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The Fashionable Nineties and Power Dressing

The nineties are making a comeback on the fashion scene. Here's what it taught me about power dressing.


The nineties have made a comeback. Last year, as I walked into Zara at the Waterfront, in Cape Town, I saw this shirt dress made of flannel shirts. It was a long flannel shirt with what looked like extra arms to tie around your waist. The flashback to My So-Called Life and my teens was inevitable.

A week or two later I was in Sweden, going through my baby sister’s old closet and found her Doc Martens. She bought them in her teens because I had Docs. I had a beautiful red pair of Docs with yellow shoelaces. Wearing these Docs I went to the Roskilde Music Festival in Denmark, I waited tables in Paris, I walked around my high school in Sweden and I studied drama in London. When leaving London, some seven years later, I threw them out. Big mistake. I now had to beg my sister to give me hers. And they are black, not red.

I’ve been on a resurrection journey lately. A resurrection to my teens.

In my teens, I discovered I was what is labeled “an artist.” When I wasn’t waiting tables in Paris, I was sitting in coffee shops and parks writing poetry, or at home in our flat with the ghosts penning short stories.

I took dance and drama classes, I made charcoal drawings and quoted Trainspotting, I lived and breathed art. Then I set off for drama school and I got so caught in my studies I forgot to live that side of me. Sure, I did art. Every single day. Often until midnight. I worked my butt off. But it was a very strict school and I did not come home at night and sit down to write about the beauty of raindrops.

Then life happened. A myriad of jobs that I didn’t really like, while waiting for that elusive moment when I was going to be living my dreams. When that didn’t quite pan out, I packed my bags and moved to Africa to fulfill a promise of working with street children that I’d made in my teens.

At least I was suddenly living one dream. I also became a writer to pay the bills when overseas. I know, it sounds contradictory, but it actually worked out. Sort of. It was pretty hard to pay the bills, because I didn’t really enjoy writing certain things so they took forever to write and paid like $5 per article. I worked all the time, without actually getting anything done. I guess I have some form of ADHD that kicks in when my brain isn’t totally engaged. Which is like 90% of the time. With the years I learned to get better at that. Scatterbrained, yes, able to concentrate, yes. Sometimes. Better work? Oh yes.

Then, at some point, when I was ghastly tired of writing for others and a wreck from fighting for visas and raising kids from a township, I decided to take charge of my life and live again. I started writing poetry. I did charcoal drawings. I enjoyed the moment. Even if I was still fretting about visas and bills and adoption rights.

As I put on those Doc Martens I felt empowered. The girl with the big blue eyes who went to Paris on a whim and wrote poetry all day long, was back. In a better version. A less depressed and more mature version. A more confident soul. After years in Africa you can’t help but be more confident, because either that continent kills you, or it makes you stronger.

For me the Docs were the thing that did it — it was like power dressing in a matter of seconds. But other 90s trends have made comeback too. Like the biker jacket.

The one thing I kept wearing throughout the years, the thing I could not stand to give up on, was the little biker jacket. I got used to having a leather, or faux leather, jacket and I never could get out of the habit of wearing one. Sometimes I wore a slightly different style, but time and time again, I went back to my biker jackets.


Now that the biker jacket is finally back, I am, sadly, without one as I happened to leave mine in a bathroom in Copenhagen airport(the one I bought in Zara when seeing the flannel dress) late last year and I haven’t gotten round to buying a new one. Instead, I’m sporting a Ted Baker coat I found in a second-hand store. It’s bright red. Like those Doc Martens that I used to wear and just as empowering when paired with my black hooker boots. Oh yeah, thanks Julia Roberts and Pretty Woman for shaping nineties fashion and thanks whoever brought them back!

Dungarees, denim jackets and skirts and shirts, the mommy jeans (that wasn’t me, seriously), chokers and crop tops are also back. Over knee socks are kind of back too, aren’t they? It’s now just a matter of sitting back and going through Clueless to figure out what’s coming next.

Maybe we should all have a think, not just about the fashion that’s making a comeback, but about what used to empower us? Or what would empower us today, by reminding us about a part of ourselves that we used to love, but have forgotten? I certainly don’t want to go back to being the teenager I was, but I do like to be reminded that I am an artist. I wrote over 400 poems in the last two years. I decided to use it as marketing for my brand, Magique. I have over 400 beautiful moments jolted down.

Today I also sit with film scripts, novels and drawings, that didn’t exist two years ago. I’ve started dancing again, too. Maybe not because I found a pair of Docs in my sister’s wardrobe, but it certainly helped.

So dig through that wardrobe of yours and find the equivalent of my Docs. Who knows? Maybe I’ll meet you at the Oscars thanks to a piece of clothing that inspires something.

Related Articles

It's really hot outside right now - and sometimes the question is, what are we going to do now to offer the kids something despite the heat? We have some tips for you, maybe you can use them with your little ones.

Water fun in the pool

We have a pool in the garden, but it is not very big, about 3 meters in diameter, in our eyes absolutely sufficient for a fun or quiet cooling. Surely you can not swim in it, but in order to "dive" for an object, or "water dances" or just to relax, it is definitely enough.

