While "fashion" might not be just the right word for this 1990’s trend, Umbros were certainly a mainstay in many a 90’s wardrobe.
In the land of fashion in the 1990’s Umbro shorts represented their own look – no team, athletics or soccer needed. This look was particularly popular among college girls, although I think guys wore their fair share of Umbros in the day. There was also a trickle down fashion effect that took this look to the under 18 crowd as well.
The complete look included a t-shirt, preferably from a sorority or fraternity party, the Umbros, white socks (not the no-show kind of today, but taller onesthat were then scrunched down), and tennis shoes, usually Nikes. I have noticed a very similar look is still popular with college aged girls today, but with some key differences. The t-shirt remains the same. But, the shorts are no longer Umbros and are now quite a bit shorter (Nike running shorts are popular). Finally, instead of the scrunched down white socks, the shoe of choice for this casual day look is the flip flop.
This quotation from Jessica Biel underlines the appeal of this particular look, she says on discovering fashion:
"I literally wore Umbro shorts, No Fear T-shirts, and sneakers until I was, like, 15. I didn’t care, and my mom didn’t care. I didn’t have fashion icons. I looked up to [soccer player] Mia Hamm." Jessica Biel as quoted in Harper’s Bazaar
Many, but not all of the Umbros of the 90s had a contrast color band around the bottom. Mine, for example, were purple with a neon green piping along the bottom (sweet!). In this picture (left), we see a classic red with white example. Also highlighted in this authentic 1993 picture, the ideal 90’s scrunchable white socks are on display.
In the 1990’s it seemed that everyone was in to working out and being healthy, or at least it was fashionable to look like you were making an effort. Nothing says "I am off to the gym" quite like a pair of Umbro shorts, even if where you were off to was the cafeteria for the unlimited soft serve. Actually, Umbros were good for that too as they were very roomy and forgiving if a person spent a little more time with the soft serve than the gym equipment.
Today, my equivalent outfit involves a tank top, yoga pants and a Patagonia zip up, but the heart of Umbro-inspired comfort dressing still beats strong.