katon

Super Member
Tried once before but the thread derailed, so I thought I'd try again, now that it's been 25 years since the 90s started.


Who were the taste makers?

What new items entered the look?

A few thoughts:



 
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Tempest

Honors Member
At the very early 90s, Hilfiger was still not a total joke. He had bold his boldly striped OCBD with the flapped chest pockets. Cargo pants entered at the end of the decade.
Everything was oversized. This was the era of relaxed fit jeans and "The Big Shirt." The seminal outerwear would be the little nylon-shell, fleece-line ski jacket by Lands' End, CB or whoever in some bright primary color.
The only footwear of not was the weird "comfort" oxford as made by Rockport. A sneaker disguised as a wingtip. Those braided leather belts were a thing, with the friggin end tucked around and hanging down in front.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
It seemed to me that in the '90s, the problem with trad was, as Tempest said, everything was oversized. So, while today, many of the trad purveyors have trimmed their fits / cuts down too far as they bend to the skinny fashion of the moment, in the '90s, all of them were expanding their fits / cuts to hew to the "big" fashion of the day.

I've had to give away most of my '90s clothes as - even though there were all trad in style and from the names we all know (BB, LE, LLBean, J.Crew, etc.), most of those clothes are just too big and it isn't even about having a tailor tweak them as every part of them is too big - the armholes, the chest, the sleeve or trousers widths, etc.
 

Duvel

Connoisseur
I'm not sure. Most of my items from those names from the 90s actually fit quite well. Then again, they're staple items, nothing to fashion-forward from the time.

It seemed to me that in the '90s, the problem with trad was, as Tempest said, everything was oversized. So, while today, many of the trad purveyors have trimmed their fits / cuts down too far as they bend to the skinny fashion of the moment, in the '90s, all of them were expanding their fits / cuts to hew to the "big" fashion of the day.

I've had to give away most of my '90s clothes as - even though there were all trad in style and from the names we all know (BB, LE, LLBean, J.Crew, etc.), most of those clothes are just too big and it isn't even about having a tailor tweak them as every part of them is too big - the armholes, the chest, the sleeve or trousers widths, etc.
 
Back in the late 80's and early 90's, I still wore Izod Lacoste and PRL. Of course, Izod and Lacoste separated in 1993. In May of the same year (1993) Ralph Lauren introduced the RRL line and, since I worked for the company, received many items for free. So, I started wearing kind of an upscale country look. I had the PRL leather bomber and waxed cotton jackets. With a price tag of $495 back in 1992, I felt like a millionaire when I wore the leather jacket. lol I still regularly wear some of my old PRL shirts from that era and they are virtually indistinguishable from shirts that I have recently purchased.
 

Fading Fast

Connoisseur
I'm not sure. Most of my items from those names from the 90s actually fit quite well. Then again, they're staple items, nothing to fashion-forward from the time.
Re-reading what I wrote, I think I unintentionally exaggerated as I do have some sweaters, sport coats, overcoats and shirts from that period that fit fine, but I absolutely did have to get rid of a meaningful amount of items that were to big (and from companies like Polo in addition to some of the ones listed above). At the time, I would have told you I was buying the same classic look I always wore, but I didn't realize until the 2000s how much the "big" size snuck in.

Just as we've seen BB, Bill's Khakis and others slim their fits / cuts down, I bet if we move back out to normal sizing in several years, some of the things we think of as classic purchases today will prove to be too slim. That said, (and proving that I can talk out of both sides of my mouth), because of this forum, I am being much more careful not to let too much of that happen to me now as it did in the '90s.
 

katon

Super Member
The 90s was basically about grunge style, bad suits, and mom-and-dad Eddie Bauer clothes.
Lands End was at the top of their mom-and-dad Eddie Bauer clothes game, though, even if the Sears buy-out was looming. :)

As described by AA alum, jamgood:
From LE's 'Beyond Buttondowns' Holiday Catalog 1998


(probably www.williamlockie.com and the same shawl would have been $1000 or more at a speciality store)

The same catalogue featured:
An English made hand knotted fringe scarf, woven cashmere reversing to paisley print silk t'other side for $245.
Engravable engine-turned sterling buckle @ $100 (USA)
American Alligator strap for above @ $199 (USA)
USA made camel hair polo coat @ $695
British knit 80% wool OTC argyle socks $20

A few years prior LE had proffered a genuine (sandwiched layers) English made mackintosh Balmacaan raincoat @ $350. Not to mention a Welsh made (Corgi) cashmere argyle v-neck @ $595.

Times change.
 
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Tom Buchanan

Super Member
I don't consider any of the items pictured above to be remotely "Trad."
I agree with this. I do not see how fleece or painters paints are trad.

The great thing about trad, and why this forum is interesting, is that the style does not change much.

As shown by some of the more senior contributors like Billax and Roycru, ivy style clothing is timeless and always looks good. That held true for the 90s as much as the 80s, 70s (well, the 70s might have been a bit odd), 60s, etc. I wore khakis, oxfords, tweed and loafers in the 90s like I do now.

