The ‘90s are probably my favourite decade; vibrant patterns, bright colours and of course, the Backstreet Boys, all in one happy package! Anyone born in the late ‘80s – early ‘90s will reassure you that it was an innocent time, a time when Beverly Hills was on and denim overalls were still cool.
A lot has happened fashion-wise since then, but during this past year, we’ve come to realise that many ‘90s trends are back! No one could be happier than me since I love all things nostalgic and pop; however, it’s safe to say that some of the decade’s ‘must-haves’ don’t seem that cool anymore. Imagine wearing a vertically striped shirt (you know, the one with the thick red and green stripes) paired with your favourite military trousers to work today… Would you dare? I know I wouldn’t!
So here are the top 10 fashion flops of the ‘90s that might still be haunting your closet (and you know it’s time to let go):
Oh how I hate the turtleneck. I mean it’s one thing to wear a top that slightly embraces your neck and another to get slowly choked by it! I never liked turtlenecks and I never will. Whether they come in the form of a top, dress or sweater, they can only be uncomfortable and look funny -even on Charlize Theron (ok, she may look just fine in them, but trust me, you don’t).
2. Hawaiian shirts
Unless you’re Leonardo DiCaprio in Romeo + Juliet or a tourist in Hawaii, you have to face the truth; Hawaiian shirts are not good for you. They’re not good for your image and they’re not good for the people you’re hanging out with. Now you know why they pretended they didn’t know you at that party. Lose the palm trees ASAP.
3. Baggy jeans
This one’s a ‘classic’. The baggy jeans were loose enough to let your boxers ‘accidentally’ emerge from underneath your skate T-shirt. At some point, the whole underwear was showing and boys, you have to admit it was intentional. I’ll never know what for, though, since it was clearly unattractive. (Then Freestyler came along in 2000 and made matters even worse…)
4. Military trousers and white tank tops
Oh, the military… So many distasteful items have derived from this pattern and not even one was worth the fabric. T-shirts, skirts, trousers… Especially the military trousers are my absolute ‘don’t’. Pair them with a white tank top and you’re ready to join the Army. Were it not for The O.C.’s Ryan and the beloved tank top would have gone extinct. But no, he just had to bring it back…
5. White T-shirt with floral summer dress
This was the absolute ‘90s girl trend. Do you have a white T-shirt lying around and you’ve got to wear it outside, even though you should actually sleep in it? Throw a floral dress on and you’ll rock the ‘granny look’! I’m not so sure whether it was meant to make you stylish or rather keep you warm, but I know I loved it. I hate to admit it, but hey, we’ve all been there.
6. Leopard prints, tribal prints and generally, prints
Ok, I LOVE prints of any type but this was too much even for me! I mean it’s nice to mix and match but you have to keep it minimal at some point, otherwise someone’s going to turn blind. Colourful geometrical shapes on top of leopard prints… the highlight.
7. Chain wallets and backpacks with pins
Now there’s a trend that inspired a whole generation. If you didn’t own a chain wallet back then, you were definitely un-cool. Don’t act like you don’t remember, it was the one you tied to your ripped baggy jeans when you pretended to be on the grunge side of life. And to take it one step further, you ‘decorated’ your backpack with a hundred pins -all of rock bands, dah!- and strutted your stuff in the school yard as if Kurt Cobain had given you his thumbs up. (Don’t even get me started on the Nirvana T-shirt.)
Yes, the top of the flops. Nick Carter was doing it, Britney Spears was doing it, Madonna was doing it… Hell, I wouldn’t be left behind! The printed light-blue bandanna was a classic choice and it matched my denim overalls. Fast forward a few years later, I say it shouldn’t be allowed to match anything.
9. Slap bracelets with crazy prints and terry cloth wristbands
This was all about the sound, if you ask me. You loved to tap the slap bracelet time and time again on your wrist until the bell rang and you had more important things to do. Coming in all neon colours and crazy prints, this was the most fun ‘90s accessory. Tacky, nevertheless… And if you were more of a gym type, the terry cloth wristband was enough to make you look stylish and fit. (Or so you thought.)
10. The ‘Rachel’ haircut, the bowl cut and the spiked hair
Last but not least, the ‘90s haircuts! So many to choose from… While every girl on earth copied Jennifer Aniston’s cropped haircut from the Friends era, boys would copy Nick Carter and Leonardo DiCaprio’s bowl cut. No one ever stopped to wonder, though, if this actually made them look like reverse soup bowls. And what was up with the spiked hair? I remember I loved that hair in boys, until I started to realise how ridiculous it looked. Plus, why waste huge amounts of gel when it’s only making your hair fall faster?
So yeah, that was a time of printed chaos, vinyl and neon overabundance. But let’s not forget the high-waisted jeans you used to steal from your mum or Angela Chase’s plaid skirts that made you think you, too, could have a Jordan Catalano by your side. Or the Airwalks and Skechers that matched your Fila and No Fear T-shirts – man, they were comfortable! And remember: now that’s Christmas, you can shamelessly wear your reindeer jumper or your tribal knitted jacket and celebrate the ‘90s as they ought to be celebrated!