If Phoebe Philo decrees the slip dress the pièce de résistance of the underwear-as-outerwear movement, we’re jumping on that bandwagon, stat. Here’s how to style the 90s slip dress and channel an off-duty model look
How to style the 90s slip dress so it doesn’t look like the ‘good pyjamas’
Last year Jenna Lyons wore pyjamas to the Met Ball. This is the woman who has made J.Crew relevant again. She rocks a pair of glasses like no one else. I live in Drimnagh. Wearing your pyjamas to the shops is a pre-requisite. Wearing them to a ball? The dream. With Givenchy, Celine, Calvin Klein and Balenciaga all showing their support for the slinky slip dress this spring/summer 2016, the underwear as outerwear trend has finally become not just permissable, but de rigeur. Want to nail the look but forgo looking like you’re on the roll-over from the night before? Style the 90s slip dress with denim, leather and grunge it up – do not wear with your pyjama top or an oversized jumper evoking a young Kurt Cobain.
How to style the 90s slip dress without evoking #TBT
I may have bunions and complain about the cold a lot but when slip dresses first became cool in the 90s, I was a little too young for the trend. The early nineties were spent sporting matching floral leggings, jumper, hairband, errythang and the latter part of the decade saw me transition from Benneton flower child to Child of the Corn. I dabbled in sportsgear for a bit, wearing full on three stripe Adidas tracksuits and slicked back hair, then came the black hipsters, black cardigan and white shirt phase (I mean, who wouldn’t want to dress like they were interviewing for a middle management position in the local supermarket at the age of 15?) and finally into the dreaded Bryl Cremed faux dreadlocks, corduroy flares, inspired-by-the-Gallaghe- brothers bucket hat and cheesecloth tunics phase. So even though I could be somebody’s mother, (although I am not) it didn’t stop from rocking the underwear-as-outerwear trend to my local garage in the working class borough of Drimnagh. Too good to wear pjs to the shops? Not quite. Too old for a 90s-inspired slip dress? Hell, no.
Werk 90s style in the cool-girl slip dress
Anyone who’s lived through the 90s knows that it wasn’t exactly the most stylish decade. It was the era where we: waxed our eyebrows into a permanent arch of surprise; didn’t go to the teen disco (mine was Kill, Co Waterford) unless our bodies were triple-dipped in a vat of glitter; owned at least two pairs of lilac or lavender velour hipsters and had at least one crimping electronic device to hand. When it wasn’t crimped in the style of Tiffany Amber Thiessen, it was ironed within an inch of its life with an ACTUAL iron and it wasn’t uncommon to have iron burns adorning ones neck and face. The red hickey-like mark was worn with pride, like a fashionable badge of honour by the straightest haired girls of the neighbourhood. Style it with a slip dress? Instant cool-girl status.
Grunge Matters – the 90s slip dress style redux
Want to know why I loved the 90s so much? Courtney and Kurt made it cool to look a little (or a lot) undone. Heroin chic became a thing and pale girls with sunken eyes and natural dark circles the world over rejoiced because this was a look they could pull off with aplomb. We looked to girls like Winona and Kate, Gwyneth and Gwen for fashion inspo. Chloe Sevigny was the ultimate muse after appearing in Larry Clark’s semimal movie Kids (1996). Throw on a denim jacket over a slip dress and boom, outfit sorted. While the early naughties were great for our self-esteem (we finally got good hair straighteners in the shape of GHDs, learned the benefits of a curling wand and transitioned from unflattering bootcut flares to skinny jeans), the 90s taught us that self-esteem wasn’t linked with our looks, it was all about an attitude. And that attitude was badass; spend less time in front of the mirror and more time outdoors on skateboards, going to gigs and doing the quizzes in Cosmopolitan and J17.
White trash – the new Americana
You may have noticed I’m having a little love-in with Americana lately. Being Irish, it probably won’t surprise you that I love a bit of fake tan and enjoy getting tangoed of occasion. But every time I see Jessica Chastain or Rooney Mara or Julianne Moore on the red carpet embracing their pale-girl goddess, it gives me faith that pale can actually look kind of amazing too. And to avoid looking insipid, (even the word sounds horrid) I eschew pale colours and go for strong primary hues, red being one of my favourites. This denim jacket is an amazing second hand Miu Miu find that I got at Siopaella. A girl can never have enough denim jackets in her arsenal, am I right?
Styling and concept by me
Hair and makeup by Katie at Emma Farrell Creative Studios
Denim jacket: Miu Miu at Siopaella
Earrings: Forever 21
Necklace: Jessie’s Jewels (find her on Instagram on @jessiezjewelz)