’90s Trends That Haven’t Made A Comeback…Yet Refinery29

You guys. This ’90s throwback thing is out of control. Everywhere we go, we see baby Alicia Silverstones and Sarah Michelle Gellars rocking head-to-toe overalls, crop tops, grungy florals, and Clueless minis. The Merry-Go-Rounds of our youth have officially been ransacked, and there’s nothing left on the shelves…except maybe the nine trends ahead.

See, not all ’90s trends have made a comeback yet — and as you’ll see, that’s a very mixed blessing. Glitter? Still into it. Bucket hats? Yeah, you can keep that, Dawson. Click on to see the ’90s trends the retro juggernaut’s missed, and maybe get some inspiration for your own ahead-of-the-curve vintage look.

Get ‘em here before they’re on sale at every mall store from here to Contempo Casuals Wet Seal. Who knows, maybe you’re just the person to bring back the bucket hat…

The Lilith Fair Kerchief — Oh, don’t mind Alyssa Milano, guys. She’s just sitting here, reading to you like a latter-day Mother Goose in her weirdly eldery tiny glasses and modesty-sparing kerchief. How the head scarf went from Aaliyah to Alyssa, and every Lilith Fair folkie, in a matter of years is a mystery to us (but we think Madonna was involved). If you think these haven’t come back yet, meetJ.Lo and Nicole Richie in 2005! Let’s…take a break before we bring these back again, okay, guys?

Photo: Courtesy of Candies

Photo: Courtesy of Candies

Also, in 1999, we may have owned a pair of black capri slacks with embroidery and multicolored beads hanging off the bottom. Just so you knew that beneath our business casual facades beat the heart of a totally exotic world traveler.

Bobby Pins On Clips On…Flowers? — We don’t know why, but in the ’90s, it seemed like a really good idea to put a whole bunch of crazy crap on our heads. We made cornrows out of butterfly clips. A riot grrrl was nothing without her baby barrettes. The higher the scrunchie, the closer to God. And this, Sassy-led trend of putting a million clips and bobby pins in your hair haphazardly, because you are TOO COOL TO CARE, guys. Full disclosure: We may have fallen for this trend during our ill-advised ninth-grade bang grow-out period. It made it…no less awkward.

Photo: Via Sassy/SassyScans

Photo: Via Sassy/SassyScans

Editor’s note: This male model’s name was Brent. Our diaries heard a lot about him in 1994.

This Whole Look — Wow, this is just a head-to-toe travesty treasure box of undiscovered ’90s trends! The shoes are remarkably similar to the type-chunk heels we’re seeing at ASOS these days. But scroll up with us here: black pedal pushers with a helpful slit to showcase our soccer calves. Vaguely skater-ish baby tee. Teeny, shrunken cardigan. A BUCKET HAT, full of Gilligan swag. Some brave soul will attempt to bring this look back, and we will slow clap their hopeless valiance (but secretly snicker that they look like the dude from New Radicals in that hat).

Photo: Courtesy of Bongo

Photo: Courtesy of Bongo

The Ankle-Length Jean Skirt — Man, there is nothing more refreshing than wearing a nice, light skirt on a sweltering summer day. What? You want to make that skirt out of the world’s heaviest fabric? Okay. And you want to make this skirt floor-length? Um, I guess. And you want this skirt to have an unfinished hem, matronly apron pocket, and inexplicable fading in the center, where no fading could ever naturally occur? What dread Hades-garment is this?

Photo: Via Flickr/Mmaquino

Photo: Via Flickr/Mmaquino

All Brown Everything — Guys. We just read this really great book, 50 Things Kids Can Do To Save The Earth? Yeah, we’re totally not littering anymore, and we’re deciding whether we want a Bedrock Berry or Vanillasaurus Flintstones Push-Upbefore we open the freezer, so we don’t waste energy. Oh, and all our makeup’s brown now, and we drew a pair of brown lips outside our regular lips. It’s about respect for Mother Nature, guys.

Photo: Via Marie Claire

Photo: Via Marie Claire

The Teeny-Ribbed Sweater — Okay, aside from the tapestry vest (no), we actually really like this look! The slim-cut sweater and pixie cut is very Jean Seberg. But let’s recall for a moment how this trend actually worked out in our lives. Much as we desired a chic, shrunken sweater from Agnes B., ours were bought with our allowances from Aeropostale, and the ribs tended to stretch out after a few wears, making us the proud donner of the world’s droopiest accordionshirt. It was the sartorial equivalent of sad trombones. Luckily, we saw the movie Singles shortly thereafter, and totally switched to thermals, man.

gap

Photo: Courtesy of Gap

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  1. I remember those chunky shoes! Lots of this stuff was made popular by (still one of my personal favorite movies) Clueless. I used to have the comb with the glitter gel on it. You comb through for glitter streaks. One day someone at school told me it looked like I had bird poop in my hair so I stopped using it. Oh trends.

