was a perfect color for her palette. And Bianca continuing with the pink…Julia could handle that kind of sophisticated sleek, and she was a dancer in real life and very graceful in her movements. And I thought that was a sophisticated, simple look for a girl who’d been wearing army pants. She’s not going to wear a big, puffy dress. And then with Bianca, that was just to have a lot of fun with layers of pink. She looked playful and sweet and just showed that tiny, tiny sliver of stomach. It wasn’t too much.”

Excerpts taken from hellogiggles.com 

Shop with us for these and more 90s and Y2K clothing. 

Cher Horowitz

Clueless (1995)

Costume designer: Mona May 

Cher, who was based on Jane Austen’s Emma, had a fantasy wardrobe designed by Mona May that included the best designer gear from the likes of Calvin Klein and Azzedine Alaïa. She had 56 costume changes in the movie, mixing thrifted pieces with designer.

The famous yellow plaid suit was Dolce & Gabbana. May told Vogue that the palette was reds, yellows and oranges for the beginning of the movie in the Fall and moved with the seasons as the story progressed.

By the time we get to spring, Cher is wearing soft pinks and pastels.

She famously wears a red Alaïa dress with a feather trimmed jacket and a pair of Jimmy Choos when she gets robbed at gunpoint.

Check out these 3 gorgeous looks we put together inspired the iconic miss Horowitz 💕

Angela Chase 

My So-Called Life (1994-5)

Costume designer: Patrick R. Norris


Although My So-Called Life ran for just one season, it has endured as one of the greatest teen dramas of all time. A more realistic (albeit dark) portrayal of teen life in the 90s than the likes of Clueless, MSCL won Claire Danes a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the Pittsburgh heroine Angela Chase. It is credited with moving teen dramas away from the soap opera tone of previous shows like Beverly Hills 90210 and towards a smarter look at everyday teenage life.

Norris was inspired by Kurt Cobain and Annie Hall for Angela’s look. He wanted her to have a soft and vulnerable appearance but protected in her layers. Her look really evolves from the first episode after she becomes friends with the street smart Rayanne. She epitomizes feminine grunge by mixing floral dresses, oversized plaid shirts, Doc Martens, knitwear and baggy denim. She often wore clashing prints and textures in muted tones.

“For most of the kids, I went off and brought together every artist, every designer (like Betsey Johnson or Armani or Donna Karan), every shop on Melrose, every thrift store in Venice, every thrift store in Silverlake, and I would throw closets together with cool stuff.”

“Some of the jumper dresses you’d find at Macy’s, or you’d find at the kind of lower-end store, but then you’d mix it in with a period piece or, yeah, a designer piece or a thrift-store piece.”

“…her plaid shirt she loved, the kind of rusted-red one. That was almost like a comfort jacket, and a statement of almost Jordan Catalano. She was just really cool in that, and felt both really vulnerable in it and protected. And I also think that layering [it] with the longer dress on the inside, treating them almost like skirts, always protected her as well. I think Angela loved those pieces. And her overalls, of course!”

“My whole palette for this whole show was my own life, basically. When I introduced the overalls to Claire, she was really excited. And again, this is a teenage thing, because I wore them as a teenager back in the early ‘70s, late ‘60s. They’re comfortable, they’re nonthreatening. In a way, I was always able to keep a balance with those overalls; it was vulnerable, it was safe, it was protected. You could even dump a plaid dress on top of it, which we did.”

These excerpts are taken from an interview Norris did with Vulture.

Norris went on to a prolific directing career with such titles as Dawson’s Creek, The O.C. and Gossip Girl under his belt. 

Claire Danes went on to great acclaim with starring roles in 90s classics like Little Women and Romeo + Juliet.

Same overalls/dungarees styled on 3 different characters!

Willow Rosenberg- Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Tai Frasier- Clueless

Angela Chase- My So Called Life 

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