The Best '90s Prom Dress Trends That Make Us Want To Relive The Decade (2024)

  • The Best '90s Prom Dress Trends That Make Us Want To Relive The Decade (1)

    Photo: She's All That / Miramax Films




    The Spaghetti Strap Dress

    What Is It? Simply put, they're dresses with spaghetti straps. In the '90s, these dresses often came in the form of slip dresses or slightly less formal short dresses.

    Would We Rock It Today?Sure, plenty of gowns today have spaghetti straps (see Paris Hilton's 2024 Grammys look). However, the slip dress combo and other '90s trends aren’t nearly as popular these days.

    Where You've Seen It: Where haven't we seen it? After Laney's arguably unnecessary makeover in She's All That, she dons a simple red spaghetti strap number.

    Meanwhile, red carpets were choc-full of celebs sporting this look. At the 1991 Grammys, Mariah Carey wore a stunning black velvet dress with rhinestone spaghetti straps. Fashionista Tyra Banks also approved of the look with her frost-blue gown at the 1995 CFDA Awards.

    33 votes

  • The Best '90s Prom Dress Trends That Make Us Want To Relive The Decade (2)

    Photo: Full House / ABC

    What Is It? Off-the-shoulder dresses are often low-cut gowns ranging from mini to long trains featuring a range of short-sleeved styles that come down right below the shoulders.

    Would We Rock It Today?The off-the-shoulder dress is a timeless staple that exists today in designs that could have easily been plucked straight from the '90s — like Angela Bassett's 2024 Golden Globes look.

    Where You've Seen It: D.J. Tanner Stunned in an off-the-shoulder form-fitting prom minidress in Full House. Even Princess Diana got in on this trend with her legendary “revenge dress” at the 1994 Vanity Fair Party. The black off-the-shoulder minidress ushered Diana into an all-new era. Talk about a statement piece. Meanwhile, Geena Davis donned a long striking red off-the-shoulder dress at the 1990 Academy Awards.

    16 votes

  • The Best '90s Prom Dress Trends That Make Us Want To Relive The Decade (3)

    Photo: Dawson's Creek / The WB




    The Dress Worn With A Shawl

    What Is It? More often than not, people wore shawls they draped around their shoulders to accompany '90s dresses of any style. Sometimes they were the same color and sometimes the colors clashed a bit, but it was one of the most popular formal accessories of the decade.

    Would We Rock It Today?It's not nearly as common today, but you can still get shawls for your formal needs.

    Where You've Seen It: With a look this common, you'd see it at any formal event - on the screen, during red carpets, and at every prom ever. In Dawson's Creek, Joey wears a teal scarf to (mis)match her purple spaghetti strap dress.

    On the red carpet, Clueless star Alicia Silverstone rocked this look with a tulle shawl to accent her white Vera Wang dress at the 1996 Oscars. Faith Hill had a lilac shawl that perfectly matched her dress at the 1999 American Music Awards. Meanwhile, Uma Thurman wore a sheer white shawl to spice up her frost blue Prada dress at the 1995 Oscars.

    14 votes

  • The Best '90s Prom Dress Trends That Make Us Want To Relive The Decade (4)

    Photo: Clueless / Paramount Pictures




    The Velvet Dress

    What Is It? You might be able to guess by the name that these are simply dresses made of velvet. A popular style at the time was short, dark red spaghetti strap slip dresses, but they come in a ton of shapes, colors, and sizes.

    Dark purples were also common, as were blacks to fit in with the decade's dark aesthetic. There's even the schoolgirl iteration that pairs the velvet with collars.

    Would We Rock It Today? It's certainly not as prevalent as it was back in the '90s, but you can still find velvet dresses pretty regularly. They’re not as much a red carpet or prom staple but have since become a slightly more casual choice for winter events.

    Where You've Seen It: Fashion icon Dionne in Clueless rocks a collared red velvet dress - because every day in Beverly Hills requires high fashion. Wednesday Addams is also known for her black velvet collared dress to school. Even more common in the '90s than velvet dresses were velvet spaghetti strap tank tops and crop tops - a staple on shows with a dark aesthetic like Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    It's not just a ‘90s on-screen staple, though. Velvet dresses were just as common on the red carpet. Winona Ryder rocked a purple velvet slip dress in 1993 that mixed three ’90s trends: goth, slip dresses, and velvet. Lisa Kudrow emulated a similar vibe at the 1995 SAG Awards with a black velvet dress fitted with a legit cape. Gwyneth Paltrow even rocked a red velvet suit at the 1996 VMAs. Velvet is nothing if not versatile.

    28 votes

  • The Best '90s Prom Dress Trends That Make Us Want To Relive The Decade (5)

    Photo: Cruel Intentions / Sony Pictures Releasing




    The Black Or Goth Dress

    What Is It? The black dress goth trend spans the gamut of styles and aesthetics with features including mesh, pleather, dark velvet colors, black lace, chokers, and cross accessories.

    Would We Rock It Today?Long live rock and roll - and the goth aesthetic. This look definitely still exists today, but it's more of a goth subculture than a broad trend. We still love black mesh and dark velvet, but we'll never quite recapture the particular '90s magic of the time.

    Where You've Seen It: Angsty Youths and preps alike sported this particular look. Whether it was Sarah Michelle Gellar's twisted Cruel Intentions character Kathryn (and her co*ke-filled cross necklace) or Gellar's character Buffy on the vampire-slaying TV show, this look appealed to everyone. Even Beverly Hills Queen B Cher Horowitz has a goth-inspired mesh look in Clueless.

    Celebs were in on the striking trend, too. Kate Hudson wore a mesh top paired with a black slit skirt at the 1998 MTV Music Awards. Winona Ryder catered to horror buffs both on and off the screen with her striking looks - including her 1997 Academy Awards sheer black dress that's giving us all the Lydia Deetz vibes. Meanwhile, Liv Tyler's elegant black dress with long mesh sleeves from the 1995 MTV VMAs is a classic take on the look.

    14 votes

  • The Best '90s Prom Dress Trends That Make Us Want To Relive The Decade (6)

    Photo: Buffy the Vampire Slayer / 20th Century Fox




    The Corset Dress

    What Is It? They may not be the most comfortable dresses in the world, but corset dresses definitely get the job done when it comes to cinching the waist and accentuating cleavage. These dresses don't necessarily have to have a removable corset or even a back that ties. They just need boning that gives off the corset look.

    Would We Rock It Today?This is still a popular trend today, with a modernized look (now, there's often see-through boning at the midriff). Gone are the poofy ruffles and polka dots.

    Where You've Seen It: Before the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show premiered, Kristy Swanson led the movie of the same name. During the prom scene, she wears a white corset dress adorned with flowers, polka dots, and a hefty amount of tulle.

    In 1999, Pamela Anderson went the traditional route with a white corset paired with glittery see-through pants and a hideous pink fluffy feathered hat. Geena Davis also wore the look with a white satin dress paired with a massive train in 1992. '90s twin staples Tia & Tamera wore their own flowery versions of the corset dress look in 1999.

    31 votes

The Best '90s Prom Dress Trends That Make Us Want To Relive The Decade (2024)
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