What Wins Best 90s Music Genre?

The great 1990s are a collection of ten incredible years hallmarked in history by their contribution to fashion and music.

90s music was a burst of angst, energy, colour, dance, and soul that has never repeated itself in quite the same way. Here, we’ll let 90s music fight 90s music. From Britpop to Eurodance, find out which is worthy of a 2017 comeback.

‘Girl Power’ vs…

90s music was all about powerful and influential female groups and singers. Expressive songs, motivational videos and power ballads from bands like Eternal, Destiny’s Child, En Vogue, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, and Christina ‘Xtina’ Aguilera were a hugely popular break from the male-dominated music scene of the time. Madonna was as omnipotent as ever and Sugababes managed to hop onto one of the last departing trains for the decade in 1998, but — of course — ‘Girl Power’ was high-kicked into a global phenomenon by the almighty Spice Girls.

An unforgettable quintet whose posters were plastered on the walls of every young girl’s bedroom during the decade, the five famously fabricated personalities of the Spice Girls gave young girls someone to identify with and pushed the idea that women could be successful independently from men (admittedly, their former manager, Simon Fuller, played a part).

Britpop

Britpop was, as you can guess, all about singing for British youths and acted almost as a counter attack on the themes of American songs at the time. Bands like Blur, Oasis, The Verve, and Manic Street Preachers took influence from 60s/70s British rock music and propelled Britpop to subculture status with its own distinct clothing and attitude. 90s songs like Wonderwall and Parklife had a strong sense of local identity and working class ethics that really spoke to youths of the day, while the behaviour and atmosphere of Britpop championed the brazen maleness of ‘lad culture’ at a time when ‘Girl Power’ was about to make waves.

Verdict:

While Girl Power instilled self-belief and confidence in many young girls, Britpop was all about giving the working-class a mainstream platform and voice. Feminism vs. social mobility? We’re backing off and making this one a tie.

Party dance routines vs…

From Whigfield’s Saturday Night to Los del Rio’s Macarena, you have to admit the 90s were a hit for disco routines. Not only were these ideal ways of moving from the corner to the dancefloor at the unavoidable school Christmas party, but they’ve also been helping DJs crank up the party spirit at wedding receptions and 18th birthdays ever since. In this time of dabbing, twerking and whipping your hair; there was something pricelessly innocent about doing Madonna’s Vogue gestures, followed by a Steps’ 5,6,7,8 and Rednex Cotton Eye Joe hoedown.

Boy bands

Although 90s music was big on girls groups, the stage was fairly shared by the boy band. N’Sync and Backstreet Boys were America’s greatest exports in this industry, while Take That and Westlife fought back well for the UK and Ireland. The ballads, bubblegum pop tunes and craze-making dance routines pumped out by boy bands of the 90s created the type of frenzy seen by Elvis fans in the 50s and The Beatles followers in the 60s.

Before we knew it, there were dolls, posters, magazines, and clothing devoted to these vocal harmony groups but unfortunately, this led many to associate boy bands as being mere puppets of a money-hungry record label. Although we tired of miming shows, structured interviews and tacky merchandise, many boy bands have actually made a respectable return to the music scene in the past few years, including Take That and Backstreet Boys. So, there was talent behind the trash after all.

Verdict:

Although these disco dance routines are always good fun, the boy band 90s music genre was a formidable force. Even today, we wonder if Smash Hits would have kept in print without it. All in all, it’s that wonderful sense of nostalgia that has persuaded us to let the boys win this one. Nothing brings back memories of our youth than the dolls, posters, concert t-shirts, and scrapbooks filled with ‘I *heart* Justin’ of our beloved 90s boys.

