Last week, I downloaded Saved by the Girl 38 Icons of the 90s. It’s been a bittersweet listen because it reminded me of who I used to be. It made me yearn for the freedom of my teens and early twenties. It also reminded me of what made me the woman I am today. I’m forever grateful for that version of female identity: the clothes, the attitude, the confidence.
In the 1990s, female musicians wore proper comfy, cool, hot clothes. They didn’t dress like porn stars. In the early 90s, I wore Doc Martens and Lumberjack shirts like Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain and 4 Non Blondes. In the late 90s, I copied, the much lusted after, Louise Wener’s outfit of choice: t-shirt, flared jeans, a pair of trainers and a boy’s haircut. Liam Gallagher and Damon Albarn were rocking a similar look. This was 90s equality: women and men doing music whilst wearing the same uniform. In the 1990s, I felt sexy because I looked good and I could move. I was free. I felt powerful.
Attitude and confidence
In the 90s, women didn’t shy away from publicly expressing their belief in themselves. Female popstars didn’t drop their heads and coyly peer through their lashes, they lifted their chins, looked straight down the camera: their eyes were not saying “come hither”. They presented a “this is me, take it or leave it” attitude most obviously vocalised by Meredith Brooks in her 1997 hit Bitch. They seemed to not care what people thought of them and similarly, neither did I. In the 1990s, I acted, spoke and thought freely. I didn’t plan my actions, check my words or second guess my thoughts and with this attitude came an easy confidence.
I may not have the clothes or the haircut anymore, but whatever age I am, I hope I’ll always be a 90s girl.