90s vs 2013: The Ultimate Fashion Showdown | Matthew Coughlan

The world of fashion has seen considerable changes occur over the past twenty years. The common 90s man was a different beast compared to the one you see lumbering around campus in 2013. It is time to compare the two styles in a clash of the titans.

Backwards-facing cap vs Beanie

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Everybody knows that the normal facing cap serves a purpose; it blocks the nasty sun’s burning rays from melting your face. Back in the day, however, if you happened to turn that cap around, something magical happened: it made you look cool as shit. The simple act of reversing a head garment could transform any 90s ‘twerp’ or ‘dweeb’ into the edgy kid with attitude that everyone craved to be.

Worn by: Will Smith in Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and the alpha-male TJ from Recess.

Today’s hat of choice is the beanie. Aside from keeping your head warm from the elements outside, it is without doubt, a stylish accessory. I must admit, I am partial to throwing on a cheeky beanie when the mood is right. However, there are a couple things which make wearing the beanie a risky selection. The back of the hat tends to stick up which ironically makes you look like 90s icon Noddy. While it is bad enough looking like a cartoon wooden child, it also gives rise to a range of insults. The worst of these cold-hearted insults was inflicted on me by my own mother, who coldly stated ‘your head looks like a condom’.

Worn by: David Beckham and Brad Pitt.

Verdict: 90s wins. While Noddy was a fashion legend in his own right, he will never be as cool as Will Smith.

Ripped and baggy jeans vs Chinos


Worn by: Kurt Kobain.

Baggy jeans were another craze that swept the 90’s, because nothing says ‘thug life’ like a patch of your ass that is visible for the world to see. The inability to walk was balanced out by looking like an intimidating badass.

Worn by: Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.

In 2013, if the common man was to wonder down Opera Lane and have a browse in Topman, River Island or H&M you wouldn’t find either of the above. The 90s jeans have naturally evolved into ‘chinos’. Skinny chinos, slim-fit chinos – have a look in any thesaurus for a variation of the word ‘slim’ and apply it just before the word ‘chinos’ and that is how many different types of the pants there are.

The truth is, chinos are rapidly taking over the world. Next time you are on a night out in a club, be it Havanas, The Savoy or the Bodega, have a glance around. Over 90% of the male population will be wearing a pair of them. If you find yourself in Cubins, the majority will be donning the latest Adidas tracksuit.

Worn by: Practically every single guy.

Verdict: Chinos clinch this round, simply because baggy pants make you look like a bit of a bellend.

Light-up runners vs Plimsolls

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The light-up runners originated from American based shoe company LA Gear who first released their LA Lights range in 1992. After a few years there were hundreds of generic brands belting out their own versions. The truth is, these shoes were spectacular in every way. It changed the game in terms of footwear for all young kids. Suddenly, your shoes were not merely a functional piece of clothing but a flashing, epilepsy inducing shoe from the future. Stomping around in these bad boys back in the 90s made you one of the popular kids, and rightly so. So what if the substance that activated the LED light was indeed the toxic element mercury? You still looked shit-hot.

Worn by: Any kid who was near the top of the social ladder in school.

It is difficult to narrow down our age-group into one shoe, there are many different types. Vans, Converse and Desert Boots are just a number of stylish shoes that are out there. Plimsolls, however, are becoming increasingly more popular it seems. Usually consisting of a white base to the shoe with suede material making up the rest, they are popular in shops such as Topman and River Island.

Verdict: Nothing beats light-up runners. In fact, I long for the day they return.

Overall, 90s fashion is the worthy champion – especially when you take into account tying jumpers around your waist and parting your hair down the middle.