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

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.


Photo: Courtesy of Gap

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1673770832 Jessica Wylie

    Wow, memories. lol.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=651790684 Jacinta Wyld

    i had those jeans with the satin hem.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=579692632 Samantha ZombieKiller Tatum

    Did I wear all that crap back in the day? Yes. Am I ashamed? Maybe.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=877580340 Anna Galvis


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=37618775 Sarah Elizabeth Mason

    I was a teenager in the 90’s so I remember all these looks…and wore most of them. I do miss the pleated mini skirt with knee highs and Mary Janes look. It was my go-to outfit when I wanted to feel cool and trendy. Oh and Alyssa Milano and Alanis Morissette were my idols!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=685080344 Kelle Neal

      Yes!!! The plaid mini skirt with knee highs! Mine had three extra large safety pins on the front. I loved those skirts.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=37618775 Sarah Elizabeth Mason

        I forgot about the safety pins!!! Mine were held together by large gold safety pins too! Oh wow, that brings me back! Oh and the stuffed animal backpacks! I just remembered I had a frog!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1108494885 Simone Corletto

    As someone born in “91, I feel I was too young to remember most of this. But all those Charmed re=runs are giving me a good history lesson.

    Can someone explain the bandana/”kerchief” tops? where it’s tied on with only a string around the neck and around the back? If anyone tries to claim fashion “back in the day” was more modest, I shall forever quote that top.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=37618775 Sarah Elizabeth Mason

      Aw! You’re just a baby! Yeah, those tops were skimpy…but man I rocked the crap out of mine! I only wore it to music festivals in ’99 but it did tend to make me feel quite naked and paranoid that a boob might pop out during all the jumping around I did at the Blink 182 show. I take it back…those tops were awful!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1551120067 Sara Newsome

      I rocked mine at a N’Sync concert, then again it was at the old cowboys stadium in the middle of summer.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716139551 Siobhan Corina Reardon

      It wasn’t about ‘modesty’ — good god, what a silly theory. It was sort of a collision between the hippie-meets-grunge look that lingered through the mid-nineties. I entered my teens in 1995, and I wasn’t interested in looking conventionally ‘sexy’, to my father’s relief, I’m sure. I loved Nirvana and the Rolling Stones. Hence, some days I wore baggy, threadbare corduroys I bought at a thrift store (hems torn off of course), a grunge band tee-shirt under an ugly, unbuttoned, too-large flannel shirt or ‘grandpa’ cardigan, feet clad in Doc Martins; and other days I dressed more like Janis Joplin. Either way, I made it a point to look like I didn’t give a shit about my hair. I deliberately messed it up or put too much gel in it to get the greasy-looking strands falling across my face, a la Kurt Cobain, or I just covered the dirty blond mess with a bandana. No, at age 14 I did not get the irony that Grunge was Gen X’s acerbic answer to their hippy Baby Boomer parents’ idealistic pipe dreams.
      God, having to explain the origin of the trends of my youth to the next generation makes me feel old.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=716139551 Siobhan Corina Reardon

        *I should probably mention that my sartorial aesthetics were somewhat counter-cultural when I was a teenager. I didn’t dress like Alicia Silverstone in Clueless and I didn’t shop at Deb or Dahlia. I bought most of my clothes at thrift shops, except for the band tee shirts.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=656936201 Kelley Pounders

      Aw, I miss those shirts. I had a really cute one from Abercrombie. It was blue patchwork paisley. Like a quilt. A quilted, middie, backless kerchief shirt. Why wouldn’t anyone wear that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1482963628 Rachel Frumkin

    I sadly owned every incarnation of these trends. I thought I was going to Be Cher Horwowitz when I grew up. I also shopped regularly out of Deliah’s. Does that catalog still exist?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=37618775 Sarah Elizabeth Mason

      I rediscovered Delia’s through Pinterest. I would pin a cute outfit then follow the link and it would be a Delia’s outfit. I was shocked that they were still around…but their stuff is really cute!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=525865236 Elizabeth McGlinchey

      Yes it does. I was obsessed with that catalog. I used to circle the items I wanted for christmas with a red marker. One year I believe I was 14 ,my parents received extra boxes and wrapped everyones gifts in deliahs boxes. I thought I had hit the motherload on christmas morning. My parents were cruel.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=525865236 Elizabeth McGlinchey

    I was in love with all of these looks back in the day. Now currently back in school as an adult with a school full of 18-23 yr olds (sorry if I can’t consider them adults) I can’t help but scoff at my “peers” as they rock leotards and acid wash jeans or daisy print crop tops with high waisted short shorts. Me and my boyfriend have been waiting patiently for Justin Timberlake frosted tips to come back.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1148011055 Pili Halliwell

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

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1476519004 Sara Elizabeth Silva Puentes

      Yes! Glad you saw it too! I thought I was going crazy for a minute.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=194900599 Samantha Tymon

    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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=657740696 Melanie Seaward

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

    • Carly Ingalls

      The only perk of growing up a Fundamentalist Christian is that you end up with a plethora of floor length jean skirts! I make better fashion decisions with them now though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1233669222 Nusiba Taufik

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

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=11706501 Barbee Estrada

      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

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=633776588 Kate Smyth

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

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=514333260 Micha Z Medenciy

    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 ^_^.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=610578017 Angela Caligiuri Bernardo

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

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002408674149 Ana Lugo

      Yes. So much yes. lol!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002408674149 Ana Lugo

    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…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=164003121 Ashley Blevins Roseberry

    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…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=587126424 Dan Jacob Larsson

    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.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=611542237 Tyler Vendetti

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

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=726290937 Jessica Barker

      Overalls are actually already making a comeback.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000344123313 Kerri Provasnik

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

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505006013 Allison Rinkel

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

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