Brigid Gawley, Helen Murphy and Caitlin Bock of Manhasset are bringing the '90s back with fashions and accessories. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca

Donna Cullinan-Gillis, 59, had flashbacks to the 1990s and Y2K while taking a good look at what her teenage niece and her friends were wearing.

“There was some neon stuff going on there, and one of the outfits with a short skirt and top made me think ‘ … Baby One More Time,’ ” Cullinan-Gillis says referring to Britney Spears’ 1998 video. “I think fashions always come back, but in a different way.”

'90s-Y2K hottest comeback trends 

Butterfly clips

Chunky shoes

Fanny packs

Bucket hats


Claw clips

Smiley faced tees

The Manhasset resident’s niece, Brigid Gawley, 16, and Gawley’s friends regularly wear clothing and accessories inspired by the ‘90s and 2000s and they’re among throngs of Gen-Zers and other young people on Long Island and beyond currently loving these fashions. This is despite the fact that many weren’t even born when Britney Spears, The Spice Girls, Alicia Silverstone and Will Smith were setting fashion trends — and they’ve never heard of Y2K.

“I had no idea,” Brigid, also of Manhasset, says of the origin of some of the ‘90s and Y2K fashions in her closet like Doc Martens, Converse and bucket hats. “I thought the things were just cute and trendy, and a lot of people wore them so I gravitated toward them.” She adds she finds the clothing comfortable too, “and there are a lot of statement pieces.”


Fashions back in style from the entire '90s decade include crop tops, spaghetti straps, bodycon dresses, sheer clothing, fanny packs, black combat boots, bucket hats, scrunchies, leggings, claw hair clips, bike shorts, cargo pants, torn jeans, track suits and chokers.

 Britney Spears, the cast of "Clueless" (1995) and Tyra Banks wear styles from the '90s and Y2K.

And revivals from Y2K (Year 2000) — which often has a more futuristic retro edge — are miniskirts, metallics, translucent clothing, colorful sunglasses, baguette bags, kitsch accessories, chunky shoes, baby tees, ribbed cardigans, tie front tops, bandannas, butterfly hair clips, trendy sneakers, smiley face designs and the color pink.
“For someone like myself who lived through the ‘90s, it’s great to see the fashions come back,” says Tandy Jeckel, 57, owner of the TandyWear women’s boutique in Commack. “I love the '90s. Her store carries modern versions of what was popular back then such as crop tops, cargo pants, checkered and swirl prints and jelly shoes. “The crop top matching sets are very big, the jelly shoes are very popular.”

Helen Murphy, Brigid Gawley and Caitlin Bock model their '90s-inspired...

Helen Murphy, Brigid Gawley and Caitlin Bock model their '90s-inspired fashion looks in Manhasset. Credit: alejandra villa

Brigid’s Manhasset friends are all about a crop top — but leggings, torn jeans, miniskirts, trucker and bucket hats, scrunchies and Vans slip-on sneakers are among the favorites in some of their wardrobes too.

“I think, at first, I was buying these styles because I thought they were cute but then with social media, they were saying buy certain jeans because they’re ‘80s or ‘90s jeans and were the style back then,” says Helen Murphy, 16.

Caitlin Bock, 17, says she typically wears athleisure outfits but they share space in her closet with miniskirts and crop tops.

“I had no idea” they were inspired by fashions from the past, Caitlin says. She adds that her generation likes to “adapt our closet” to what is seen on social media and television shows. Just some of the 1990s-and Y2K-themed pages that have sprung up online are @90smilk, @90sanxiety, @early2000sbabes and @literally.iconic.


Guys are totally on board too, with men’s style from the ‘90s being defined by fashion trends that covered a wide range of subcultures from grunge and alternative rock music to boy bands and hip-hop — with a variety of these retro pieces having unisex appeal such as smiley face looks, band tees, cargo pants, flannel shirts, biker jackets, bandannas, ripped jeans, bucket hats, graphic tees and combat boots.

Paul Miano, 24, has made a lucrative business out of putting a modern spin on the real thing. He owns the East Meadow-based company, Korrupted Closet, which among its offerings includes bleached distressed tees with band and other logos created from vintage ‘90s tees. His newest creations include smiley faces.

“I was looking for a way to spread positivity through my brand and I figured a smiley face is a universal sign for happiness and positivity,” Milano says. “We just need more people to smile these days.”