1990s Uniforms: Designs of a Decade

30.04.2018

The history of uniform is, of course, crucial to us at Field Grey. Referencing the past and researching how it shapes the future is integral to our work. Some of our projects even delve into previous centuries, but today we’re looking at the most symbolic 1990s uniform – the decade that, in style terms, just won’t go away. Here are 10 iconic uniforms from the decade:

West Germany Football Kit


The winners of the 1990 FIFA World Cup, aka Italia ’90, were undoubtedly the best dressed. West Germany, on the brink of German reunification at home, defied the odds to lift the cup wearing these unforgettable jerseys. The dynamic stripes in the country’s colours, presented on a white canvas, make for one of our favourite football kits of all time.

British Airways by Paul Costelloe

1990s British Airways Uniform
We’ve taken a look back at the history of British Airways uniform before and, basically, any excuse to dig out these glorious pics. Irish fashion designer Paul Costelloe designed these uniforms that were in use from 1993 for a decade. The designs were inherently British; sensible pleated skirts in a garish print made from the Union Jack colours, ill-fitting blazers and middle class hats that wouldn’t look out of place in your local church.

Girl Guides of the 1990s

1990s Girl Guides Uniform
Who can forget the uniforms of the Girl Guides in the 1990s? Anybody that wore one will remember the bright blue colour scheme and garish red neckerchief – complete with leather woggle, of course.

Baywatch

1990s Baywatch Uniform Swimsuit
Fictional, of course, but who can forget the emblematic swimsuits of the Baywatch girls? The red swimming costume with yellow emboridered patch have become figures of the decade.

The Chippendales

1990s Chippendales Collar Cuffs Uniform
One of the most famous ‘uniforms’ of the 1990s is barely there. The Chippendales’ classic collar and cuffs is a symbol of the decade; so much so that the company owns a federal copyright registration for the two-piece ‘uniform’!

Philip Treacy for the London Underground


A lesser memorable designer collaboration from the 1990s is the work of Philip Treacy for the London Underground. Large blue caps were worn with light grey utility jackets designed by Anne Tyrell. At first glance, they seem pretty radical, but they’re less incongruous when you consider passenger fashion at the time.

Yves Saint Laurent for Qantas

1990s uniform YSL Qantas
The 90s weren’t a great decade for airline style (see British Airways, above), but legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent injected some much need colour into Qantas’ uniforms. We’re huge fans of this combination: a blue tailored blazer with kangaroo-print skirt and matching scarf.

The Gulf War

1990s Gulf War Uniform Desert Battle Dress
This arid-environment camouflage design came to be one of the symbols of the Gulf War. Designed by the US military as early as 1976, the print, often nicknamed ‘chocolate-chip’ or ‘cookie-dough’, was replaced by the Desert Camouflage Uniform in the mid-90s.

Butlins’ Redcoats

1990s Butlins Redcoats Uniform
The honour of reimagining the Butlin’s Redcoat was bestowed on British fashion designer Jeff Banks during the 1990s. You might say it was an easy task given the well established aesthetic, but these designs were a perfect combination of the holiday camp’s heyday mixed with wearable, modern details (believe it or not!)

The 1992 Barcelona Olympics


There are so many iconic uniforms from the XXV Olympiad, but we’ve plumped for these wild ensembles worn by the US gymnastics team. These jackets have everything: a stars-and-stripes sleeve, a red and white-striped base and graphic USA lettering. Pictured are Betty Okino (1) and Dominique Dawes (3), the first African Americans to win Olympic gymnastics medals.