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From butterfly clips to polka dots, 1990s trends have been making a fashion comeback. Now, as ’90s babies increasingly reach average marrying age, these trends are popping up all over the wedding industry as well.
An Etsy 2019 wedding trends report declared ’90s nostalgia a top trend of the year, with more than 300,000 searches for both rhinestones and polka dots on the site in the three months before the report’s release. Etsy has also seen a 14 per cent increase in butterfly clip searches since last year.
Etsy trend expert Dayna Isom Johnson says a ’90s resurgence doesn’t mean we’ll suddenly be seeing huge puffy sleeves and oversize hair. Rather, popular ’90s trends are being modernised and updated.
“They give some nod to those styles but they are so much more sophisticated,” Dayna said, adding that today’s butterfly clips, for example, look more whimsical and romantic than they did in the ’90s.
And although wedding-dress sleeves may not be as puffy as they were 25 years ago, statement sleeves are big again. Dresses are breaking from the modern tradition of a sweetheart neckline silhouette, giving brides the opportunity to better express their personal style.
Lauren Kay, deputy editor at The Knot, says she has seen an increase in holographic and iridescent decor, chokers, disposable cameras on tables, and ’90s music. Jeffra Trumpower, creative director at WeddingWire, cites the return of ’90s styles like neon signs, macramé, and custom jean jackets with monograms or calligraphy on the back.
Wedding planner Beth Helmstetter has noticed a return to bridesmaids wearing colour block dresses – combining two or more large blocks of bold, typically clashing colours. And fellow wedding planner Nicole Hensley notes more couples incorporating their favourite ’90s snacks into their special days.
“As most of our couples are now in their 30s,” Hensley said, “they lived through childhood eating pop tarts, ice pops and so many other nostalgic treats. It’s been so fun sourcing these items for late-night snack stations or having our caterers put a fun twist to pop tarts!”
Perhaps the most surprising ’90s trend that is resurgent both in weddings and beyond is the bum bag.
A 2018 report by the NPD Group found that they account for almost 25 per cent of overall growth in the fashion accessories industry. Etsy reported a whopping 62 per cent increase in searches related to them in the three months before its trends report was released.
At bachelorette parties, a bride and her crew might wear bedazzled or glittery ones that say Bride and Squad.
Couples also are incorporating more chic, fashionable versions into the wedding itself. These classier versions may be referred to as ‘hip’ or ‘belt bags’. Brides and grooms aren’t necessarily wearing them down the aisle, but they are using them at the reception or other wedding events to carry phones and other items.
Dayna sees them as part of a broader trend toward functionality and reusability. Not only are they handy during the celebration, but they can be used long after the wedding is over.
Experts agree that couples who want to invoke a little ’90s nostalgia into their weddings should do so tastefully and sparingly. Many suggested thinking about no more than one or two motifs from the ’90s and putting a more modern spin on them.
Take the idea and go a step above, they suggest, reinvent the idea. In essence, a full-on ’90s-themed wedding might be overkill, but including flashes of the decade here and there can make for a beautiful and nostalgia-filled event.