In the ‘90s, we had our pick of powerful females in music, in films, and on TV to be inspired by. This year, take a trip down memory lane and recreate one of the iconic looks of these badass ladies for your Halloween festivities. Best part is you can probably put together most of these throwback outfits from items hidden away in your closet.
Gwen Stefani of No Doubt
Quintessential Gwen was her breaking through the music scene as No Doubt’s ska-influenced lead singer, belting out her feminist anthem “Just a Girl” in her pre-L.A.M.B. tomboy style. Look no further than the band’s “Spiderwebs” music video for an instantly recognizable look to emulate: white cropped tank top, emblazoned with “Gwen” in gothic font; a black bra, straps showing; and red or green plaid pants with black suspenders hanging down. Add Dr. Martens, faux-leather cuffs, a bleached blonde ponytail, Gwen’s signature crimson lips, and you’re good to go.
Photo: IMDB/"Poetic Justice"
Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice
In this 1993 film, Janet proved her skills extend beyond being a singer-songwriter and dancer. She stars as Justice, a street-smart and jaded beautician who recites poetry. In her first scene with the late Tupac Shakur, she hilariously puts him in his place when he tries to hit on her. In another scene, she declares "I am a black woman. I deserve respect." Amen. For her look, you’ll need a long-sleeve navy crop top, light-wash high-waisted jeans with a black chunky belt, and black combat boots. Also essential: Hoop earrings and a head full of braids under a black newsboy cap.
Angela Chase from My So-Called Life
Claire Danes is ever-relatable as awkward yet self-aware 15-year-old Angela Chase in this short-lived teen drama, which ran from 1994-1995 and became a fan favorite for its authentic take on adolescence. Grunge was alive and well, so break out the oversize plaid shirt with denim overalls and those ubiquitous Dr. Martens. Complete the look with a blunt red wig. Swooning over Jordan Catalano optional.
Alanis Morissette circa 1995
Jagged Little Pill, the album that cemented Morissette as an alternative rock artist, introduced me to raw female angst in a way I’d never heard before — and I was hooked. Her style was relaxed but always cool. To pull it off, layer a ripped black tank top under a flannel shirt or jean jacket and pair with black leather pants and lace-up boots. Your hair should be long, wavy, and parted in the center. For maximum effect, add a red beanie like the one from the music video for “Ironic.”
Cher from Clueless
If grunge wasn’t your thing during the mid-90s, you probably went in the exact opposite direction — preppy. And yet plaid was still front and center, as it was for Alicia Silverstone’s no-nonsense Cher Horowitz and her sophisticated crew in the cult-classic film. Among the most distinguishing looks is Cher’s yellow plaid skirt suit, worn over a yellow cardigan and white baby tee. Final touches are white over-the-knee socks and Mary Jane platforms.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
It doesn’t get much more badass than single-handedly destroying bloodsuckers by stabbing them in the heart — and looking cute doing it. Buffy, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, had a closet full of pastel tops and floral dresses, but she’s best known for her red leather pants, which she wore with a sleeveless black top and black leather jacket. Accessorize with layered cross necklaces and square-toe boots, and you’ll be ready to slay.
The R&B singer and actress reached icon status years before her tragic death in a plane crash in 2001. Not only was her voice mesmerizing and music captivating, but she took fashion risks that paid off. She added a sexy twist to baggy hip-hop clothes, and in 1996 became the face of Tommy Jeans. To recreate her style, find a Tommy Hilfiger tube top to pair with slouchy boyfriend jeans, pulled down a bit to reveal Tommy boxer shorts.
Daria debuted in 1997 as a spinoff of stupid-humor, animated sitcom Beavis and Butt-Head. Unlike the aforementioned dudes, Daria is intelligent, sardonic, and introspective. She’s been ranked by publications, such as TV Guide and the Daily Telegraph, as one of the best female cartoon characters of all time, and I must agree. Imagine the fun it would it be to dress in her signature green jacket, orange top, and pleated skirt with combat boots. Don’t forget the round glasses and crossed arms, and to repeat “Get a life” as often as necessary.
Britney Spears circa 1998
Britney has proved time and again that she’s one of the hardest-working females in pop music, even before she was not yet a woman. As such, there are so many late-90s outfits to choose from, but a favorite is the sweet-sexy schoolgirl look she rocks in the video for her hit …Baby One More Time. Wear a white collared shirt, keeping it unbuttoned to reveal a bra or tube top, and tie the bottom half together so your midriff is showing. Pair with a pleated miniskirt, then add a gray cardigan, knee-high socks, and Mary Janes. Finish the look with braided pigtails tied with pale pink pompom ponytail holders and pink ribbons.
Sarah Jessica Parker’s character on Sex and the City likely inspired countless women to move to the city and pursue their creative dreams. It wasn’t always easy, but she distracted from that with her impeccable style sense. Here, again, the options are plentiful, but you can’t go wrong with the fanciful outfit from the opening credits. Find yourself a pale pink fitted top, a blush tiered tulle skirt, and brown strappy heels, and, like Carrie, you’ll be ready to conquer the world.