Ring Ring! It’s High School fashion calling…

How we look today was influenced greatly by how we dressed in the past


Styles that were once popular are returning – albeit with a twist.

Brayden Tobin , Fashion Editor

Do you know what high school kids wore in the ’90s and beyond? No? Well, let’s take a time machine through the decades and see. Back then, appearance was everything. Trends were set and followed with precision. Oh? Skater/rave core is back, better go buy some JNCO jeans. Everyones wearing them. You don’t have a pair? You can’t sit with us. 

First, let’s throw it back to the ’90s. If you were in high school you either owned a pair of JNCO jeans or desperately wanted a pair. The oversized denim looks were popularized by the hip-hop, skater, and raver subcultures. Boys also wore baggy tees and oversized plaid flannels, a style popularized by Kurt Cobain and the grunge movement. Basic grunge fashion. You either love it or hate to see it.

Teen girl fashion lived in the dELiA‘s catalog, where you could mail order chunky shoes, Courtney Love-inspired baby doll dresses, and spaghetti-strapped tank tops. For girls who want that more feminine look there were maxi skirts and Spice Girls-approved mini-slip dresses, while a tomboy could find baggy pants to be paired with a baggy long sleeve tee or a striped tank top barely grazing the low-rise hemline. Regina George from Mean Girls wore a pink, mini slip dress almost every day. Have I watched that movie 20 times? Yes. Mind your business.

If we were to go back even further we’d be met with big hair, big shoulder, and Big hats. The ’80s were a decade of formality. The girls wore suits and the boys wore denim jackets. Even the dreaded acid wash jean-on-jean look was a thing. Yikes. Anyway, we’re starting to see the 8- make a return in the new upcoming winter season. Those big bold shoulders and wide silhouettes, as well as tuxedo looks are making their well-deserved return to the runway in DIOR and Yves Saint-Laurant. Let’s just hope that denim on denim stays in the ’80s.

 Ring Ring. It’s the 70’s. The decade of corduroy pants and bell-bottom jeans. IT was all very influenced by the hippie movement. Tye dies, earthy tones – mustard yellow, dirt brown, forest green. It was seen in every store window. The ones that were more preppy wore denim miniskirts or trousers that could be paired with a graphic t-shirt, tight sweater, or a patterned button-up. 

The ’60s was where most of our modern, professional looks come from. The ‘Mod’ look was very prominent in the ’60s. Tailored jackets, Miniskirts, business trousers. It was everywhere. It even caused a few tailors to raise prices since they were getting so much business. In the modern-day, we see most of this is the workplace or in corporate-style jobs. It’s not very common in schools anymore unless there’s a strict dress code in place.

Greaser. Grease. No this isn’t the 70’s. Welcome to the ’50s. We got slicked back hair, leather jackets, poodle skirts. Don’t own a poodle skirt? That’s fine, we got Poofy Circle skirts instead! Pair it with a solid-colored sweater or blouse and you’ll have boys staring at your from miles away. 

This last one is my personal favorite. It’s 1940, businesses are in desperate need of workers. WWII has just started. The women of the nation went to work sustaining the household. This is when androgyny was started. Rosie the Riveter inspired a generation of working women with her androgynous style. Rosie’s menswear style spread from young professionals to teen girls within just a few years. A teenage girl raiding her brother’s closet for a button-down shirt to tuck into some wide jeans was very common in these times.

During this era, A-line pleated skirts in solid colors or plaid were also popular but only if they hit below the knee. This era was strict on showing a lot of skin. These skirts could be worn with a tailored jacket or a sweater and button-up blouse with a nice Peter Pan collar. They gave off a professional look while also keeping their feminine styles. These tight sweaters gained massive popularity by Hollywood stars dubbed “sweater girls.” To complete the look and add a bit of femininity to the look, girls slipped on bobby socks and a pair of saddle shoes or loafers.

In 1940, teen boys who graduated high school were usually drafted into the war.  Their adulthood reflected in their fashion. In their teens, boys went from the normal knickers to pleated, high-waisted slacks. Oh, how I wish we could normalize this again.  Their suit jackets were usually double-breasted with wide colors in a blue pinstripe or tan plaid color. These were all very common looks for the men.  Teens shied away from gray suits due to the “businessman” connotation. If boys didn’t opt for a suit, they wore cardigans and v-neck sweaters over dress shirts with their high-waisted slacks. The 40’s fashion; with the androgenous style in women to the simplistic looks in men really need to make a return. 

The ’30s, ’20s, and before did have some impact on modern-day style. Silk, fringe, and thrifty clothes were very popular in those decades. Not many people were educated back then and it was seen as normal. The ones that did go to high school had to meet a dress code, so there wasn’t much diversity. 

Do you see how influential the past years are to the fashion world? There is a reference to every single decade in our modern-day. Don’t get used to seeing denim jeans, graphic tees, and…questionable TikTok fashion trends. The future is full of changes and mysteries that no one can predict accurately. Just wait. In 20 more years, we could have holographic shirts that display images that move around you while you wear them. We’ll have shoes that twinkle in 3d. Who knows, we’ll just have to wait and see.