The 1990s Preppy Chic Look Is Back For Women

In the 2000s and 2010s, everyone was nostalgic about the 1970s and 1980s. Now that we’re in the middle of the 2020s, everyone misses the 1990s and early 2000s instead. Aging Gen X and Millennials are now longing for the preppy chic look in women’s fashion.

They watch cinema of the Nineties era, listen to Nineties music move from grunge angst to bubblegum pop music of girl groups and boy bands, and then remember the preppy look of everyone in the early 1990s.

The Uptick in ’90s Nostalgia

Even Millennials too young to remember the preppy chic age because they were born in the 1990s fall in love with preppy fashion through movies and TV shows of the decade.

  • A Fresh Look: The fresh preppy look can be seen in iconic shows ranging from Beverly Hills 90210 to Friends (R.I.P. to Matthew Perry, by the way). Women wearing this particular type of chic injects a sense of worry-free wistfulness, before 9-11 or even the COVID-19 lockdowns.
  • A Crisp Look and Simple Style: Preppy fashion emphasizes classic silhouettes with a simple styling. Nothing too busy and clothing layers are limited unless it’s winter fashion and you have no choice. Girls can indulge in a crisp, button-up just fine.
  • Persistent Preppy Fashion: Even as Grunge took over youth fashion with the same anti-fashion and anti-establishment attitude as punk rock before it, preppy fashion chic remained its foil or the other side of the 1990s fashion coin.
  • The Barbie Aesthetic: The billion-dollar success of the Barbie movie has also given rise to more ladylike or feminine fashion as opposed to unisex or androgynous ones. Preppy chic can be quite androgynous too, so give it a modern 2024 flair by adding femininity to it, like a bow.
  • Bows, Halters, Laces, and Pinkness: Pink or red serve as the perfect accents for the muted fashion of the preppy look. These can come in the form of bows or even ballerina fashion. Or you can hold back to keep that easy-breezy minimalist feel.
  • Muted Tones are Hip Again: Preppy fashion is partly the result of women rebelling against the ostentatious presentation of the 1980s with big hair, shoulder pads, or loud colors. Muted colors with minimalism is now in. Fewer clothing articles rule the day in 2024.
  • Less is More: With preppy looks or chic, less is more. Emulate that classic ’90s look by wearing the fresh wardrobe you’d expect someone like Rachel, Monica, or Phoebe would wear on the set of “Friends”. It’s a more practical, straight-laced, and versatile wardrobe.


Out with ’80s nostalgia and in with ’90s nostalgia. Fashion of the era went from the neon pastels of early ’90s kitsch to plaid jackets and polo shirts of the mid-’90s. However, the preppy look persisted even in the Grunge Era of music. This chic fit with many a high school girl, from Valley Girls to wannabe fashionistas and everyone in between.