On 90s Style, Baggy Jeans
Before all the TikTok hullabaloo over Gen Z bashing millennials for our love of skinny jeans, I was just out here remembering my 4th grade wardrobe with nostalgia. Among my silver crossover sandals, windbreakers, cropped tank tops, and Marvin the Martian-emblazoned glasses was a cherished pair of baggy jeans.
I would say 4th grade was my sartorial awakening. I had always been particular about my clothing and accessories, but nine years old was when I really started paying attention to the world of fashion. And in 1999, baggy jeans were in. Unfortunately, they would be out by the time I entered the 5th grade, sending me into turmoil.
Yes, it was thrilling to participate in a collective fashion culture, and to realize that fashion was a kind of non-verbal language – a way to connect across clique and demographic. But turning my gaze outward to trends meant that I also became preoccupied with keeping up with them.
As soon as baggy jeans were out, I stopped wearing them. I knew in my heart I still loved them, but my preteen self couldn’t risk being shamed. I was already on the margins of fashion culture because my mom wouldn’t/couldn’t buy me expensive brands like Limited Too. It would be too much to bear if I was ridiculed for my baggy jeans.
Here I am, 23 years later, once again wearing baggy jeans. I bought them because I saw them on a website in November and they seemed cool. I bought them because I remembered that first spark of joy at being able to share in the language of fashion. And I bought them, at some level, because they’re trendy again.
At the age of 32, will I be able to hold onto my sense of self when the tides inevitably turn again? Will I be able to keep saying yes to what I have always loved even when the world turns to ridicule?
Someday, these jeans will represent a challenge of identity. Today, they’re just a nice pair of pants.