(Feel free to scroll down to the outfit if you don’t fancy reading my somewhat lengthy introduction.)
To ring in the new year, my housemates and I threw a 90s/00s themed party. Naturally, it was fancy dress.
If I’m honest, I’ve never been too big a fan of fancy dress. Firstly, it’s a lot of effort, and I generally dislike things that require effort. Strike one.
Secondly, fancy dress rarely looks good. It can look creative or ingenious or clever, but it almost never looks good. Best case scenario, you look like as much like a Minion as it is possible for a human being to look, but you don’t look good. You look like a Minion. Strike two.
Finally, fancy dress often includes body paint which kind of makes me cringe. Strike three, and we’re out.
This is something that I’ve subconsciously known but never really processed before. Writing this right now is genuinely the first time I’ve thought about why I dislike body paint so I can only apologise for whatever stream of consciousness diatribe comes next.
Maybe it’s because I had eczema growing up so my mother never let me use face paint or even those cool transfer tattoos that everyone had. Instead I had to stick them on my book bag that held my piano sheet music. My book bag.
Or maybe it’s because I’ve been forced to rub against sweaty, over-familiar, painted clubgoers on various nights out while at university.
Or maybe it’s because people always miss out bits of skin (honestly, the number of smurfs I’ve seen with unpainted napes) which is just unsettling; or even worse, when they go overboard with face paint and their eyes, mouths and nostrils look like gaping holes into another dimension, lost in a sea of cheap acrylic paint.
So all of that considered, I’ve never really been a fan of fancy dress. This year however, I decided I’d give it a good go.
I tried to find an easily recognisable black 90s/00s character, which is harder than you might think. And before you go on about colour-blind costumes, I’ve tried that before and either no one had a clue who I was or they racked their brains to think of an appropriate black character who they assumed I must have been. In fact I once went to a party dressed as a cowboy and my friend decided that I must have been Django (Unchained).
Eventually I ended up with The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – the king (sorry, prince) of 90s cool. I borrowed my housemate’s dungarees and I already had an appropriately kitsch snapback so just needed an obnoxiously patterned shirt.
I found this – let’s face it – objectively ugly shirt in a charity shop and, much to my surprise, have quite started to like it and begun to incorporate it into my everyday style.
So that’s what this unnecessarily long introduction has been about – trying something different and discovering a new style.
Safe to say I’ve waffled on for long enough so let’s get down to today’s outfit. All these pictures were taken by my friend Luke. Check out his other work here.
As discussed, this shirt is from a charity shop. It was originally from M&S and was, in fact, designed for men, despite all suggestions to the contrary. I’m really into 90s vibes at the moment. The decade came back into fashion a few of years ago but sort of plateaued, challenged no doubt by the bohemian 70s styles that came in not long afterwards. Over the last few seasons however, 90s style has come back in a big way, especially in the sports luxe/athleisure trend (ie sportswear that isn’t really designed for sport). Gap, where I work, is having an extended throwback with their 90s Archive Reissue, re-releasing some of their classic pieces from when they were at the height of their cool.
With quite a loud shirt, I’ve gone for solid colours for the rest of the outfit, starting off with my trusty plain white tee. I decided to tuck it in, which, once again, is a bit of a 90s thing, and I think it looks a little cleaner and more put-together.
My jacket is from Boohooman.com. I’ve recently become quite a fan of textured materials (corduroy, waffle knit, ribbed cotton, velvet) and, fittingly, this jacket is made of a navy blue (fake) suede. I’ve been seeing a lot of suede bombers around recently, especially in a brown tan colour, so I wanted to stand out a little by going blue. As I’ve discussed in previous posts, I’m something of a lanky gentleman so this medium jacket doesn’t quite reach my wrists, while a larger size would have been too baggy. My answer to this is to roll up the sleeves a little so it looks like a stylistic choice, rather than a necessity.
Another nod to the 90s are my straight leg trousers. In recent seasons, designers have finally started to move away from the slim silhouette that has gripped our bottom halves for the last decade, instead looking to more relaxed, skater-inspired fits. This light wash denim is relaxed and casual, making the perfect addition to my chilled outfit.
Wider legs can be difficult to pull off without looking like you’re wearing your dad’s gardening trousers, so high hemlines (either cropped at the ankle or rolled up like mine) are a good way to make sure you look more skater boy than see you later, boy.
My shoes were £3 from Primark so I bought them in two colours. A deal’s a deal, man. Finally, I’ve gone for some stripy tube socks and this simple grey cap to add in some last minute 90s touches.
So that’s my 90s inspired outfit – yet another thing we can add to the already lengthy list of things we can thank Will Smith for.