Feelgood party tunes vs…

The 1990s were a feelgood decade. Home Alone was on at the cinema, the World Wide Web had its first test run, Nokia’s Snake was controlling all our minds, and Harry Potter flew into our lives. But this was also the season of boppy, catchy pop songs that still get us dancing today. In the same year that Tony Blair rode Labour back into office the Danish-Norwegian pop group, Aqua, released Barbie Girl and we were hooked. The 90s music scene was peppered with unforgettable tunes like B*Witched’s C’est la Vie, Chumbawamba’s Tubthumping, Right Said Fred’s I’m Too Sexy, Ricky Martin’s Livin’ La Vida Loca, and literally anything Steps released. Yes, these weren’t lyrical masterpieces, but they were a good laugh and we all loved them back in the day.

Contemporary R’n’B and urban music

In the 1990s, the world was more connected than it’s ever been. So, let’s look at 90s music outside the UK. The greatest genre to captivate the decade was modern R’n’B/urban which was spearheaded by artists including: Faith Evans, Lauryn Hill, En Vogue, Boyz II Men, Usher, R. Kelly, and TLC.

Combining funk, pop and blues, contemporary R’n’B and urban songs are rich, soulful and emotional which was a great contrast between the more sugary ballads and techno tunes they were up against in the 90s. Tracks such as I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston and Vision of Love by Mariah Carey kick-started the genre which has weaved its way through the following decades to nourish global stars like Beyonce, Ne-Yo and John Legend.

Verdict:

We’re grateful for the cool, deep and inspiring songs of 90s R’n’B music, and how they’ve contributed to our music then and today. But if we could bring either of these 90s music genres back; our heart says feelgood. There’s no better party starter or stress booster than a cheesy 90s playlist. Let’s face it, family occasions just wouldn’t be the same without a 90s feelgood megamix at the end of the night.

Hip Hop vs…

The world of 90s music would be incomplete without a nod to the globally-renowned rappers and hip-hop stars of the day. From 2Pac, Notorious B.I.G, and Vanilla Ice, to Ice Cube, Busta Rhymes and Eminem; hip hop was the genre of choice if you wanted an unfiltered insight into hard urban culture that’s often glossed over in mainstream media. Empowering, rhythmic and confident, hip-hop was the top-selling genre of music in the mid-to-late 1990s. Similar to Britpop, hip-hop is a subculture, generally containing key elements like rapping, graffiti, breakdancing, and DJing, which could explain its popularity across the world.

Eurodance

Rarely has technology and musicality collided so fruitfully. The birth of Eurodance masters like Vengaboys, Haddaway, 2 Unlimited, Corona, and Scatman John came about in the 90s due to the explosion of equipment that enabled electronic music. A combination of house, techno and dance, the Eurodance 90s music genre is recognisable for its use of synthesizers and strong bass rhythms. This type of music is almost always positive and upbeat with a strong undercurrent of partying and generally having a good time — ideal going out soundtrack for when you’re getting ready.

Verdict:

Although Eurodance has helped us get pumped up for crucial life moments, we can’t place it above the global phenomenon that is 90s hip-hop. The decade propelled the gritty genre all over the world and it’d be a very different stream of sound today if it weren’t for the rappers of the 90s.

Rock vs…

This decade was also the time that the great rock bands in modern musical history came to our attention. Before 1990, many rock bands had just a niche following compared to other genres, but as we entered the decade we saw bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and The Smashing Pumpkins receive attention from major music labels and become commercially successful. The energetic performances and expressive song lyrics really filled a gap in 90s music, and the media presented rock’s popularity throughout the 1990s almost as a rebellion of real music and emotions against the more manufactured genres of the time.

Country

Country music rocketed in popularity and airtime during the beginning of the 1990s — it even had a cover story about its history and appeal in Time magazine. Aficionados will probably attribute a lot of 90s fame to the surge in people taking up line dancing. Even in the UK, many working men’s clubs had a weekly line dancing night and this helped songs like Achy Breaky Heart and Boot-Scootin Boogie ride high in the charts. As the decade progressed, artists like Shania Twain, LeAnn Rimes, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, and Dixie Chicks took a hold of the genre and helped to usher it into the consciousness of a younger audience. Almost certainly, it was this nudge into the ‘poppier’ mainstream arena during the 1990s that helped breathe new life into country music and make sure it made it into 2017.