One should not forget that also in the water to the sun protection must be thought. That means, as in the outdoor swimming pool: do not forget to apply creams. In the best case, the pool is in the shade or is protected by a larger parasol. Ours is in the sun - we hold the children in strong heat and sun to regular water breaks, so that they can then stay in the shade. Sometimes they do not see it directly, but with some persuasion and an ice cream or drinking break, it works.

Water fun without pool

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Not everyone is in possession of a pool, has no garden or simply lacks the money for the purchase. Alternatively - as with us earlier - a small pool of water or an old bathtub can be set up and filled or even just a bucket of water, where it quickly sets the fun, namely, if you use small syringes and injected each other wet.


Or fills bombs and plays catching, at some point they are sure to break and depending on how cold the water is, in some the screaming is certainly great.

Do you have gradients on the property? Then try a waterslide. A tarpaulin is laid out, at best a slightly longer one, filling a bucket of water and sliding down with or without a butt-end slide. Or build a shower or a sprinkler, where you can also refresh yourself wonderfully. However, this is more likely if you can take the water from a well or rainwater collection tank. Tap water is too expensive.

To eat and drink

You should always encourage the children to drink. Of course, they only do it when they are thirsty, and then it is already too late. There is then already a lack of fluid in the body. For example, 10-year-olds should drink around 1.2 liters a day. In case of heat, sports or illness this need increases. Outdoors, the glasses or cups should always be capped, as there is a risk that bees or wasps will fly in. The safest are lockable plastic water bottles.

Our favorite drinks are:

  • water diluted with water
  • Springs of any kind
  • sometimes cold tea (fruit tea, slightly sweetened)
  • water

To eat at noon in such a heat often nothing hot, but rather fruit, pudding and cold dishes, cereals with fruit, yogurt, milk and other things, which falls into our hands.

What you can do with children when it's really hot

Summer is finally here, and that's right! In the meantime, if it's too hot outside for you, we have collected a lot of ideas for "cool" activities with big and small children - whether at home or on vacation.

If the outside temperature is more than 30 degrees Celsius and the sun is burning, you should do the same to the inhabitants of southern countries: stay inside during the day. Unfortunately, it is rarely as pleasantly cool in Central European apartments as in a Moroccan riad or Spanish patio.

Our hot-tip game tip: Turn on the fan and spray each other with a water atomizer - the wind adds a great deal of "glorious cool" factor and the spray is so fine that the floor does not get really wet (and slippery).

Funny for smaller children are also soap bubbles, tissue paper snippets or light cloths that can fly in the vortex of the fan; the elderly may try to keep folded aircraft in the air with the help of the fan.


Summer Idea Number one: bathing, splashing and swimming

On the beach and the sea you have to do without - or at least wait until it finally goes on vacation? Well, it would be too hot for your little ones anyway.

Even on the smallest balcony fits a wash basin for prattling. With watering can, pots and scooping tools, little children are busy for hours. And if it is too hot even there, just sit in the bathtub with your child.


Tip for shower-only users: An inflatable paddling pool can be squeezed into the lowest bath.


Do you have a yard or garden, where the temperatures are reasonably bearable, then you can declare this area to the water playground (a meadow in the park is of course also). A garden hose with spray attachment, a few water guns from the toy store (which should be sold out, Amazon often provides the very next day) and self-filled depth charges are the basic equipment for a day full of "Aqua Fun".

Your imagination knows no bounds: homemade glitter-glibber , bodypainting with finger paints or ice cube massage - you'll probably find more "cool stuff".


On the way in the city it gets really unbearable on hot days - the children sweat and nölen, playgrounds lie in the sun and on the slide one burns up the A ... In many cities public fountains offer a splendid refreshment.


Experience report thoroughly before you let your offspring climb into these facilities:

How is the soil under water - overgrown with slippery algae, sharp-edged or with tripping hazards?

What is the water quality? (if it is not drinking water, infants should not bathe here)

How strong are the fountains, is there a risk of injury or are the facilities even endangered by playing children? (You have the duty of supervision! If your children break something while you are supervising them, the liability insurance does not cover the damage.)

Are there signs or prohibitions for the use of the fountain? Where many tourists are traveling, bathing children are often not so welcome.

Is the fountain in the shade? When playing in the sun, while they are pleasantly wet, children do not notice the heat and get a quick sunburn or sunstroke.


For reasons you should not let your kids play naked in such actions; instead of a bathing suit or bikini, T-shirts and shorts get better, which you then exchange for dry ones. After all, you use the fountain quite by accident and not specifically as an outdoor pool, right?


By the way, much cooler than bathing lakes are brooks - if you come to one (in the city area many small watercourses are unfortunately completely embedded in concrete or laid underground), then enjoy the ice-cold foot bath.


If you really want to take a good bath, the early morning hours or the time just before the closing time are ideal for a visit to the outdoor pool. If you jump into the pool first, you will enjoy cool temperatures, more space and shade on the sunbathing lawn; the soil is not yet so heated and the ozone pollution of the air is still low.

After work or a kindergarten visit you are best left with a visit to the outdoor pool, even if you really want to swim. At 6 pm, most of the outdoor guests are slowly packing up, the area is empty and you can enjoy the water until the end.

Tip: pack a light picnic and have dinner in the bathroom. Then you can put your clean, well-fed and well-made children directly to bed at home.


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