Pop culture comes in 20 year cycles. In the 90s, when I was in high school and university, we wore 70s retro clothes (e.g. girls wore bell bottoms, dudes like me wore butterfly collars). In the 00s, there was a giant 80s retro revival: scrunchies, leggings, sampled 80s tunes in hip hop, etc.
According to this theory then this decade will be a retro movement to the 90s: grunge, flannel, shoulder pads, and so on. Lately I've been seeing more Nirvana t-shirts (even some Stone Temple Pilots and 90s vintage Red Hot Chili Peppers) around then I'd seen in well 2 decades. Andrew just posted on the 20th Anniversary of Nevermind.
In the 90s I remember seeing a piece on Marilyn Manson. The band talked about how they listened to Lionel Ritchie. I didn't know what was freakier--them or them rockin' out to Say You, Say Me. The point is the preview of the coming retro comes when some previously big time artist in one decade who is thoroughly mocked in the next is brought (half seriously/half parodied) by some cool kids. As in Lionel Ritchie was big in the 80s, mocked in the 90s, yet Marilyn Manson predicted the return of 80s music in the 2000s (including and perhaps especially Ritchie).
Well given that trend, we have a big time piece of evidence that 90s retro is really picking up steam and only likely to increase exponentially in the next few years. At the most recent Emmys, The Lonely Island Boys brought out Michael Bolton to sing 'Jack Sparrow', the song he co-sings with them on their most recent album. [Warning: It's medley of their stuff, including Emmy-winning 'Three Way'.] Bolton a major figure of the 90s (quintessential 90s pop), mocked thoroughly in the 2000s, and now is back in the 2010s.
And us "old" folks who actually lived through the 90s will need to remember (as with all previous retro movements), the retro movements are never quite what the originals were. They are a postmodern iterative function. It becomes a new creation through its new usage, repetition, and slight modification.
Michael Bolton. That really happened.
I invite readers to send in stories, photos, links that document the rising age of 90s retro. I'll collect them and we can continue to post ongoing sightings of this phenomenon.