90s fashion inspirations: style as an art

Image courtesy of Canva
Image courtesy of Canva

Since I started college, building a new wardrobe has never been more difficult. As someone who has spent most of her life in school uniforms, expected to dress and behave a certain way, I always felt like leaving home for college would be my escape. I could finally act freely, wear whatever I wanted, and create a unique style parallel to my personality. Unfortunately, things didn’t really turn out the way I dreamed. 

Having grown up watching ‘90s American movies, I frequently idealized college life: Greek weeks, frat parties, mixers, trips, wearing hot clothes, and dancing just the way you always wanted to. I had never even considered academic or social pressures, nor different kinds of anxieties that are a part of college life. There are so many more problems, such as finding the right people or community for you, academic competitiveness among students, and even homesickness. 

First of all, there is no magic wand that will change the perspective that has been encoded in your veins for your first eighteen years of life. For example, if you were a ballet dancer like me, it’s not going to be as easy as you thought to hit the dance floor bare feet with your hair down. Or if you have worn school uniforms for your entire life, you may consider ‘is this outfit appropriate’ no matter where you go. So if you’re thinking you are finally free to experience the college life you’ve seen on TV, this may not be a reality. Real life doesn’t resemble the movies of the 90s: there is no script or stylist. 

When I arrived at college, I initially insisted on dressing the part of a ‘90s-era college student, creating a new wardrobe full of denim mini skirts, lace cami tops, slip dresses, sunglasses, scarves, and heels. However, it didn’t take long for me to feel out of place — everyone around me was wearing clothes that were as comfortable as possible, even going as far as to wear pajamas to classes. And in a few months, I found myself in my sportiest state, which wasn’t what I really wanted. 

Within years, I realized I was still expecting myself to dress and act in a certain way in order to fit in, in the place I thought would be my escape. Then, in this diverse environment, I decided I could create my own eclectic vintage style. Even though the fast fashion era has caused many of us to lose ourselves to throwaway culture, I believe it is important to find timeless clothes both for our budgets and for the earth.  

It’s impossible to deny the popularity of vintage stores and retro styles, as luxury brands are remaking their most popular designs from the ‘90s (for almost three times the original prices, I might add). I can comfortably say that today my style inspiration comes from the ‘90s, when luxury was affordable, people were open to new experiences, and having a chic look was attainable with basic pieces of clothing. To me, the best feeling is finding popular ‘90s styles in my mom’s or grandma’s closet so I don’t have to pay the higher prices. 

Yet, even after I found peace with my style, I felt like there was still something missing. And that was an important thing: lenses. I wondered, am I the only one who imagines daily life through vintage lenses? I think videos and photographs taken with those cameras add a unique color and character to the place or person you are filming or photographing. Unfortunately, many of those features are missing in modern photography. Instead of using the natural unique features of the lenses, people often use a variety of photo editing apps, which I don’t enjoy. 

By asking a few of my friends, as well as a few random people on campus, I learned that I am not the only one who imagines the ‘90s daily life through those lenses. Yes, that’s right! When we think about the ‘90s era, we often think about it through vintage lenses, as if the people who lived in the 90s were seeing the world through those lenses. 

While it may be true that we are not living in a movie that is being shot with a vintage Panaflex camera and Panavision lenses, I think they were an important part of why I got inspired by the 90s. Even though today we are able to dress the part, the looks are not the same without those lenses. But we can still perceive fashion and style as an art, rather than something to consume and throw away. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$0
$2500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The UCSD Guardian
$0
$2500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The UCSD Guardian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *