Back in the Day: 1996 – 1997

There were so many amusing photographs from the late 90’s that I had to break it down into a couple of posts. Today I am sharing some of my outfit choices from the years 1996 and 1997. It was a time that I am rather nostalgic about. I was all over the Britpop scene and the Gallagher brothers rocked my world. There was cool Britannia in the air, and I enjoyed getting creative with my look.

Of course, this was a not a smooth route to take as a teenager at school. I was not conforming to the standard look of bootcut jeans with a Sweatershop jumper. I was not fitting in with the crowd and I was bullied for it. But I tried to ignore the nasty comments written on the girls toilet walls, and the shoving and teasing in the corridor. Yes, I wore a silver Bomber jacket with a single blonde streak in my hair. And yes, I totally stood out. But I enjoyed being creative with my look and that was that.

I wish I could say the bullying didn’t have any impact on my life. But that would be a lie. It did. And I am sad that it happened. But I also know that I am not alone. For a while I felt like the only girl at school who enjoyed looking different, who would devour magazines searching for new trends to try out, who would plan every school disco outfit with a little sketch in the back of her Maths book. But I realise now, there were many out there just like me.

There are many of my favourite outfits not included here because I just didn’t have the pocket money for camera film. But let me assure you, the multi-coloured swirly shirt that I paired with hot-pants and 5 inch platforms looked awesome.

1996 – This was a time when you still had to wear a suit to wedding. It was a much more formal occasion that just wearing the latest floral Monsoon number. My Gran dragged me down to Bay Clothing Co. (remember them?) to get this lovely lightly blue shift dress and long jacket. Of course, I had to dress it up my own way with black patent 5-inch platforms and a pvc bag. Incidentally, I still have that suit hanging in my wardrobe – it hasn’t been worn for years, but I kind of like it.


1996 – No style commentary of the 90’s would be complete without an obligatory checked/plaid/lumberjack shirt. I loved this one so much. It was from River Island and had blanket stitching all around the edges which I thought looked quite unique. What you can’t see in this photograph is the lime green crop top I am wearing underneath. Oh, those were the days!


1997 – It was birthday (yes, it is right after Christmas hence the Crimbo tree) and I had discovered the Wonderbra. This was its first outing and I couldn’t believe the uplift – I felt like my little boobs were right under my chin! Ahem. I had spent my birthday money on some gorgeous indigo denim bootcut jeans, and some Jerome Russell hair bleach, which is why my streak looks so orange. I had also read about doing the smokey eye and pale lips, so I was rather pleased with my make-up for the evening.


1997 – I had read in Cosmo that models scraped their hair back to show off their bone structure. I wasn’t sure if I had bone structure but I did it anyway because I thought it made me look sophisticated. I then ruin this by wearing a slinky nightie as a dress. I liked the pattern so wore it over my bootcut jeans and 5-inch platform heels. You get a sneaky peek at my teenage bedroom here. Oasis-mad at the time, and a rather bizarre New Years Resolution on the cupboard. Apparently I wanted to eat less. *sigh* Oh dear.


1997 – or it could be 1996. I’m not sure. Nevertheless, it was all about trainers with a platform and crop tops. And yes, I was a total poser back then. This was a time when Trafalgar Square was one big giant roundabout.


1997 – Heart-shaped sunglasses. Need I say more? I was sunglasses crazy back then. I had all sorts of shapes and colours, but these heart-shaped ones were the best. I am gutted that I lost them.

1997  – Yes, I am wearing black lace flares. Those are my bikini bottoms underneath. I thought that was perfectly acceptable. Oh, how I must have exasperated my parents. But not once did they ever tell what I could and could not wear. They knew I was expressing something. Here I am not sure what I am expressing, but I matched the lace flares with a cute asymmetric top and did my hair in those mini buns like Bjork did. There is a possibility I may have drunk a couple of cans of Hooch on this evening. It was my best friend’s birthday and Radiohead were headlining Glastonbury that night. One of the best nights ever.


Do you remember 1996/97? How was it for you?


  1. Oh my gosh I think I had that same pale blue suit. I only threw it out the other day because I just knew I wouldn’t ever wear it again. Those lace flares are simply rad.

  2. At my school, I was the only kid in Sweater Shop jumpers and jeans, while everyone else loved Oasis and high heeled loafers. If we’d swapped places, we’d probably have had a much better school life!

    Those lace flares are amazing by the way.

