The ’90s Off-Duty Model Look Is Back in a Big Way — Jorts, Utility Layers and More

Although Memorial Day weekend just soft-launched summer, it’s already clear the 1990s “model off-duty” look is key for the season as worn by supermodel offspring Kaia Gerber and Lila Moss, pop icon Charli XCX and on the streets in New York City and beyond.

Grungy, vintage-inspired style is marked by the return of knee-length bottoms — think denim jorts, utility cargos, pedal pushers and capris; chunky leather outerwear like biker and moto jackets, and vintage-inspired novelty layers.

More from WWD

Those might be Re/Done’s graphic baby T-shirts, or Kntwrth’s cotton jacquard-woven jumpers, or dresses and skirts boasting iconic pop culture movie stills, album covers and more (as seen here featuring the iconic kiss scene from the 1999 cult film, “Cruel Intentions”).

To complete the look, accessorize with colorful sunglasses and personal jewelry (see Mudd Pearl’s myriad handmade freshwater pearl earrings, necklaces and bracelets), or lean into the era’s DIY-spirit with playful slipdresses and Bermuda shorts from brands such as Colin LoCascio, Collina Strada and R13.

While shoppers young and old are continuing to source vintage for their wardrobes, the ’90s vibe was thriving in the spring 2024 collections on the February runways, too.

Exhibit A: the Coach spring collection in stores now. Reflecting on his decade-long tenure at the American brand, executive creative director Stuart Vevers said he looked back to when he first arrived in New York from his native England in the ’90s as inspiration for the lineup, which also expanded the heritage brand’s ongoing sustainability initiatives by using more regenerative, repurposed and deadstock materials, and natural dyes.

His collection was inspired by memories of his favorite haunts, which he used as a “blueprint for the design of these archetypes rather than any literal references,” he told WWD. For instance, recollections from the Pyramid Club, one of his favorite dance clubs in the East Village, dictated the collection’s myriad slipdresses — which looked excellent in red leather with tough biker boots. Ditto to sheer renditions with deadstock lace trim, worn over little leather underpinnings. At his favorite diner, the Lexington Candy Shop, he saw a “well-loved raincoat on the rack,” which he imagined when creating the collection’s cotton trench and ’90s power dressing leisure suiting in upcycled denim, wool and regenerative cotton.

Similarly Los Angeles-based designer Sami Miro demonstrated ways to DIY in her “Zero Waste” spring runway show, during which she created a leather coat from a vintage leather blazer with multiple pairs of vintage leather trousers. “Designing by reverse engineering, we were able to create a collection that pronounces the internal beauty of a garment and highlights those details in unexpected locations,” she told WWD.

From Prada’s matching denim Bermuda shorts and bomber jacket (recently worn by “Bridgerton” star Simone Ashley) to more affordable workwear mainstays from Dickies, Carhartt WIP and Levi’s revivial baggy shorts, the off-duty look is one to watch at all levels of the market.

Launch Gallery: The 90’s Off Duty Model Trend for Summer 2024

Best of WWD