Verdict:

The problem is, both these genres are raw and creative, inspiring millions of fans for so many years. Country songs all seem to tell a true-to-life story, while rock expresses all the emotions we want to show for us. Dare we draw another tie?

The 90s were a huge decade for music. If you want to check out our range of retro shoes, browse our men’s and women’s Gola Classics for the perfect throwback trend to suit your style.

Summer 2017’s Hottest Shoe Trends

If you’re choosing your warm-weather wardrobe and need some footwear inspiration, check out our top shoes for summer 2017. We’ve looked at what’s tearing up the catwalks across the world right now to give you a clear-cut run-down of how to get ahead of the game this summer.

From sliders to snakeskin, our top picks for the best shoes in summer 2017 touch on a wide range of quirky designs that promise an interesting look this summer.

Wrap-around sandals

Top in our list of shoes for summer 2017 is the chic wraparound sandal, which are designed to be comfy, flat footwear — as sandals should be — but with a stylish twist. These sandals have extra material for winding around your ankle or even your lower leg to add some glamour to an otherwise ordinary shoe. This shows off your skin beautifully and it also adds to the security of your sandal which are notorious for flying off with the odd meaningful stride.

Platform and flatform shoes

Think Baby Spice in the Wannabe video and we need say no more. Platform shoes are dragging the legendary 1990s into today and will be a huge summer 2017 shoe trend. You’ll be able to get these in a range of colours, with open and closed toe options and materials, too.

Coming with the platform is the next generation of super-elevating shoes: the flatform. Set to join it’s cousin in taking summer 2017 by storm, the flatform shoe has the same sassy appeal — just a completely even base. Plat-and-flat-forms are real statement-makers, so they look great in bold colours with a neutral outfit. However, we’d also suggest you go for a type with an ankle-strap to make sure you don’t fall off them.

Kitten heel shoes

We never thought we’d see the day the divisive kitten heel would be in a ‘summer trend’ list, but here she is. Kitten heels — high-heels’ meeker and milder sister — are coming back with a bang this season. But, when you think about it, why not? They’re the ideal shoe to add a touch of height without becoming uncomfortable, plus they’re versatile enough to wear for both smart/casual and dressy events.

Wear them with sheer stockings of go barefoot and get a pair with an ankle strap for added support.

Kitten Heel Shoes

Re-visiting the 90s

The next 1990s-inspired theme to hit summer 2017 will be the 90s streetwear shoes. Those chunky trainers with big logos are going to be all the rage — especially for men. On top of that, the cool and casual sneaker is due to be a common footwear choice for boys this season, too. We think this type of laid back footwear looks great with slim-fit jeans or chinos and a checked shirt.

Gola Classics Men's Monaco Trainer

Spring boots

Boots might not be the first shoe to spring to mind for a warm weather outfit choice, but they will actually be a top trend for shoes in summer 2017. Thigh-high and ankle boots in all kinds of fabrics having been up and down the catwalks lately and there seems to be a focus on warm colours (perhaps to match the climate). So, choose your favourite material and get a pair of summer boots in orange or yellow to fit the trend.

Skinny stilettos

Incredibly thin stiletto heels are also set to be popular shoes for summer 2017. Flying in the face of the aforementioned chunky platform trend, the next season will also feature thinner-than-ever footwear options. If you’re a skilled high-heel walker, this is the shoe for you.

The skinny stiletto looks incredibly elegant and really makes you get the picture-perfect posture in order to stay steady. You’ll be able to get these in all kinds of materials and styles. Go for a peep-toe variety or try on a pair with lots of wraps and straps going above your ankle.

Stiletto Shoes

Emphasis on great outdoors

A major summer 2017 shoe trend is the great outdoors. Khaki shades, camouflage options, durable trainers, and bulky, lace-up boots are going to be smash hits for trend-setting men — particularly if they wear them with windcheater jackets and a backpack.

