Celebrity Style

The Minimalist ’90s Outfits Inspiring My Summer Wardrobe

Jim Smeal

While social media will always be a bountiful source of outfit inspiration, over the years I have found that the archive is where the real gems can be found. Not unlike the personality-packed power of vintage clothing itself, there’s something about returning to the source, as it were, that can help us avoid assimilating the style of others – something that is all too easy to do (even if subconsciously) when scrolling through Instagram’s fashion feeds. Plus, you know that historic styles are often a key source of inspiration for designers when creating new collections, and if it’s good enough for the pros then it’s good enough for us.

If the abundance of clean-lined silhouettes and straight-leg jeans is anything to go by, the ’90s has remained a go-to for the fashion world over the past 12 months. And as someone who has never quite warmed to the ditzy florals and bohemian flavour of traditional summer style, I myself have been jumping in my time machine and revisiting the cool-girl minimalism of my birth decade. 

So, which ’90s looks that will be inspiring my style this summer? Naturally, I had to get some of the supers in there: Think Naomi and Kate in their off-duty model separates. Also, the iconic ankle-skimming white shirt dress that Gwyneth wore when dating Brad Pitt, probably one of my favourite looks – and as a dress-ambivalent individual, that’s saying something. 

Looking for a little old-school style to inspire your heatwave ensembles? See below for six looks that I’ve pinned to my summer fashion moodboard.

Waistcoat + white tee

Naomi Campbell (Photo by Jim Smeal/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images) Jim Smeal

Bring a tailored spin to your favourite white tee this summer with a Naomi-inspired waistcoat-and-tailored trousers ensemble. Want to make it more casual? Just swap out the trousers for slouchy jeans.

Straight leg jeans + tank top

Jim Smeal

It might not have the same headline-grabbing impact of her famous naked dress, but this low-key Kate Moss look is surely one of the most iconic examples of off-duty model style. Recreate the look with Loewe’s sellout logo tank and Weekday’s Rowe jeans.

Minimalist maxi + heeled sandals

Gwyneth Paltrow and Brad Pitt during Premiere of “The Pallbearer” at Tribeca Film Center in New York City, NY, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images) Ron Galella

I may not be much of a dress-wearer, but this summer I plan on emulating this cream-coloured, ankle-skimming Gwyneth dress, which takes on a particularly ’90s finish with round sunnies and strappy heels. Perfection.


Monochrome separates + chunky mules

LOS ANGELES – JUNE 30: Actress Halle Berry leaving for New York City on June 30, 1998 from Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California. (photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images) Ron Galella, Ltd.

A white shirt is probably one of the most chameleon-like pieces you can own, and it’s sure to deliver a throwback effect when styled with cropped leggings and chunky mules, à la Halle Berry.

Mini dress + flat boots

Lisa Bonet and Corey Parker (Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images) Ron Galella

Chunky boots needn’t be confined to winter – kick them into the summer months like Lisa Bonet with a monochrome mini dress, cap and some ’90s-inspired jewellery. 

Dark shirting + oval sunglasses

CAROLYN BESSETTE WALKING ON MADISON AVENUE (Photo by Lawrence Schwartzwald/Sygma via Getty Images) Lawrence Schwartzwald

Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy made a good case for neutral separates with this effortless look. While we love the black and brown pairing, you can also recreate the outfit with other neutral shades, like cream, beige and white. 

This story was originally published on Vogue UK

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