Re-runs of our favourite childhood shows are nothing new at the age of streaming sites. But it seems like nostalgia's quite strong on Instagram and TikTok with the resurgence of an early 2000s trend: casual cosplay.
Defined by Urban Dictionary as “wearing an outfit meant to be reminiscent of a character” but “not a full costume as it is made of everyday clothing from the wearer's preexisting wardrobe”, this trend, whose most known variation is Disneybounding, takes on a different turn in 2020 with ‘90s and ‘00s cartoons being the main outfit inspirations instead of the ones from today.
Chances are you’ve already seen some of your friends — or influencers — giving this a try. Browsing our list because you’re ready to try your hand at casual cosplay too? These stylish cartoons as outfit inspirations will help you slay the fashion game both digitally and in real life.
We can’t talk about stylish cartoons without starting with the ultimate ‘90s animated fashion icon, Sailor Moon and her Sailor Scouts. When out of their universe-saving uniforms, Usagi Tsukino and her gang are seen sporting sweaters, crop tops, bomber jackets and the like, which truly capture the fashion scene of when the original animé and manga was set. And because this particular aesthetic has been making its way back into our consciousness through recent trends, it’s easier to cop the looks from this animé using your current wardrobe.
Take your cues from: These videos by Tiffany Swan and thenancinator. Both creators recreated some of the characters’ signature looks when wearing casual outfits, proving how easy donning each look can be. Most of them are also summer-friendly, which is perfect for us living in the tropics.
The Powerpuff Girls
It's undeniable that at least one of the three — there are four now — Powerpuff Girls' characters resonated with us when we were young. But now that we’re all grown up, we realise that instead of just picking one, it’s more interesting to dress as inspired by all of them. Aside from their distinct colours, Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup’s personalities also provide a great template for the vibe each look must exude.
Take your cues from: This quick TikTok video from TelleMayWhy and all the looks from the Powerpuff x Christian Gowan fashion show from 2019. Each character’s signature colour is already a great starting point for recreating a look so it's all up to you to add that extra 'oomph' to your inspired ensemble.
Another stylish cartoon that gave us style envy starred the BFF trio of Sam, Alex and Clover. What’s interesting about this show is unlike other Western cartoons at the time (or even at present, really), these girls have rotating wardrobes much like Sailor Moon’s crew, giving us a variety of outfit inspirations to choose from. And similar to Powerpuff Girls, their spy outfits also match signature colours, making it easy for us to cop their looks. Plus, laser lipsticks and compacts that double up as phones? Colour us obsessed!
Take your cues from: SkinniestJean’s Totally Spies-inspired lookbook featuring thrifted clothing and Janice Glimer’s on-point wardrobe choices influenced by the group. The versatility of the show’s fashion makes it unnoticeable as casual cosplay unless pointed out — like you're an actual spy in disguise.
For old school Disney stans, this bunch of quirky elementary school students are surely to beat when we’re talking about ‘90s cartoons. Contrary to the channel’s typical vanilla content compared to Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network at the time, Recess provided a mix of smart yet mischievous storytelling to the table, teaching kids about the values of individuality amidst a conformist society. But aside from its notable narrative, the characters’ outfits are also interestingly copyable from our now-adult perspective.
Take your cue from: basically this entire tag on Instagram dedicated to fans who can’t get enough of this show. From Ashley’s badass aesthetic to TJ’s guy/girl-next-door vibe, what’s not to love?
Even before casual cosplay was a thing, people dressing up as the Scooby gang for Halloween was already a trend. After all, it’s quite easy to come up with your own inspired outfit inspired by the characters' distinct looks. But in the age of gender-bent and reimagined fashion statements, who’s to say you have to restrict yourself to dressing up as either Velma or Daphne?
Take your cue from: Daphne Hinton who didn’t just recreate the gang’s outfits but also tweaked it to match her own style.
Outfit curating got you hungry? Recreate these amazing recipes as inspired by your favourite movies next!