Certain things might come and go from style, and the cut might change, but the look stays pretty uniform. Boat shoes were pretty out in the 90s, and clothes fit a bit baggy, but otherwise no real change for me.
 

katon

Super Member
I agree with this. I do not see how fleece or painters paints are trad.
I can understand that. I suppose it seemed to me like the 90s were when brown ducks finally had the chance to join white ducks at the table after 60 years apart (white ducks being adopted as part of the Princeton "beer suits" in the 1930s), mostly through "Funky Chic" as Tom Wolfe called it. Disaffected Prep wrote about his experience with it in the late 90s. He called it "Crunchy Prep", while others helpfully suggested "Trust-fund Hippie". :)

Disaffected Prep said:
I once posted a comment on Michael Williams’ A Continuous Lean on the subject of Carhartt workwear clothing, as I’ve had my Carhartt duck jacket since prep school. While praising the jacket, I noted the company’s popularity at Bowdoin and without much thought, labeled the look: crunchy prep.

Needless to say, I was quite surprised with the vitriol I inspired when a Brooklyn Graphic Designer responded to my comment with… “’Crunchy Prep’ is about the shallowest term I’ve heard slung around this year.”

B-B-B-B-B-Brooklyn! Vanessa Abrams to my Blair Waldorf! Most Un-Prep!

A little stung at first, though over the course of the day the wound healed into a beam of pride: unwittingly I struck a nerve!

A quick Google search revealed that the apparent neologism had little traction on the web, which lead me thinking, what is Crunchy Prep? While I am no expert in the subject (my camping experience is limited to a pre-orientation trip, whereupon I noshed on GORP and annoyed my fellow campers by relishing in immature prep school stories with my friend Whit), I think there are a few specific items in the satellite of the Crunchy Prep universe.

• Carhartt #B01 Double-Front Work Dungarees
• LL Bean Boots
• NOLS trips (Probably the Road-to-Damascus conversion to Crunchy Prep:::I see the light brahs, and it is SOLAR POWERED!)
• Eco-Liberal politics
• Subaru/Volvo Station wagons
• Northface, Arc’tyrx, Patagonia (a/k/a Fratagonia, Pattagucci)
• Nalgene Bottles
• Threadbare oxford shirts/polos
• For bros: Flow (though slightly greasy – and perhaps dangerously close to ‘overflow’)

Looking back, it’s stunning how similar “crunchy” prep walks and talks like the preppiness as cataloged by Lisa Birnbach in The Official Preppy Handbook back in the ‘80s, or the 1960’s crew-cutted shots from Take Ivy. Why is this? Do crunchy preps simply carry the torch for the OPs – Original Prepsters? Or is this unique movement?

I think yes and no. Just like “Crunchy Conservativism” as articulated by Rod Dreher traces its organic, vegetable-fed roots to Edmund Burke and other Conservative touchstones, “Crunchy Prep” hugs tightly to its prep-progenitor – namely in the outdoors-as-indoors clothing aesthetic and wind-swept sprezzatura guiding its entire ethos. You might even say Crunchy Prep is the truest expression of the (early) Prep style, since the pastel-gauche-fantasia palette of Vineyard Vines seems to have hijacked the look for the moment.

Now, I’m guilty as anyone else, indulging in the overly obnoxious, Lily-Pulitzeration of the prep aesthetic…as any cursory glance into my closet will reveal (Pink AND Green D-Ring belts! Red bowties with sailboats!). But living in New York for four years has weathered my pastels a bit, and my personal style is closer to crunchy prep now – even though I’m 400 miles away from Bowdoin and no where near any hiking trails (the Highline doesn’t count!)

That said, I think the double-reinforced Carhartt pants (paired with a weathered polo for the ultimate ‘uptown/downtown’ look), along with the enviro-centric politics is really unique to crunchy prep.

Am I totally off here? Am I missing any other crunchy prep items? Or is this ridiculous over-analysis just mean I’m pining for my time under the – wait for it...! – Bowdoin pines?
My impression of it is as an extension of the "Rugged Ivy" of the 70s, much like the 80s look was an extension of the look of the 50s and early 60s. Maybe that's a false correlation to make?
 
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SammyH

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
Is this a joke? Those pics in the first post stab at thine eyes.

These....

Who were the taste makers?

What new items entered the look?
...almost sound like trolling? LOL?
 
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Dr. D

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
The best trad aspect of the 90s was that was the last time Brooks was still making their OCBDs the right way: with unlined collars and in a variety of colors of unistripes. Just before Marks and Spencer took over and everything went to hell in a hurry. I am still hanging on for dear life to my 90's unistripes - I think I am down to 6 now.
 

fred johnson

Senior Member
In the 90"s I wore exactly what I wear now except most of it was PRL. I have, over the years replaced most of the PRL OCBD shirts with those from BB & Press in the same colors.
 

Duvel

Connoisseur
As with probably any decade, you just had to be discriminating about where you shopped. Again, though, I don't see how it's much of a decade to talk about in regard to trad/Ivy style. Were there any remarkable achievements for such then? Usually we look back to the 60s and 50s, and rightly so, and, for better or worse, I don't think another decade since offers much.
 

127.72 MHz

Advanced Member
Perhaps I've modified the way I dress since the 90's but I've always preferred traditional U.S.A. men's clothing. Obviously I was younger,...At that time people often said I dressed "Preppy." It's always been basically the same in my opinion.
 
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