The Best of Trashy Style in ’90s Film

Tracking the ultimate cinema icons of 90s 'bad taste'

A character’s style can turn a decent film into a cult classic and what better way to develop an enigmatic protagonist than a cool af costume. Let’s be honest, ‘good taste’ is boring. Chic minimalism certainly has its place in Fashion but instead we have selected some of the best films that embraced the brash, immodest, grungey or perfectly OTT glamour of the 90s, because no-one wants to play the goody-two-shoes role. These are the boldest looks on the coolest characters during Fashion’s golden era – that we are still channeling today.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, 1998

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the trippiest film of the 1990s and that goes for the styling too. Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro’s wild journey to Las Vegas features an array of Hawaiian shirts, colorful shades and random hats. We don’t need mescaline to be down with these looks.

Wild at Heart, 1990

David Lynch’s Wild at Heart is defined by Nicholas Cage’s insanely amazing python blazer and Laura Dern’s bountiful locks. Willem Dafoe’s character, Bobby Peru also has an appropriately creepy guise in black leather and a pencil thin moustache. Obsessed.

Kids, 1995

Larry Clark’s debut film, Kids, is a dark depiction of New York teens. The grungey style of the skaters, misfits and young rebels is exactly as DGAF as we aspire to be. The movie also graced us with the presence of Chloe Sevigny for the first time.

La Haine, 1995

The French film is the ultimate study in 90s streetwear. La Haine’s leading men roam the violent suburbs of Paris wearing full tracksuits, camouflage cargopants, bomber jackets and plenty of jewellery – perhaps today’s Berlin youth owe their style to these bad boys.

The Fifth Element, 1997

Luc Besson chose the right man for the job when it came to creating outlandish costumes for each character in The Fifth Element – Jean Paul Gaultier. From Leeloo’s iconic outfits (still a Halloween favourite) to Chris Tuckers animal print extravaganza, right down to the most glam McDonalds cashiers ever.

The Craft, 1996

The girl gang of witches in The Craft schooled us with a number of ways to customise a uniform in 1996. The group’s ruthless leader Nancy, played by Fairuza Balk, is what we consider a goth beauty icon of the decade.

Casino, 1995

Sharon Stone consistently slays in ostentatious gowns, dripping in jewels as Ginger in Casino, set in the 1970s. The continuous evolution of her hair style is as thrilling as the film itself.

Jawbreaker, 1999

Clueless may be many Fashion lovers go-to 90s film, however, we would contend that Jawbreaker, with Rose McGowan’s cropped cardigans, navel-baring capri pants and coordinating neckerchiefs is the ultimate bad girls look from the decade.

True Romance, 1993

Alabama, played by Patricia Arquette is a figure that every lover of bad taste can relate to. Her wardrobe includes a turquoise bra, skin-tight pink leopard trousers and cow print skirt, reminding people everywhere that vulgarity is hot.

To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, 1995

Too many epic looks to mention are donned by Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo as three drag queens on a road trip in To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julia Newmar. Vida, Noxeema and Chi-Chi make us want to dive straight into marabou, sequins and elbow length silk gloves asap.

Romeo and Juliet, 1996

Baz Luhrmann’s take on the tragic Shakespear tale of Romeo and Juliet could not be cooler. Set in Verona Beach, the cast’s wardrobe is pretty unforgettable, especially those of the story’s gangs. The wild Montagues run riot wearing beautifully gaudy open shirts while their Capulet rivals are clad in tight leather.

Cry Baby, 1990

This list would not be complete without an installment from the self-proclaimed ‘Pope of Trash’, writer and director John Waters. Not quite as nuts as his earlier work, Cry Baby released in 1990, is an homage to 50s teen exploitation films that provide us plenty of rock ‘n roll style and attitude.

The Doom Generation, 1995

Rose McGowan strikes again, and this time she has us trawling eBay for a version of her transparent plastic raincoat in The Doom Generation. While many believe the sharp black bob is a hairstyle that is most famously worn by Pulp Fiction’s Mia, we would like to argue that in her role as the cool Amy Blue, McGowan is the true style icon.

Hackers, 1995

The group of teens in Hackers reminds us Camden Market’s heyday. Baggy trousers, tight trousers, PVC, straps, zips and the essential oversized wallet chains make this film a Cyberpunk styling masterpiece.

Natural Born Killers, 1994

Two lovers become psychopathic serial killers in the crime drama Natural Born Killers. Woody Harelson and Juliette Lewis embody the unhinged duo, Mickey and Mallory Knox in various wonderfully trashy blood splattered outfits.

Tank Girl, 1995

It may have been widely panned but in the film based on the comic book, Tank Girl, the outfits just keep on coming; military, punk and futuristic references collide with a plethora of wild hair and make-up looks that will make even the shyest wallflower want to experiment.

Fight Club, 1999

The 1999 film forgot to mention the second rule of Fight Club, you must dress like a bad boy. If Brad Pitt’s perfectly sleazy jacket alone doesn’t draw you in, the minimal buttoning of his shirt will secure your attention.

Trainspotting, 1996

Heroin chic shouldn’t be a thing, but it is. The characters of Irvine Welsh’s cult classic, Trainspotting rock some seriously shrunken vests, ill-fitting suits and generally bad-ass looks throughout the movie, depicting a gritty tale of drug addicts in Leith.

Charlie Casely-Hayford Does Fine Tailoring for TOPMAN