L-A: For some, she’s a completely obvious style icon. For others, she’s totally outdated. But y’all don’t even know what Angela Chase meant to me when I was 15. It was like, she was speaking to me through the TV. I thought she was the most insightful thing to ever happen to television, even if some of her insights are a bit cringey – like revisiting my bad teenage poetry phase (oh yes, that happened).
School is a battlefield for your heart. So when Rayanne Graff told me my hair was holding me back, I had to listen. ‘Cause she wasn’t just talking about my hair. She was talking about my life.
Testify! Because no one gets you when you’re a teenage girl. So shit like that means something when you are a 15 year old girl. (It almost means something when you’re a girl in her 30s. Like, making you think you should dye your hair red again. That’s the kind of power Angela Chase still has over me).
Anyway, since I was recently rocking what could either be described as inspired by Angela Chase or cold-weather chic (leggings, giant wool socks and giant boots) and because I’ve recently remembered how much I enjoy Teenage Fanclub (thank you, Young Adult) and I know some of you are trying to plan an outfit for Ben’s Yelp Elite 90s party, I thought it was time we pay the 90s a visit again through the mad style of Angela Chase.
How to Dress Like a 90s Teenage Girl Who Totally Gets It
(and, I bet, totally reads Sassy magazine)
1. Find much cooler friends.
Like the kind who aren’t in yearbook and wear bodysuits with high waisted jeans.
She won’t steer you (too) wrong. At the very least, she’ll explain that the crochet vest and white tights are never okay (unless, maybe, you’re really committed to an authenticly awkward 90s costume). She’ll also convince you to make your hair awesome.
2. Layers are the nod to the chilly Seattle weather.
Mix and match your patterns! And be sure to wear as many layers as possible. Looking cute in the 90s had little to do with a cute figure. We’re still a good seven or eight years away from teenage girls revealing their thongs. Suggested layers include (but are not limited to): thermal tee, vest, skirt, shirt tied around your waist, leggings or tights. If possible, pair with chunky boots. Bonus points for boots of different colours. Double bonus if you’re cool enough to have that colour in a Doc Marten (even Anglea Chase didn’t have Docs).
3. Ugly sweaters + plaid = total swoon.
Not how ill-fitting his sweater is? And yet we all swoon (this probably has something to do with the hair and the lean). Note her sweater is actually kind of ugly. And she’s wearing it with a plaid skirt (possibly flannel plaid shorts, if memory serves correct) with leggings. This is probably the easiest way to do the 90s proud. Unless you did it one better and wore the plaid skirt over jeans with that sweater. Because then hot damn, get your Breeders CD out, you have the 90s nailed.
But watch how you lean against the lockers with a dude. It could lead to rumours of complete sex.
4. Your parents just don’t understand.
I mock, but only because I thought being a white, middle-class girl was pretty damn hard. I had problems and no one understood. Of course, my problems were largely based on things like “I hate French, can we skip to go watch Matlock”, “that teacher is like, so unfair for telling me to not talk in class” along with the usual advanced math, boy and friend based dramz (advanced math was a year and a half of hell and once resulted in a test with a score of 27. 27! For mothereffingreals! And that was the first test…you can only imagine the dramz).
In situations such as these, your best fashion bet is a plaid dress, tights, and old man shoes. Facial expression should be a mix of dissaffected, bored and tormented.
5. Perfect your ugly cry.
Angela Chase had teh bestest ugly cry. It’s a pretty ugly, which isn’t actually ugly at all…but you think it is and therefore, you think she’s just like you.
Her ugly cry looked so wretched and yet somehow controlled. You know there is pain and torment behind a cry like that. She is feeling it. And this ain’t no trip to see The Vow. She is feeling that shit and it’s gotten real.
6. Don’t hang out with anyone who thinks this shirt is okay.
Look at Angela and her posse. Now look at Brian. Do you see the difference? It’s called shopping at Eddie Bauer and I’m going to recommend you don’t.
No, the key is that short plaid dress with the drop waist. Or a really baggy plaid shirt over your bodysuit. Or vintage old man cardigans (vintage is important. You want to Andrea Marr the hell out of your wardrobe).
7. Always carry concealer.
Preferably something tinted and by Clean and Clear and that may or may not match your skin tone. Because while YM tells you you have combination skin, they’re not super at telling you how to match makeup to your skin tone and it’s going to take you at least four more years and a few photos with raccoon eyes to figure out the shade you need.
8. Don’t look back.
This is going to be hard. But you’ve got to leave the 90s in the past. You can think back on the memories and let them get all cloudy and make you want to sing Barbra. But that’s all you should do. Don’t revisit it. If you’ve lost touch with that swoony boy of yours, leave him lost. Because it won’t end well. It’ll either be you drunk and belligerent to his wife a la Young Adult or he’ll look like this:
You’ll wonder things like: what happened to that beautiful hair? And: how was I so wrong to be so in love with him back then? But maybe you should have seen the signs that a mohawk and a velvet jacket were coming. He leaned far more than he went to class. And he wasn’t using eye drops because his eyes were just dry. If you do look back and try to revisit, make sure your hair is fabulous now and you have a great outfit.
9. If you must look back, make sure it’s only with memories and that those memories have a rad soundtrack.
If you didn’t listen to cool music back then, you can make up for it now by studying up on the cool music and pretending like you totally get it. The important thing is, you’ve discovered and you appreciate it. No one is going to quiz you on the dates of Weezer’s B-sides or which bar Nirvana first played in. If they do, they’re probably kind of douchey and you can just tell them to eff off. They probably listen to Bruno Mars anyway.
As for style, that video pretty much sums up everything I’ve covered today: Boots. More layers than is necessary. Oversized jackets/sweaters. Lots of plaid. Tights. Swoony, broody boy (who is in a band) as the ultimate accessory.
Bonus: Your mixed tape…because of course you’d have a mixed tape full of 90s tunes.
I kind of wish I still had my mixed tapes. And a tape player. Or a walkman. Yes, a walkman and a mixed tape would be awesome for my bus ride to work.