    1. High heeled loafers! Yes, I remember those, although I insisted on wearing the same trashed lace-ups for 3 years running.

  3. Haha brilliant!!! I would love to look through all my old pics but they are all back in N.Ireland in my mum’s house! x

  4. 1996-1997 were pretty special for me. I was in my first year at sixth form at school and able to wear what I pleased. Which was mainly made up of checked shirts, doc martins, short cut-off jeans with black tights. Ah the joy! Those were good years!
    P.S I had the John lennon type glasses and my bedroom was pretty similar (covered in The Verve and Stone Roses posters instead)…
    Great post, you’ve took me back to a great time xx


    I was 15 in 1997, and so just beginning to go out to clubs (under-18s to begin with, then very quickly normal ones).I remember a lot of Bay Trading skirts (very similar to that dress) and vest top combinations, a trouser suit a la Billie piper with Denim, butterfly patterned, wooden healed wedges, maxi dresses, Sketchers shoes (which i still by the pump style trainers of) and coloured denim jackets. I will try to find some pictures!

  6. Ooh I had a lace blouse and was so proud because it was from TOPSHOP rather than Tammy Girl. I would have grown our of the monkey boots and wrap skirts (which I kept coming back to) and have been in moleskin jeans, plaid shirts and combat trousers. I was even bought a crop tip which I refused to wear.

    I mostly wore bootcut jeans/flares bought on expeditions to that London, vans trainers (I was ahead of my time) and little tee shirts. I had some cool t shirts.

    Oh it takes me back. The best t-shirt I had was a Have a Nice Day one my brother got me, or one with manga all over it – but I think my manga t shirts and camden vintage days were in 1998-99.

    Thanks for sharing and bringing back memories. Including (cringe) of an ill fated SHORT hair cut which when coupled with my massive purple glasses was so not a good look.

  7. Oh, so much of this strikes a chord with me: I particularly remember “slinky nightdress as dress”, although it was my best friend who did that one, rather than me (I was totally jealous, though). The photo with the lace flares is AWESOME.

  8. Oh my days….how I both chuckled and nodded my head at the fashions….brought back some memories! I too wore a similar outfit to a wedding once….shiny 90s dress, similar jacket and very, very similar shoes….oh the days when it meant formality!

    I wasnt as brave satorially as you, so I was one of those sweatershop jumper wearing kinds….I also loved a good bit of floral and plaid….one of my favourite outfits was a lilac mohair jumper, floral button down skirt and long sleeved collared shirt….guess who was a fan of clueless! Oh, and I had a long sand coloured dress which I wore with matching sand coloured heeled desert boots…..which have come back into fashion and I giggled when I saw an identical pair in New Look recently!

    Oh, how I miss the 90s and my complete lack of fashion sense!

  9. Oh I’m loving these posts so much!

    I also used to plan my school disco outfits with sketches in the back of my ‘rough work’ exercise books.

    Can also check off the slinky nighty dress, platforms, but not quite as brave as you just had a lace top rather than the flares.

  10. Wow I never knew lace flares existed… Awesome! Aah I’ve just had a horrible flashback of Sweatershop jumpers, thanks! 😉

  11. loove looking at old photos and seeing what I wore! It makes me worry that I might be doing that again in ten years, but I’m crossing my fingers that nothing can be as bad as 80s and 90s trends!

  12. Oh yes, I remember all of these things well. AND I had to high heel loafers too. And stack platforms. And platform trainers. Oddly though I was madly into the 60s/70s scene so didn’t look very 90s quite a lot of the time, rather a bit Mod.

    Slogan tight t-shirts were my weakness (and still are) I had a Little Miss one, very cropped!

    I actually quite like the 90s for style. I just think that perhaps because it’s this generation’s ‘what I wore as a teen’ phase, it lacks retro appeal. I prefer it to the bland, greige early 2000s, certainly; at least the 90s had a ‘look’ of their own.

  13. This could so easily be my life you’re writing about! I too was the lone wolf in the school corridors, a grunge salmon swimming against the rave tide.

    I am heading straight home after work to look out my own photos!

  14. Ok, ok, I was totally all ready to comment on the crop top and jeans thing… then the lace flares! Yes! Never had them myself but I remember those! Me and my friends had lace dresses which I wore with contrasting underwear underneath (yup bright blue just to make sure it could be seen!!)

    Loving all these pics by the way!!

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