20 Fashion Moments Every Kid of the ’90s Will Remember Rocking Their World

1. The Limited Too might’ve been the first retailer to cater to tweens (not that the word even existed then). The store’s best included plaid pleated skirts from the Clueless vein and feather-topped pens, also Cher Horowitz-inspired.
2. Built-in bra tops felt positively revolutionary. I remember my favorites coming from Express.
3. Platform flip-flops worked with 99.9 percent of my high school wardrobe. Shout-out to the brown leather Reef ones!
4. The Tiffany heart bracelet and necklace, popularized by Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, got on the wish list of many a millennial girl. Also acceptable: the bean necklace.
5. Trucker caps were the coolest accessory in the world for a brief period, ushered in by Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, and their ilk, circa Simple Life days. I’m also rounding up Ed Hardy into this one because they’ve got some serious shared energy.
6. Bebe rhinestoned across your chest was especially big toward the end of high school and first few years in college. It was so flashy and girly that no one cared that we never figured out how to properly pronounce it.
7. Abercrombie & Fitch was the brand to wear (pre-Bebe if I recall). We were there for its zenith guys: the exorbitant prices, the smell, the shirtless dudes surely hotter than any high school guy you’d ever seen.
8. Boy-short underwear might have been the only real undergarment trend I remember having real legs. American Eagle had the best selection, and the trims and cheeky sayings were limitless.
9. Pedal-pushers or clam-diggers, depending on your preference. Hitting midcalf, the slightly more-cropped-than-cropped length represented the first variation of pants preference for a generation.
10. Skirts worn over pants was an odd sort of look whose origins I can’t place.
11. Soffe shorts, also know as cheerleading shorts, were huge as the ultimate in comfy, relaxed cool-girl wear. They really turned school (and summer camp) dress codes into an issue: You could roll them only once.
12. Vests might’ve lost favor by the time high school rolled around, but in the pre-driver’s license days, I was all about them. The more mom-like, the better.
13. Jansport backpacks, especially the ones with the strip of tapestry-like flowers on the small front pocket, were the first It bag I remember caring about.
14. Hollister being introduced was the buzziest piece of fashion news ever. It nailed the surfer-cool aesthetic we’d all gotten privy to thanks to The O.C. and Laguna Beach and, hurrah, was priced slightly lower than A&F.
15. Flared jeans were the silhouette that ruled my closet before high school, only to be replaced by the more subtle boot-cut that we considered gospel.
16. Juicy Couture terry-cloth swim cover-ups transcended the It status of the tracksuit for me in some ways. A girl could never have too many velour sweats, but all you needed was one of the strapless, pull-on dresses to wear over your bikini.
17. One-strap backpacks were practically a new invention in high school. Makers of the coolest? Gap, hands down.
18. Uggs are so big now, I doubt you could meet anyone who doesn’t know the brand name.
19. Wristlets were the other defining moment of my freshman-year style experience. Coach had the market on lock-down, and every single girl I knew relied on one.
20. Skinny jeans weren’t always a thing, guys. I can still remember seeing my first pair while abroad in Australia and thinking, “What are these things…? Will they come to America?” Fast-forward to now and the answer is a huge yes.


August 5, 2014. August.

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