Back to the 90s: The Ugly and the Beautiful

I always thought there are certain timeless qualities that define beauty. But my mind flickers when I see an increasing number of “ugly” trends these days, many of which pay homage to the 90s. My heart sank when I saw this IG post from my friend featuring a Gucci window display:

A Gucci window display somewhere in Hong Kong
Image: Instagram

There’s at least one mismatched item that bugs me in each of these outfits:

– The plaid pencil skirt and lace underskirt
– The suit jacket and red stockings
– The tweed jacket and silver sandals
– The dress pants and fanny pack

Oh, the fanny pack! I guess everyone used to have one, but weren’t they rendered awkward long ago?

Fanny packs in Coachella. Note that the second girl from the left is wearing the same Gucci fanny pack.
Image: Pinterest

Luckily, some Coachella photos I came across on Pinterest prove there’s still hope in rocking these unsightly bags. Maybe ugly really is the new beautiful.

It’s already challenging enough to blend these embarrassing vintage items into a modern wardrobe, let alone styling them so they become part of your own look. But when you succeed, it shows how talented and uniquely beautiful you are! Here are 3 ugly items from the 90s worth looking into, and possible ways to wear them:

Fanny Packs

Fanny packs, hip packs, bum bags, waist bags, belt bags … However you call them, these once-unfashionable carriers are having a bit of a moment now. Fanny packs are designed to be functional. They’re especially useful for sightseeing and outdoor activities, but that doesn’t mean you can’t look hip wearing one! Some of the designs can even be converted to sling bags or crossbody bags for more variety.

We still love the boxy canvas version, but you can also look for non-conventional shapes, or luxurious materials like leather and details like embroidery for a change. Fanny packs can make you look bottom-heavy, so best match them with cropped tops and high-waist bottoms. They can also be used as a belt to cinch loose shirts and flowy sundresses.

Dad Sneakers

We all know this trend hasn’t gone away yet. It’s still a bit hard to admit and wear it with confidence. Dad sneakers are basically lace-up, cushioned sneakers with chunky, often ridged outsoles. Decorative panels are often present on the uppers, making them look even bulkier. For added street-style flair, we recommend wide-leg trousers or cuffed track pants to go with these.


Anoraks were originally invented for kayaking and hunting in the Arctic. Typically a waterproof, pullover-style windbreaker with a hood, half-zip front and kangaroo pocket, they’re designed to protect the body from the elements. The utilitarian design can nonetheless accommodate stylish details like a hoop pulltab, see-through material, drawcord hem or slogan print. The best thing is you can match yours with your partner or your dad (the same goes for dad sneakers and fanny packs.) Wear something fitted below to balance the oversized fit.

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