Gola Active Men's Glarus Trainer

Yellow season

Summer 2017 is going to be splattered with yellow. A huge next-season trend in shoes, this bright and sunny shade will be available across all kinds of footwear, from men’s canvas espadrilles to women’s ankle boots.

Black and white checks and off-white

If you’re not into fresh-out-the-box-looking white shoes and prefer something a bit less high maintenance, shoes in summer 2017 are going to be more off-white for your convenience. Less blinding and easier to keep looking good, off-white and cream plimsolls or trainers are great accessories to match with a block colour shirt and plain jeans.

Gola Classics Men's Coaster Off White

Doodled-on sneakers

If you do stick with white, why not add some flair to them with a pen? Drawing and writing on plain sneakers are going to be big in summer 2017, so get a pack of colours and make yours stand out.

Rounded heels

Rounded heels are the ultimate shoe. They give you elevation for longer-looking legs, yet don’t offer the same level of falling-risk as standard high heels. Round-heel shoes are in this summer, and we particularly like the ones featuring contrasting colours between the heel and main shoe to show off the design.

Sandals with socks and boots

Our shoes for summer 2017 list wouldn’t be complete without this beauty of a trend. Wearing socks, tights or stockings with your sandals is going to be a top fashion style, which goes completely against what we thought was good dress etiquette. If you like the look of a pair of sandals, but don’t want your feet on show, it’s a great solution and there’s obviously a huge range of varieties you can choose from to get a different look every time.

Shiny shoes

Gleaming sandals, heels and boots are set to be the finish-of-choice this summer, too. That polished look is a fantastic fit for classy nights out and we suppose it makes sense to get something shiny to catch the sun when the warm weather hits.

Lot of laces

Every top fashion designer is going to be on the lace trend next season. From multi-coloured laces that contrast the shoe they tie up, to dainty types that cover just the top of your foot. You can even buy new laces to go with a plain pair of sneakers and plimsolls to add some flair to your footwear.

Gola Classics Men's Breaker Plimsoll

Open back footwear/slingback shoes

Shoes for summer 2017 are going to heavily feature open-back footwear. Jetting off somewhere hot on holiday or even just enjoying the nice weather at home means that you’ll probably want a shoe that’s airy and breathable. This slingback trend — with just a single strip going around your heel — will come in a range of thin and thick straps to suit the feel you want. Plus, you’ll be able to choose from a good mix of casual and formal looks so you can get the right look for a particular event.

Varsity look

Summer 2017 shoes are going to benefit from a heavy dose of athletic inspiration. You’ll find lots of sneakers, plimsolls and retro trainers on the soles of people next season, which is perfect if you want a comfy day shoe that still looks like you put the effort in.

Gola Classics Women's Varsity Trainers

Snakeskin

Perhaps not everyone’s bag, but snakeskin has also made our grand ‘shoes for summer 2017’ run-down. Don’t just go for the typical snakeskin colour, though. The trend this year will see snakeskin in all kinds of bold and beautiful shades and you’ll find plenty of combo-fabric varieties if you don’t want your entire shoe in full serpent mode.

Moroccan slippers

If you like the coolness and breathability of sliders, but aren’t really into bright and bold designs, go for Moroccan slippers instead. Summer 2017 will bring a touch of the exotic thanks to an influx of this footwear type — also know as babouche slippers — which will mainly feature a subtle colour palette and simpler styles.

Sliders over flip-flops

Obviously, the flip-flop is a staple part of anyone’s summer. But this year, it might have some competition. Funky sliders in a rainbow of the brightest colours and embellished with sequins and flower patterns are set to strut the shops, promenades and beer garden terraces in summer 2017. Comfy and eye-catching, we’ve already seen great designs from fashion’s leading names, including Prada, Miu Miu and Dolce & Gabbana.

Flip Flops

For retro shoes that are perfect for summer 2017; check out our ranges of men’s Gola Classics and women’s Gola Classics before you head off.