Maybe it's Nirvana's 20th anniversary reissue of Nevermind, or the two-decade rule making us look back at the halcyon days of the 1990s with fond nostalgia. Or maybe it's simply that the decade-long 1980s revival overstayed its welcome. Whatever the case: Nineties fashion is back with a vengeance.
Just as most of the key Nineties looks were defined by the musicians who wore them, the same can be said of their modern revival counterparts. But of course, even a revival needs its own contemporary twist. As Garbage, The Stone Roses, Oasis and so many other seminal Nineties bands talk not only of their impending reunions, but what the future holds, here are some of the wardrobe staples their fans remember well – and that look relevant once more.
The Revived Trend: Plaid
Nineties Icon: Kurt Cobain, Reality Bites, almost anyone who held a guitar before 1995.
Best Modern Runway Take: Y-3, Rag & Bone, and Thakoon.
The New Twist: Plaid in bolder colors, on leather, and as an accent. Paired with upscale accessories. Flannel is acceptable, but the most intriguing options right now are in luxer materials.
Modern Muse: Taylor Momsen. From her Gossip Girl threads to the grunge-happy attire she dons as a member of The Pretty Reckless, she's a proven plaid fan. In fact, she's an all-around Nineties kid, as she happily attests in interviews.
The Revived Trend: Doc Martens
Nineties Icons: Shirley Manson, Trent Reznor, Daria.
Best Current Runway Take: Ann Demeulemeester, Doc Martens' own imaginative reissues.
The New Twist: Ann D's luxurious update of the Doc runs for about $1k but will last you a lifetime. Meanwhile, the official Docs now come in a variety of hues and patterns. Some special edition looks even sport blocky heels. The classic standard-issue Doc rightly remains the popular favorite, though.
Modern Muse: Agyness Deyn. The British supermodel helped make Docs the footwear of choice for globetrotting off-duty models; her look also spawned a myriad of look-a-like high/low ensembles.
The Revived Trend: School Girl Kilts
Nineties icons: Where to start? Britney Spears in the "Baby One More Time" video, Alicia Silverstone in Aerosmith videos and Clueless, Liv Tyler in Empire Records.
Best Current Runway Take: Alexander Wang, Miu Miu, Proenza Schouler.
The New Twist: Upgraded fabrics. Kilts are paired with sophisticated separates, like blazers. Accessorizing with knee-socks and Mary Janes is not advised. Pairing with the 1990s-centric Doc Marten or Creeper is okay, though. It's a fine line.
Modern Muse: Sky Ferreira, whose love of short skirts is well-documented. P.S. She also rocks a mean pair of Docs.
The Revived Trend: Sportswear
Nineties icons: Gwen Stefani, All Saints, Sporty Spice (of course).
Best Current Runway Take: Alexander Wang, Balenciaga, VPL.
The New Twist: A svelte silhouette. While techno and scuba fabrics, as well as latex and mesh, are in demand once more, thankfully no one seems keen to revisit the lumpy shapes of mid-1990s trackwear. These days it's cooler to look like a fencer than a soccer star.
Modern Muse: Katy B – she's even doing the 2012 Olympics theme with Mark Ronson.
The Revived Trend: Raverwear
Nineties icons: Angelina Jolie in Hackers, Tank Girl, The Prodigy.
Best Modern Runway Take: Christopher Kane, Proenza Schoeler, Gareth Pugh.
The New Twist: Because raver culture was subdivided into so many niches – candy raver, cyberpunk, baggy, to name only a few obvious tropes – its revival as an aesthetic is equally fractured. But its reemergence is unmistakable: the men of Proenza noted that American Indian motif and British baggy fueled their recent fluorescent-friendly collections; Pugh and Kane explored the futuristic side of rave with both intergallactic and dystopian themes.
Modern Muse: For pop stars, the new rave is mainly candy-flavored. Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj get the multi-hued futurist look down, while Rihanna favors a grimmer cyborg chic. Jeremy Scott devotees 2NE1, meanwhile, try the entire rave spectrum on for size and turn the volume up to 11.