This Is What Cool Girls Were Wearing in the Summer 20 Years Ago

Twenty years ago, the '90s were starting to come to a close, and the aesthetic of the decade was fully formed. Sorry to be meta, but you might even say that it was peak '90s. And since that decade is such an overarching theme in 2019, we were curious to see exactly what the coolest girls were wearing in July in the late '90s, in both the spirit of nostalgia and in hopes that we'd walk away with some fresh outfit or shopping inspiration. Sure enough, we got both.

Cool girls such as Halle Berry, Cameron Diaz, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Leelee Sobieski were living in a world of slip dresses and skirts, tube tops, pouch bags, and platforms, and we're 100% here for it. The 15 photos below are providing a slew of summer outfit inspiration, so read on to see what the coolest girls were wearing exactly 20 years ago, and shop pieces inspired by the July 1998 looks at the end.

Photo:

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

As Halle Berry shows here, it doesn't get more classic '90s cool girl than a spaghetti-strap tank top and a slip skirt paired with strappy sandals.

Photo:

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

Leelee Sobieski wore a maxi dress in July 1998 that makes us see why the leopard-print trend is back with such a vengeance.

Photo:

Barry King/Liaison/Getty Images

Salma Hayek wore three things that people are wearing again in 2018: lavender, pouch bags, and minimal sandals.

Photo:

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

Leave it to SJP to find the easiest-to-copy 'fit of July 1998.

Photo:

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

Saved by the Bell's Lark Voorhies proved that straight-leg jeans and a sweetheart neckline will always be a good combo.

Photo:

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

Who wore it best: Cindy Crawford or Barbie? (Answer: Cindy Crawford.)

Photo:

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

Michelle Williams's choker, strapless LBD, and furry shoes make for a combination we've definitely seen repeated in the current decade.

Photo:

Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Two observations: Jennifer Lopez clearly doesn't age, and she could undoubtedly get away with wearing this chic slip dress today.

Photo:

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

If it's the '90s minimalist look that you love the most, look no further than Claire Danes's simple sheath dress and slingback sandals. Nineties style doesn't get more timeless than this.

Photo:

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

Cameron Diaz's tube top and low-slung trousers were a uniform for many cool girls in the late '90s.

Photo:

David Keeler/Online USA/Getty Images

Jennifer Aniston (and plenty of others who are in the know) have been wearing sheath dresses for years.

Photo:

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

Believe it or not, everything about Jessica Biel's quintessential '90s look is back in style: oval glasses, ruched tube top, miniskirt, anklet, and platform shoes included.

Photo:

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

Two decades ago, Christina Applegate displayed the most sophisticated way to wear the sheer trend.

Photo:

Alain BENAINOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Claudia Schiffer's silver cowl-neck gown is the epitome of evening dressing in 1998.

Photo:

Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage

We're pretty sure we've seen Courteney Cox's exact outfit on Instagram this year.

Shop Pieces Inspired by July 1998

This story was originally published at an earlier date and has been updated. Next up, see the '90s makeover our editor in chief recently gave herself.