Where Does the Oversized Trend Come From?

Written by: Zuzanna Sato



Time to read 6 min

Where Does the Oversized Trend Come From? History of Oversized Fashion

The oversized trend has become impossible to ignore over the past few years.

From loose-fitting tops and pants to oversized coats and bags – bigger is definitely better in the current style scene.

As a fashion designer, I am a huge fan of the oversized trend and just love how it allows for mixing fashion moods and styles. It also flatters almost every body type and adds that nonchalant edge to any outfit.

So, I just had to find out who actually started the oversized trend? And when did people begin to wear oversized clothes? 

Below is my scoop on everything you need to know about the history of oversized trend and how it developed into one of the most popular style choices today!

1. When did people start wearing oversized clothing?

Although you may associate the oversized fashion style with a fresh, modern fashion outlook, the history of oversized clothing goes back much further than you may think!

In fact, even a hundred years ago, an oversized clothing trend was already making headlines around the world.

1920s - The Beginnings of Oversized Trend

So lets rewind to the roaring 20s when flappers and jazz babies threw off the restraints of corsets and lace to slip into slinky, loose-fitting dresses.

These larger, looser outfits provided both freedom of movement and a distinctive silhouette as they danced the night away!

The trend slowly began to disappear from the fashion landscape during the forties and fifties, when pencil skirts and Dior’s New Look popularized fitted forms and high tailoring. 

Clothing became tight, form-fitting, and much more formal.

As the cultural pendulum swung back towards traditional values and TV-perfect families, silhouettes once more became more restrictive and less free-flowing.

Why are oversized clothes so trendy? 7 reasons why oversized trend is popular
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1970s - Free Love and Free Fitting Clothing

But fear not - it was merely another 20 years until the eruption of a new counterculture - the hippies!

As the 1970s ushered in the age of love, loose, comfortable clothing once more became the go-to style of the youth movement.

Teenagers and young adults adopted oversized options as they battled to shake off the restrictions of the previous generation. 

Hippies and rock stars styled themselves in oversized fashion with loud, distinctive prints, which were the opposite of the conservative, fitted looks their parents were wearing.

As the 70s ended, the fashion world once again began to embrace more fitted clothing, with boxy power suits and skin-tight Lycra becoming the representative look for the “greed is good” age.

Here is another style that gain populary around that time: the pussy bow neckline.

Where Does the Oversized Trend Come From? oversized fahion in 1970s
Image from CanvaPro

2. Who Popularized the Oversized Clothing Trend?

In modern culture, the oversized clothing trend was firmly established by musical and cultural icons of the late eighties and early nineties.

Rap, skating, and rock icons were pivotal in popularizing the trend as the ultimate in late-millennium cool.

1990s - The Oversized Clothing Trend and Nineties Cool

Hip-hop heavyweights such as Tupac, A Tribe Called Quest, and others sported oversized T-shirts paired with baggy, low-hanging jeans and statement accessories.

Representing a break from the formal looks in mainstream media, oversized fashion styles quickly became a defining look of the decade.

At the same time, in Seattle, those leading the grunge were also adopting a looser look.

Rock icons such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam wore large plaid shirts layered over loose tops and skater pants for a casual, anti-fashion statement in line with their indie music credentials.

Although the oversized trend arose as an organic street style amongst teens, artists, and musicians – it wasn’t long before the fashion establishment began to adopt the oversized fashion trend on the catwalk.

High-fashion brands such as Marc Jacobs and Tommy Hilfiger soon began incorporating the new grunge and hip-hop looks into their high-profile couture shows.

Although the modern oversized trend was undoubtedly popularised by musical icons of the 1990s, they did not actually invented the style!

So, let's have a look at what were the origins of the oversized clothing trend in the nineties?

Why are oversized clothes so trendy? 7 reasons why oversized trend is popular
Image from CanvaPro

Where Did the 1990s Baggy Trend Originate?

Many fashion historians have pointed to the 1990s society as being responsible for producing the baggy style.

The look first became popular among hip-hop and skater communities in the US.

It is thought that these anti-establishment communities drew inspiration from the ill-fitting clothing and no-belt policies prisoners were subject to while in jail.

This distinctive look soon became a popular clothing choice on the streets, as the comfortable oversized fashion style allowed marginalized groups to develop a look of their very own.

Read more how your fashion choices can help you build self-confidence.

As the oversized clothes trend became more established and counterculture icons of the 90s overtook MTV, the look became the style of choice for a generation of teens and young adults.

Soon, both millionaire movie stars and skater kids could be spotted wearing practically identical outfits (although at very different price points.)

Whereas the decade before, style had all been about status and expense, the height of early 90s fashion was looking like you hadn’t tried too hard or spent too much on your outfit.

3. Who made Oversized Clothing Fashionable Recently?

More recently, the oversized clothing trend has once again been popularized by musical icons such as Kanye West and Rihanna, who stylishly fuse oversized street looks with high-fashion catwalk pieces.

Meanwhile, fashion houses such as Balenciaga and Givenchy are once more celebrating loose clothing looks on their catwalks.

To discover more about why the oversized trend is so popular today, click on our detailed breakdown of why large clothing is an undeniable modern style staple.

Who Started The Oversized Trend? - The Conclusion

As we have seen above, the history of the oversized trend is long and varied.

Through the past century, many generations have embraced the oversized fashion style as both a comfortable choice and a bold style statement.

And now, the fashion pendulum has firmly swung back to looser and larger clothing once again!

So, the next time you pull on your oversized bag, layer up under your oversized coat or slip on some wide trousers, you’ll be joining a history of fashion trailblazers who went against the grain to establish a look of their very own!

Ready to make a statement with your oversized style? Why not browse through my sustainable fashion store? You might just discover that perfect oversized piece that resonates with your unique style!

I'm also eager to hear your thoughts on the subject! What's your take on the oversized fashion trend? Are you a fan, or does it not quite fit your style?

Feel free to share your opinion with us below! And if you have any favorite oversized pieces, we'd love to hear about those too.

Let's talk!

Zuzanna Sato,  blog author, fashion designer
Image from DressYourColor

Zuzanna Sato, fashion designer, founder of DressYourColor

Hi! I'm Zuzanna, the founder of a luxury slow fashion brand based in Japan.

I use vintage Japanese textiles to create sustainable fashion that revels in color and beauty.

I love giving new life to kimonos that can no longer be used in their original form.

In my designs, I use oversized silhouettes to showcase incredible Japanese textiles in all their glory.

I revel in maximal style: bold shapes, patterns, and anything that glitters.

I hope you visit me often and that we can enjoy the beauty of Japanese textiles together! 😊

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