Baby tees are a classic, comfortable staple and now more than ever they might be worth dusting off from the back of our closets and hop on the cool-girl trend that has come back.
Same as other 90s trends that are coming right back to the spotlight – either to be loved or haunted – like bold eyeliner, mom jeans, and bucket hats, another one is appearing to be a big hit now: the baby t-shirt. Baby tees are a classic, comfortable staple and now more than ever they might be worth dusting off from the back of our closets and hop on the cool-girl trend that has come back. It is now time to take a basic piece of clothing and create a totally non-basic look as you can add one to your favorite sweatpants or underneath a loose-fitting blazer – the style will elevate any look with a clean, fun finish. Try it and watch your wardrobe thrive off of a baby tee in any kind of setting.
Come with me all the way back to 1995 and picture this: Clueless was just released and Cher Horowitz was wearing the most famous little white t-shirt layered with a yellow knitted suit – a look so iconic that is still loved and imitated to this day. Now let’s come back to the current days. Do you see something in common? Hugging tiny shirts are again at the latest lines of pictures and TikToks of every It-girl’s wardrobe, including some of our most loved fashion girls like Bella Hadid, Hailey Bieber, Kendall Jenner and Dua Lipa. And another big evidence of its come back is to see how most of the trendy brands of the moment are also rocking baby tees.
Even though their first appearance happened in the 70s in a whole different context – a go-to gym top for men – the baby tees waited around for a while after that and became wildly popular starting in the early 90s and forward, maintaining their popularity high during most of the 2000s. Whether the first image in your head is Britney Spears wearing the ‘Dump Him’ shirt or the cast of Mean Girls in their matching Juicy Couture tees, it’s easy to see how those little skin-tight tops reigned supreme. Just as it’s not hard to notice the fact that the always loved baby tees have been recently sneaking their way onto our big and little screens for most of the last two decades. Since its first appearance in pop culture phenomenons like Friends and Clueless, our love for the shrunken tee hasn’t gone any smaller, if anything we are loving it even more specially with this decade obssession with nostalgia and redoing trends. I mean, is there anything that's a bigger phenomenom than Euphoria? And guess where we have also seem the baby tees. Exactly. Of course it’s not the exact same kind of tops and there’s a new take on the baby tee movement, like pastel-toned colors, jet-black or covered in cherries, or with the slogans or phrases of many of the many subcultural 90s movements they’re referencing and presenting for the new generation.
Just like they are now, baby tees have been a cool girl go-to since the 90s, but the trend – and even the ‘cool girl’ concept has changed a lot in all these years. At first they were a fashion reaction, functioning as something similar to an antidote to the oversized casualwear that was popular during the last decade and were seem as a very versatile piece of clothing as it could convey tomboy sensibilities just as easily as it could be styled in a way to create glamour. Nowadays, one could argue that they’re a symptom of this generation collective craving for a type of comfort which is most easily satisfied sartorially. People’s in their 30s may have had their ideas of growing older frozen during all the lockdown seasons and it is still affecting the way they see themselves and teenagers and young adults feel like they lost a lot of ‘the best years of their lives’ so they go back to a time when things were easier – even if they weren’t even born yet by then – both options leading them to dress for nostalgia. We have seen business-casual, we have seen super shimmery dresses and we have seen casual style, but at the end people are still looking for something that’s casual, but is also stylish and easy to wear while summing up their style in just one piece. It looks like a throwback and offers the comfort of one but is still really simple and modern.
It became so famous and loved that now even the big high street shops have accepted the item’s success and ubiquity, so they started to sell it, naturally shifting it into the mainstream as a result – and once something is mainstream fashion you just know you’ll see it everywhere. Take some time and get just a quick look into some of your own favourite online shops and stores, I can confidently say that you will feel like you’ve just discovered and opened a crazy, beautiful combination of a 70s and 90s time capsule, filled with subculture slogans and band merch-inspired teeny-tiny little baby tees and tops. And this is actually a great thing because truth is that the baby tee has the capacity to be equal parts fashion anchor and a way to put some sugar in something that can be uncomfortable to some: growing old.
If you really think about it in a deeper level, you’ll probably agree with me when I say that the wave of early ’00s and 90s nostalgia that has been unleashed on our social media feeds,’for you’ pages, streaming platforms of every kind and even city streets right now is actually a very natural symptom of something bigger than the well know fashion cycle of thrends: Gen Z is getting older.
Even though we’re talking about a generation that shows a lot of more pragmatic behaviours than the ones before them, one thing remains untouched: they’re also clinging on to their youth – and even times way before that – with the same fervour and passion as the previous generations did. ,t makes perfect sense when, all things considered, you think about how the pandemic has ripped out years of their 20s, and even the start of those from beneath their feet, what could be more natural thn seeing how they’re engaging with nostalgia through fashion and pop culture – did you see how popular 90s romcoms are now? Just scroll a little trhough TikTok and you’ll understand how deep this is – it’s kind of the same as the plastic fantastic, summer-camp jewellery trends that took over social media last summer and the roaring success of low-waist jeans. In some way, the rising popularity of baby tees is their way of rejecting the discomfort of their somehow premature adulthood.
Talking from a professional view – but also as a Gen Z young adult – I would say there’s really no better time to ride in the wave of baby tee mania and embrace all of the other very nostalgic trends that are all around us now. Let’s take it and make the most out of every one of them – and jump into adulthood with very great fashion style, because it might be scart but we can look good while we’re figuring things out. I say the tinier the tee, the better.