I thought I’d do a ‘blast from the past’ post, this week, seeing as it brings back a lot of good memories about being a 90s child, not to mention all those great kids shows and cheap 1p sweets we used to have. Sure there were rubbish stuff too (like , but from the generation that gave us Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Are You Afraid of the Dark and the classic literature (read: terrible) that are Fear Street books, the 90s were really just one big rave (with 90s trance music).
So its inevitable when looking back with these rose-tinted glasses that we also remember the awful, awful fashion trends we all had. And yes, we all did it. We all wore the sparkly tiaras with leggings and jumper dresses (wait, that sounds like fashion from today. Recycling trends, of course not!) We had the neon, glow-in-the dark t-shirts , the plastic Walkman headphones with the horrible curtain hair style (be still my beating heart, *swooooon*) with the heft Air Nikes, which boys clomped down the street in, either posing as Brian from the Backstreet Boys or er, Coolio.
And I’ll also confess, between being dressed by my mother and also being ‘adventurous’ with my own fashion choice, I mostly looked like a crazy troll doll. At least I was oblivious to it at the time, and that’s what counts. So that you can all share the pain too, here’s the Top Ten fashion faux from the 90s, whether you wore them proudly and loudly or hid in your room and dressed up.
1. Floppy hats aka Blossom-style, or what I call lids-for-empty-heads. I hated those hats. See below for example. Mind you, I used to wear woolly hats as a teenager during my goth/grunger phase, so I can’t really talk there. But still, whenever I look back on these big man-hats (and not cool man-hats either, like a decent top hat) I think of the good-girl next door look. This girl had an unhealthy obsession with floral hats, I tell you. I think I vaguely remember one of my sisters trying this look, but it must not have stuck (and I don’t have any photographic evidence to laugh at her every day remind her with.
Ugh. Goddarn cheesy hats.
2. Brown lipstick. More specifically, (and even worse) that dark lip-liner outline look. I hated that look. In fact, I still do. I know it was meant to look hot at the time (and thank god I was too young to be bothered about make-up at the time), but it just had the effect of looking like you drew outside the lipline and it was waiting to be filled in, like a colouring book. I have a friend who still wears her make-up like this, and WILL NOT LISTEN TO ME when I tell her to lighten up with the deep clashing lipliner with an opposite colour inside. This trend is one reason why I never wore anything brown for a very, very, long time : (
3. Light up trainers. Anyone who was anyone, had one. Okay, not anyone, just all the little kids, but it was fun sliding down the slippery shopping mall floors and lighting up. Pity they only came in red lights. Presenting the kids answer for what to use if there is ever a blackout.
4. Stick on earrings, one for every day of the month! Probably aimed at those of us girlies who were unfortunate enough to have mothers who didn’t think pierced ears were for little girls or something, I can’t really relate to be honest, my mum had my ears pierced a baby so they’d be done and over with, so these were kind of a pointless novelty for me. I do remember having swirly bright pink and green round stickers in different shapes, which we used to stick everywhere on books and on our skin. Although if these stayed on for longer than three minutes without the use of superglue, it was a miracle. Even more fun, my sister and I would experiment with them as bindhis, and then make fun out of each other for looking stupid when they fell off.
5. Stirrup leggings. Sound like horse clothes, don’t they? Personally, I never wore them because I was never allowed, but remember a lot of girls wearing these in my class, and wondering whether the strappy bits were comfortable (they didn’t look it), I always worried that you might trip up on your owns straps of the elasticky pants (and maybe yank your pants down in the proces), although this never happened to anyone I knew – but they didn’t look entirely flattering either.
6. Fanny packs (we just called them bum bags). Oh my god. I won’t even go into this one.
7. Platform shoes, for all us short girls. I remember my sister wearing this to high school every day (Kickers shoes, yay!) and then losing about a foot in height when she came home and took them off. Funnily enough, I see a lot of Goths wearing them these days, but I don’t think they mean to be ironic about it. I used to have platform sandals which I wore in the late 90s (I was a bit late, I know) which I wore every day for about a month until I just threw them away because I felt a bit deceptive about relative praising me about how ‘big and tall’ I looked (Asians value weird things, I tell you).
8. Leotards. Another item which I (thankfully) never wore, but saw plenty of in my youth. I remember seeing these being worn as tops with cut-off jeans or just trousers, but they just looked….like leotards under jeans. Funnily enough, this is one of the typical ‘American’ outfit which I associate with the 90s, although most women who weren’t Hpllywood stars just looked like they’d finished doing gymnastics at P.E. time rather than a male fantasy.
9. Blue contact lenses. This doesn’t sound as bad, unless you remember that I’m Pakistani and everyone around me is, well, brown. So it’s not a big leap to assume someone is wearing contacts when they turn up one day with dazzling baby blues, (or in the case of one guy we knew, one green contact lense with demo written across it. I kid you not). Granted, this was more of a late-nineties-to-noughties thing, but that doesn’t make it any less tack, it was a terrible look then, and still is now.
10. The epitome of the 90s look: shell suits. I had one, my sisters had one, my brother had one, heck, if we had a family pet, it would have had a mini one sewn by my mum. While they were very, em, comfy, they were also very bright, plasticky-looking and noisy, not to mention making you look like Vicky Pollard in co-ordinated shoes and accessories. I cringe mightily.
That’s not all the embarassing 90s fashion trends, but they’re certainly the worse ones. There’s other ones which were less embarassing, but still evoke silly memories (like huge scrunchies, slap bracelets and fake henna tattoos). And how can I do a 90s post without mentioning the Rachel haircut? We had all sorts of silly accessories, weird hair styles and questionable tastes, but I suppose that was half of the fun.
The 90’s for me was the fun part of growing up, exploring colours, trends and making friends, and it really was one unique decade (although the 80’s kids will say different, but don’t listen to them). While it’s weird looking at the kids of today (the tenties?) zoom around with smart phones, iPads, skinny jeans and straightened hair, the inner 90s child with her crimped hair and bright pink Michael Jackson pants knows what they’re missing out on.
I do have to say though, I never did see anyone wearing MC Hammer pants.