  2. Yes! I unfortunately word a bucket hat for most of 6th grade…it did not look good. I still wear too-small cardigans and head-kerchiefs. I also still have a serious thing for chunky mary-janes and Doc Martens. And oh my god body glitter needs to stay gone. I remember you could get it in those little bubble things that plastic rings came in for a quarter! Glitter is making a bit of a comeback, I recently bought some pink eye shadow that I thought was just shimmery, but it was just like straight up glitter I thought my eyes were going to bleed by the time I washed it off. And when I say washed it off I mean I just sort of turned my whole face glittery by accident. Also the frosty lip colors are still my favorite I love that whitish pink color.

  3. I remember treating Delia’s catalog as if it were a teen girl’s bible and make a list of everything I was going to order (flower clips, butterfly clips, glittery makeup, wild nail polish colors, etc). Girls were always covered in glittery makeup and some kind of new hair clips they picked up from Claire’s Boutique. Magnetic earrings were pretty big too, but they didn’t last very long (I owned many pairs, as I usually lost the magnet within a day!). Remember when “chunking” was big? I had to settle on those color wands that you could wash out. Those things were terrible! Your hair would be as stiff as a corpse!. Lots of girls would would do the Kool-aid dye, which sounded pretty awesome unless it was your first time and no one told you how to do it. Oh the joys of going to school with no difference to your hair and your skin red like a strawberry. The only thing I miss is the hair clips. You can still buy them in some stores. I’ve seen some rather nice ones.

  4. Have the midriff-baring baby tees with the ruffled hems and sleeves (embroidered in brightly colored thread) made a comeback? THOSE can stay in 1998 where they belong.

  5. Gosh I’m so glad glitter is gone. May it never return. I’m still trying to get glitter out of a chair I let some glitter encrusted girl sit in back in the day. Our chairs in church sparkled throughout the nineties. It’s not the glitter that is the problem, its the second-hand glitter that is so destructive.

  6. I just got a lotion bar from LUSH that has glitter in it. I’m on it. ;P

  7. travesty:
    1. An exaggerated or grotesque imitation, such as a parody of a literary work.
    2. A debased or grotesque likeness: a travesty of justice. See Synonyms at caricature.

    makes me laugh a little bc there was just an article about misused words ^-^’
    http://hellogiggles.com/10-words-that-youve-probably-been-misusing

  8. Be better than the gap

  9. OMG the Delia’s Catalog! I totally rocked all those horrible trends! SO many new ones will be mocked in another 15-20 years!

  10. In the Midwest we had Z cavaricci pants & shirts,Fan hair,Guess mini skirts & crop tops. Not a good fashion time- lol

  11. I’d love to be able to shamelessly wear overalls again.

  12. This article is missing one of the biggest trends of the 90′s that hasn’t made a comeback yet, which is: The Nick Carter hairdo (a.k.a “The McDonalds Cut”) with flowing, ear long hair parted in the middle making the bangs look like the M-logo of the well known restaurant tycoon.

  13. I love the ad from Delia’s! One year before a school dance my mom let me order an entire outfit from there and I thought I was the best dressed person at school with it on. LOL. I haven’t seen a Delia’s catalog in years, but I immediately knew that was the catalog the blue jean skirt came from…

  14. oh my god! Bongo!!! I remember begging my mother to take me to Sears to get a pair of stone-washed Bongo jeans!! —In my defense, I was in 6th grade. =) Oh the ’90s, such a simpler time…

  15. Ribbed sweaters, yes! I remember pairing them with straight-legged polyester pants, lol. Talk about warm and scratchy!

  16. Is it wrong to still love those Candies Jeans Alyssa Milano is wearing? I mean they are so stinking cute. Also on a crazy day when I have to run out the door for a quick errand I still toss on a handkerchief in my hair to hold it back. So guilty of her look and the girl in the blue tankie and the cargo pants ^_^.

  17. Jelly shoes need to come back, I loved them!!!

    • Just got myself a pair from jellybeans.com! Kinda wish I had of got clear with silver glitter after reading this though….

    • oh I’ve seen the jelly sandals on a few hipsters recently. in Los Angeles, it’s such a bad idea. they can & will melt lol

  18. I wore most of these looks, if not all of them. God I miss my full-length jean skirt, that thing was adorable!!

  19. I totally rocked denim skirts! I think I had that exact skirt, too. And the wet seal black capris! And the nifty accessories one could get at contempo casual like mood rings! The 90s rocked! Even if some of this was kind of awful.

  20. Have you noticed that the girl in the Bong ad is Jennifer Esposito?

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