10 Styles Millennials Have Borrowed From Moms

floral high-top sneakers are a style millennials have borrowed from moms

Everything 90s is new again!

The queen of matching family photo outfits, mascara application demos, and looking the other way when we dressed up in her favorite pumps, mothers have been the first fashion influencers for many of us.


As it turns out, she really does know best. High-waisted jeans, chunky sneakers, blue eyeshadow and more of our moms’ favorite 90s looks are back. And, just in time for back-to-school, millennials and Gen Z-ers are making the most them. Here’s how…

Fashion & Footwear: From 20th Century Moms to Millennials and Gen Z-ers

1 High-Waist Denim (“Mom Jeans”)

A staple of 90s fashionistas everywhere, high-rise jeans are now a modern must-have. Designed to flatter waistlines and elongate legs, it’s no wonder this versatile cut has come around. Denim today boasts plenty of fresh details. Think raw hems, cropped cuts and specialized curvy fits. But they’re still simple to style. Pair them with a black tee and moto jacket for a throwback-chic ensemble.

2 Chunky & High-Top Sneakers

Credit goes to Dad for this trend. His practical pursuit of comfort continues to inspire. Those chunky Reeboks are having a fresh fashion moment, and thick soles have never been more in vogue. Wear these thick kicks with white gym socks for a truly retro-cool vibe.

3 Crop Tops

Time for crunches: crop tops have returned. While Mom favored casual cuts, today’s styles are all about sophistication. Lace detailing, button accents and tailored silhouettes have transformed what was once a warm-weather one-off into a stylish mainstay. Is it really any wonder, considering how well they pair with mom jeans, shorts, skirts and even trousers?

Know your throwback quotes? Take our 90s movie quotes quiz.

4 Neon

Mom might have done it first (thus that day-glow ski suit in the waaay back of her closet) but millennials have transformed the way we wear neon. Electric yellows, flamingo pinks and outrageous oranges are back in style. We suggest pairing neon pumps with your favorite denim skinnies, or toting a highlighter-hued clutch about town.

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5 Tracksuits

Comfy and casual, athletic chic can’t be beat. Back in the day, tracksuits were the go-to ensemble of the all hottest hip-hop stars accessorized with chunky gold chains. Like most of today’s borrowed trends, the 21st-century crowd prefers their sporty apparel with a side of sophistication and a greater focus on fit.

6 Band Tees

Break out the flannel, because band tees are back. These graphic tops have become a millennial mainstay for good reason. Designed with a faded, vintage feel, their versality lies in their ability to be tied, tucked and torn while still looking on trend. Pair them with a blazer for a work-ready look or throw on some patent leather pants and really get the party started.

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Beauty — let’s eye some makeup moves millennials have borrowed from their mothers

7 Brook Shields Eyebrows (“boy brows”)

Into the trash with you, tweezers! Bold, boyish brows are back. Beauty icon Brooke Shields was one of the few to avoid the terrible 90s trend of over-plucking. Luckily, it has passed, and millennials are embracing Mom’s earlier, untamed take, albeit with a twist. Today’s brows benefit from fillers, gels and seriously structured silhouettes.

8 Blue Eyeshadow

If you’re starting to sense a trend, we can confirm that millennials are not afraid of making bold fashion choices. They’re applying moms’ no-nonsense attitude to apparel and accessories alike. That means goodbye minimalist makeup and hello daring blue eyeshadow. On beyond the powdery hues of 20th-century pop starlets, modern makeup wearers favor deep, daring shades, from navy eyeliners to royal blue eyeshadows.

Accessories: Finishing touches from before Y2K (just google it!)

9 Fanny Packs

Make no mistake, moms knew the value of a hands-free pack, especially when on vacation. Thankfully her practical sensibilities have carried over to this generation, and fanny packs are once again an accessory staple. The modern versions have been transformed into something more akin to a hip purse than a full-on front pack.

10 Flair Pins

Since hitting the big screen in 1999, the movie OFFICE SPACE continues to be meme gold thanks to its “pieces of flair” plot. Today’s trendsters are fully on board — enamel pins have become a much-adored way to draw attention to favorite denim jackets. Whether you’re into plants, pineapples or some seriously weird humor, we promise that there’s a pin for it.

Denim jacket lapel with stiletto, cupcake and crown rhinestone pins

A sincere thank you to Moms everywhere (and a shout out to Dads for the sneaker inspo). With uncompromising dedication to color, a high-energy aesthetic — and a few fashion faux pas — they have laid a fabulous foundation upon which millennials and Gen Z trendsters are building a fresh fashion identity. Today they’re reimagining tracksuits and band tees, tomorrow…who can say?

Whatever the outcome, we’re sure Mom will be proud.