The resurgence of '90s fashion over the last few years has brought back everything from plaid to grunge, inspiring many of us to look like we're characters in Empire Records or headed to a Nirvana concert. Personally, as a '90s baby, I'm a much bigger fan of the '90s look than the Y2K look, so my closet is filled with retro pieces that I've thrifted or swiped from my mom and brother. But do you know what people too often forget when they're styling their 90s 'fits? The shoes.
When you're going for an all-around retro look, you have to pay attention to every detail, and shoes are a huge necessity. And, sure, leather boots and pumps have always been popular and match with just about everything, but if you're looking to party like it's 1999, then why not go all the way? Sell it and pick a shoe that's straight out of the greatest decade of all time (I'm biased). Below, some essential categories.
To me, these platform sandals induce a sudden surge of nostalgia. Get very late 90s/early 2000s with a pair of chunky Madden slip-ons, or try one of these other retro fits. Personally, I love a good platform sandal in black: They match with everything, and the added height lends a funky flair to even the simplest of outfits.
From the dad sneaker to the platform sneaker to the pair of Jordans, '90s sneakers were all about the chunky, sometimes oversized-looking fit. Go classic and unisex with a pair of Jordans or Nike Air Maxes, or spice it up with a more contemporary, colorful pair.
I absolutely lived in jelly sandals as a little kid, and am delighted to discover that adult versions exist. This style is just plain fun, and adds a youthful touch to any outfit. Grab them in the classic, fully transparent style, or go for a more colorful, opaque look.
These minimalist sandals add a touch of a class to the tried-and-true flip-flop with their short heel. When I was in elementary school, I had a pair of these with a big ol' rose attached to the top, and I—no lie—miss them every day.
This trend survived well into the early 2000s. Clogs, with their clunky-chic look and the distinctive sound they make (talk about making an entrance!), are set to make a comeback this year. Grab a pair in classic black or in a more subdued beige, tan, or light pink color, and pair with a floral midi skirt for the full '90s/Y2K look.
Gabrielle Ulubay is an E-Commerce Writer at Marie Claire and writes about all things beauty, sexual wellness, and fashion. She's also written about sex, gender, and politics for publications like The New York Times, Bustle, and HuffPost Personal since 2018. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, including two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy. As a film school graduate, she loves all things media and can be found making art when she's not busy writing.
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