During the lockdown, I decided to take a trip down memory lane and sort out my childhood photo albums with the mission of digitalising them. In the process, I had a revelation when I noticed the uncanny similarity in the outfits of then vs. now. Noticing not many differences in the styles, the clothes I wore as a ’90s child are almost alike to the trending ones I wear as an adult in the 21st century.
Back in the day, we did not have the liberty to dress by ourselves and choose the outfits we would want to buy. All our sartorial choices were a reflection of our parents’ taste (good or bad). If you got lucky and your mother was all about fashion, you would have surely donned some pretty cute outfits! Nevertheless, the clothes produced then were limited in their style and most of us have probably worn similar outfits.
The Peter Pan collar dresses that I wore to school, colourful jelly sandals that I stomped into puddles, elegant lace frocks worn at fancy events, these are some of the styles that are reminiscent of my toddler phase. Like me, if you find yourself wishing you could fit into them again, just open your closet and you are sure to find at least 1 similar outfit. Although, of course not identical, the styles today are more current with tweaks here and there. However, it gets you nostalgic and makes you wish to do the challenge where you replicate your childhood photos!
We all have a few staple wardrobe essentials that are more relevant to the current fashion styles that we can’t do without. But the styles from our childhood are favourites we can relate to. It also goes to show how trends have a way of coming back and some just never go out of style!
Behold, 8 items from my childhood that I still love to wear:
A signature style in the ’80s and ’90s, these were evident in children’s wear as well. I recall puff sleeves being an integral part of the elaborate frocks my mum would dress me in for birthdays or special events. A simple puff does the trick of making an outfit fancier. I still fondly remember my 5th birthday frock in navy blue suede with puff-sleeves and a beautiful bow on the waist. Currently, this sleeve style is trending more than ever on flowy dresses and fitted tops. It instantly makes a simple outfit more elaborate and a go-to for when we want to look casual yet a bit stylish!
2) Peter Pan Collar
The famous Peter Pan collars have been on our clothes ever since we were a few months old. Be it onesies, little dresses, or uniforms, the collar style was on almost all our attire. Flat and detailed, the purpose was to usually add a more sophisticated look. However, I don’t believe this trend entirely faded. It is more prominent now, especially in the gothic style. We see the Peter Pan collar worn more in blouses and dresses, it adds a decorative finish around the neckline that elevates the look.
3) Hair Accessories
As little girls, we are attracted to anything that is colourful, shiny and pretty! Although taming my hair was never an issue thanks to its silkiness, I loved accessorising! I wanted all the pretty ribbons, clips and hair ties in the world. Making a half pony, and securing it with a perfectly placed bow was my signature hairstyle. It makes you feel like a little princess. Pretty bows are a must till date and look great on adults as they do on little ones. It helps that there are so many accessory stores that make our inner-child happy with the variety available. Bows and clips are perfect to complement a special hair-do, and even work as a saviour on those bad hair days!
4) Pleated Mini-Skirt
The standard protocol in most schools—girls wear skirts and boys wear trousers. As a result, our introduction to pleated skirts was as part of our uniform. We never paid attention to the style potential these skirts had since we were forced to wear them every single day. Looking back, I appreciate the femininity and grace it brought to my look. Even though they aren’t part of our daily repertoire, pleated skirts have become a major fashion trend. Despite the varying lengths they come in, styling a mini-skirt is the most fun and sexy!
5) Jelly Sandals
Who could guess that jelly sandals would find their back into the sartorial agenda? Not me. As a child, I had no problem with these, they were glittery, pink, comfortable and indestructible. We could splash in puddles and play in the mud without any worries. Also, matching them never seemed to be an issue back then either, and they look adorable on a child’s feet. As an adult, I find it difficult to implement their resurgence. However, they have their fair share of benefits. Jelly sandals are practical, they give you no blisters, and you have plenty of options to choose from! Check out the ones by fashion houses Giorgio Armani and Alexa Chung for inspiration to style them with suits and be on-trend with nostalgic dressing.
6) Frills & Lace
Lace is ethereal, it surpasses generations in fashion and is always timeless in any outfit. Dressing your child in embroidered lace and frills was a sign of opulence and a reflection of your position in the society. Even though this does not apply anymore, wearing lace executes richness and elegance like no other material. The special occasion outfit as a child always had lace and frills in it. This still applies, as a grown-up, all our special dresses comprise of embroidery and lace.
7) High-waist Jeans
Paper-bag style with drawstrings in washed-out denim was the choice of bottoms commonly worn by children in the ’90s. Tucked into a colourful or printed tee, and paired with velcro sneakers, it was the comfortable outfit chosen by parents. We all know how high-waisted jeans have made a comeback and are more popular than ever. The washed-out effect and paper-bag waistline are trending styles which are a blast from the past. The only difference now is that we can pair our denim with more chic tops and fancy footwear compared to sneakers and t-shirts!
Toddlers in itsy bitsy overalls are the cutest thing ever. A staple style since years, overalls are worn by the utility industry, kids and adults. It is a style that doesn’t belong to any particular group. Most of us have worn denim overalls or a pinafore at some point in our childhood. They seem to so a popular clothing item manufactured for kids. Additionally, for adults, we see variations in the form of different colours and styles. Overalls never went out of trend to make a comeback, it is a clothing item that is adaptable to all ages and professions!
What’s your favourite clothing item from your childhood? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
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