Can I tell you how much fun I had writing my first novel SONG OF A FIREBIRD, a coming-of-age story set in 1995 suburban America? As a 90s teen, I am so nostalgic for the music, fashion and slang from this era. The world was a lot different before we had high speed internet, smart phones, streaming music and social media.
You actually had to find a pay phone if you needed to make a call while out and about with your friends. The lucky few had a pager in their back pocket. We had massive stereo systems, portable boom boxes and a Sony DiscMan to play our favorite tunes off of cassette tapes and CDs. Our text messages were notes passed in the halls of our high schools. We spent hours talking on the phone with our friends–maybe the cordless variety with a thick metal antenna, but, more often than not, the kind that was tethered to a wall with a fat, spiral cord.
And, how about those outfits? There was SO much flannel, baggy pants, flared denim, bare midriffs, stripes in grungy colors and corduroy. The shoes I wore then are now some of the most iconic 90s fashions: DocMartens, Birkenstocks sandals, Candies clogs, Steve Madden platforms and wedges, and plastic jelly shoes.
The music was old school hip-hop, gangsta rap, grunge and alternative, with some bubblegum pop and country thrown in. To this day, I drive down the street in my minivan singing along to my favorite 90s artists. May Tupac and Biggie Rest In Peace.
So, without further delay, here are my Top 10 Favorite 90s Trends, which are all featured in my novel.
My Top 10 Favorite Trends from the 90s
10. Herbal Essences Hair Products
Oh, my goodness, does this stuff smell good. And, by good, I mean like a flower grew legs and crawled up your nose and spread its seeds in your sinuses. The fruity and floral aroma is almost as overpowering as walking into a Bath and Body Works store. Seriously, I loved these products, as did most teenage girls in the 90s. I really believed I was putting the botanicals of the Gods onto my scalp and my hair would grow as thick and shiny as Rapunzel’s. Was I disappointed? Heck, no. My hair smelled AH-MAZING.
9. The Maxi Dress and White Cotton Tee
You guys. This is such an iconic 90s look. Sweet and sultry, with a little modesty thrown in keep you guessing. The white baby-T looked great with a long or short dress, especially when paired with white platform sneakers. Can we please get back on board with this? Now that I have matronly upper arms, this would be such an awesome fashion trend.
8. Wide Leg Jeans
All I can say about this, is what we were thinking? You could hide your little brother in these pants, and put your dog in the back pocket. All kidding aside, back in the day, these were off the hook.
7. The Rachel Cut
“The more layers the better. I don’t care how long my hair is, chop it off and make it impossible to put back into a ponytail. Oh, and throw in little clips on either side because I’m feeling cute. I SO look like Rachel on FRIENDS. Ross and Rachel forever!”
6. Yin-Yangs, Smiley Faces and Chokers, Oh My!
In the 90s, the more jewelry you wore, the better. Necklaces, earrings, rings on every finger, nose rings, belly rings, toe rings, and even a tongue ring if you were really cool. And, bonus points if there was a smiley face or a Yin-Yang symbol! Honestly, this jewelry was cheap but so fun to shop for. Also, this wasn’t just for girls… 90s guys always wore necklaces. Think leather straps and hemp cords with clay bobbles. Slammin’.
5. The Scent of the 90s: Cucumber Melon
There’s no denying the wave of nostalgia that comes over me when I smell Bath and Body Works Cucumber Melon products. It’s like a sunny summer afternoon sipping Snapple Iced Tea and reading Sassy magazine while listening to the Spice Girls. My other favorite Bath and Body Works scents were Plumeria, Freesia and Juniper Breeze. How about you?
4. Chunky Shoes
How did we not break an ankle walking in these things? The soles of these shoes were so chunky you would magically grow three or four inches when you put them on. If you paired these with some flared jeans, congratulations. You were ‘da bomb!
3. Butterfly Clips
Oh, to be sixteen with a head full of plastic rainbow butterflies. It was the hallmark of a young lady who loved to blow her pay check at Claire’s. This was such a fun look back in mid to late 90s. Having a bad hair day? Just grab a handful of these bad boys and twist those unruly strands into a spiky crown. They dug into your scalp like tiny porcupine quills, but it was totally worth it. I would also rank the ubiquitous “claw clip” and infamous “banana clip” right up there with butterfly clips. All were great alternatives to the boring high ponytail of 1980s.
2. Jelly Shoes
Oh, snap! These. Were. My. Favorite. I had the clear, flat ones that you could see right through. It was like walking around barefoot all day at school (with little blisters on your heels). If anyone messed with you, you’d just press that sole full of plastic spikes into their leg. Ouch! If that didn’t work, you could put the shoe near their nose and, guaranteed, they’d definite run for the hills. Pew-yew.
And, saving the best for last………
1. Body Glitter
Why shine when you were made to SPARKLE?! Body glitter was all that an a bag of chips! In my opinion, it was the most fun 90s fashion trend to wear to homecoming, prom or just shopping at the mall. You could pair this will any of the above looks for ultimate 90s fabulousness. Let me tell you what… nothing feels as good as rubbing cold, sticky gel all over your face. Am I right?