Each decade comes with its own unique set of fashion trends and aesthetics. The ‘60s, for instance, was all about avant-garde and skin-revealing garments while the ‘80s largely centered around bold hues and silhouettes. In reaction to this decade’s showiness, fashion girls and celebrities then embraced minimalist outfits in the ‘90s. The era’s hallmark looks zeroed in on clean lines and classic styles — think slip dresses, tank tops, and the perfect pair of blue jeans — all of which are still as relevant as ever today.
What made ‘90s minimalism so enticing to wear, too, was that many It stars rocked the look. Take supermodel Cindy Crawford, whose past imitable style continues to live on the proverbial fashion mood boards today. (Even her daughter Kaia Gerber often wears outfits that resemble her mother’s ensembles from the ‘90s.) Meanwhile, Tracee Ellis Ross’ look from 1999, which you’ll see below, was a great example of how one can incorporate a pop of color into an understated ensemble. Not surprisingly, all these A-listers, and more, who rocked the ‘90s minimalist trend also happen to be part of the current sartorial zeitgeist.
Ahead, see several celebrities in their ‘90s looks, which have stood the test of time. If you fall in love with an outfit, too, simply shop the accompanying products to recreate it.
In 1990, Roberts’ boxy suit by Giorgio Armani, pictured above, was a brilliant look at the 47th Golden Globe Awards. (That night, she won Best Supporting Actress for her role in Steel Magnolias, which was her first major award.) In a 2014 interview with InStyle, Roberts endearingly revealed that she bought this gray suit off the rack at a store: “I loved the shape of it. For me, this was the epitome of being dressed up.”
Crawford’s chic and effortless airport outfit from 1991 would still look put together and on trend today. She sported a pair of straight-leg jeans, a black turtleneck, a matching leather blazer, and pointed-toe brown boots — classic pieces that often make up a capsule wardrobe.
Today’s minimalist dressers often glean inspiration from Paltrow’s easy-glam, off-duty ‘90s ensembles. This streamlined outfit from 1998, for example, is a look that certainly deserves a revisit. (The actor wore it to a Beck concert.) She rocked a dark gray cami top, a linen pencil skirt, and a pair of strappy black kitten heels.
Aniston’s minimalist outfits from the ‘90s provide a good blueprint for how you should dress, if you’re a fan of the aesthetic and her. For starters, copy her look from the 1995 VH1 Honors event, which included a pair of black trousers, a barely-there crochet cardigan, and a lacy balconette bra underneath. You’ll notice Aniston’s top is virtually indistinguishable from today’s modern sultry cardigan styles.
Tracee Ellis Ross
Ross started out as a model in the ‘90s and nailed the fashion game from the start. Here, her pairing of sleek beige trousers with a scarlet red tank top made for a simple and impactful look. Ross’ ensemble, too, proved that minimalist outfits don’t always have to follow an all-neutral color palette.
In 1993, Moss wore a slip dress to the Elite Model Agency’s Look of the Year party and instantly made history in the transparent number. She teamed it with nothing but black underwear, plus what appears to be a pair of matching thong sandals. Three decades later, the sheer fashion trend is still going strong. (The supermodel herself recently sported a nearly identical party dress in November 2022.)