Words by Maddie Balcombe
When it comes to iconic fashion moments, it goes without saying that the Spice Girls hold the crown. From Victoria’s girl-boss mini dresses to Mel B’s leopard print flares, the girls’ individual styles shouldn’t work together, but they somehow managed to merge their stylistic differences into the perfect pop image. Back when the Spice Girls formed, it didn’t take long before they dominated the 90s fashion scene: platform shoes, neon tops, shell suits, and even the Union Jack flag… you name it, they wore it, and made it look effortlessly cool! Fast forward 30 years, the looks of the Spice Girls have had a huge impact on the fashion trends that we see emerging on our Instagram feeds today; if it wasn’t for the bold individuality of the Spice Girls, God knows where we would be!
Considering how influential the Spice Girls have been to fashion over the last three decades, let’s take a look at some of their most iconic looks:
One of the most memorable things about the Spice Girls is that they were never afraid to use fashion as a means of self-expression and individuality. When you look at some of today’s most successful girl groups, such as Little Mix and The Pussycat Dolls, you will expect to see them in matching and pre-planned costumes. However, the Spice Girls never bought into this level of band coordination, and they remained true to themselves right until the end. This photo was taken behind the scenes of the Wannabe music video shoot. In the video, the girls burst through the doors of London’s St Pancras Grand Hotel like a breath of fresh air; their outfits juxtaposing the ‘suited-and-booted’ background extras. Perhaps this stark contrast was meant to foreshadow the fact that Spice Girls would change the fashion scene beyond recognition, or perhaps it was just a bit of light-hearted fun. Either way, from the moment this video premiered, it was clear that Spice Girls would not be an ordinary group. They were fun, fresh, fierce, and most importantly, fashionable.
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (1997)
At this point in the Spice Girls’ career, they had been assigned their infamous nicknames of Sporty, Ginger, Posh, Baby and Scary. This took the individuality of the girls’ outfits to a whole new level: they were no longer just being themselves, they now had images to uphold. Their 1997 performance on American skit show Saturday Night Live is a perfect example of how they used fashion to embrace these nicknames. From Mel C’s sporty Umbro / Kappa streetwear, to Emma Bunton’s girly pink dress, the way that the Spice Girls used fashion to reinforce their own brands was genius. Also, I think a shout out to Geri’s dress here is needed! It reads ‘Power Girl Geri’ – they were definitely ahead of their time when it came to fashionable feminist slogans.
TREND SETTERS (1997)
It’s often the case that 90s fashion feels completely nostalgic. However, in these outfits, the Spice Girls wouldn’t look out of place walking through the streets of London today. As previously mentioned, the Spice Girls have had a huge impact on the styles that are currently in trend, and this picture is a perfect example of this influence. Mel B, Geri and Emma can all be seen in pairs of Buffalo shoes. The shoes are now instantly recognisable and totally iconic in their own right, but it was the Spice Girls that boosted Buffalo into the brand it is today. As well as this, Mel C can be seen on the right of this picture in a pair of cycling shorts and Dad trainers. Her outfit is the epitome of 90s streetwear, but Mel C was actually ahead of her time. Today, cycling shorts are the go-to fashion staple for every influencer, and Dad trainers are all the rage. We owe a lot to the Spice Girls!
LEOPARD PRINT LOVING (2019)
As a group, the Spice Girls had so many memorable fashion moments, but each individual girl also made her own iconic style choices. For example, it’s now hard to picture Mel B without thinking back to her Scary Spice leopard print days. In fact, when 4/5 of the Spice Girls reunited two years ago, Mel B revived the leopard print jumpsuit, saying that the outfit helped her “reclaim who [she] was”.
THE UNION JACK DRESS (1997)
I can’t finish this article without mentioning Geri’s iconic Union Jack dress. She wore this outfit at the 1997 Brits, and it has been a part of her ever since. The dress may not have been the trendiest choice at the time, but it serves as a fabulous reminder that the Spice Girls were unapologetic in their fashion choices and true to themselves through and through.
Girls were unapologetic in their fashion choices and true to themselves through and through.