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’90s Fashion Trends That Can Stay in the ’90s

In case you missed it: The ’90s are back, my friend.

Back in a big way.

Crop tops, Keds, overalls — overalls! — are now peppered throughout mainstream fashion as if they weren’t a laughing stock 5 years ago.

But not all ’90s fashion is created equal. For every ’90s comeback, there’s an iconic trend that got left behind. 

Here are over 25 classic ’90s fashion trends that were way cool back then, yet totally missed the train to 2013. Are any of them ready for a revival, or should they forever live in the ’90s?

  • Retro 90s Looks We Don’t Want Back. Or Do We? 1 of 25
    worst-90s1

    With the recent 90s revival, these iconic looks fell through the cracks. But are they ready for a comeback? Like, ever?

  • Spider Comb Headbands 2 of 25
    hair-comb

    If you lived through the 90s, you remember a time when all of the "cool" girls — from Sabrina the Teenage Witch to every Delia's model in existence — started pulling their hair back in perfectly sections chunks with a spikey plastic headband. 

     

    And so we begged our moms to drive us to Claire's, where we stocked up on all sorts of 3-packs — clear, colorful, jewel-adorned, etc. — until the trend quietly died, never to be revived again. Will these make a reappearance on the runways soon? 

     

    Buy from eBay, $3.99

     

  • One-Size-Fits-All Stretchy Clothes 3 of 25
    popcorn-shirts

    These! Do you remember these? DO YOU?

     

    Seen at mall kiosks around the country, these "popcorn" or "bubble" shirts started out as doll clothes and then expanded to mind-bending proportions. Stretchy! Fun! ...Attractive?

     

    (Ahem. What were we thinking?)

     

    Shop Popcorn Shirts.

     

  • Denim-Floral Combo 4 of 25
    denim-floral

    Found in dresses (usually with sunflowers) or a Blossom-style hat (usually with sunflowers).

     

    Buy from Etsy, $38

     

  • Plastic Butterfly Clips 5 of 25
    butterfly-plastic

    Whether we clipped a few at the base of our ponytail or adorned our heads with a rainbow butterfly tiara, this was thee accessory of the 90s girl — well into high school and beyond. 

     

    Yet they really only look cute on kids under, like, 10.

     

    Buy from eBay,  $4.99

  • Moving Butterfly Clips 6 of 25
    butterfly-hair-clip-moves

    And of course we had to have the glittery wire butterflies that gently flapped as we bounced down the Junior High hallway, arm-linked with our BFFs. 

     

    Buy from eBay, $0.99

  • Body Glitter 7 of 25
    body-glitter

    Body and Face Glitter: Our beginner beauty staple, along with Lip Smackers and stick-on earrings. 

     

    Buy from Birthday in a Box, $10

  • Flower Bucket Hats 8 of 25
    90s-hats

    Probably best known as "The Blossom" look.

     

    Buy from J&S Vintage Boutique ($20) and Light & Crown ($22)

  • Bandanas 9 of 25
    90s-bandana-1

    We had a bandana obsession in the 90s — from head wraps to dresses. Is this ready for a comeback?

     

    Buy from Etsy, $28

  • Scrunchies 10 of 25
    scrunchies1

    Ah, scrunchies. I believe you've seen your brightest days.

     

    Buy from Urban Outfitters, $4

     

  • Mood Rings 11 of 25
    mood-ring

    I mean, they're pretty — but will we fall for their magical qualities again? Nah, probably not. (We've also moved on from the Magic 8 Balls and Ouiji Boards.)

     

    Buy from Etsy, $55

  • Sweaters Around the Waist 12 of 25
    waist

    This one might be ripe for a comeback. Whaddaya think?

     

    Buy these leggings from Etsy.com, $25

     

  • Long Jean Skirts 13 of 25
    denim-skirt

    The midi skirt might be making a comeback, but the long, thick denim skirt? That can stay in the 90s.

     

    Buy this vintage denim skirt from Etsy, $33

  • Starter Jackets 14 of 25
    starter-jacket

    The "it" back-to-school item for the 90s kid.

     

    Buy this vintage 90s starter jacket from Etsy, $35

  • Baggy Skater Jeans 15 of 25
    JNCO

    The JNCO skater jeans can fully retire into the NEVER AGAIN category of fashion history. Unless you like the feel of heavy fabric slapping against your legs, and dragging dirty shredded jeans under your Vans (or Airwalks, depending on 90s brand loyalty).

     

    No one needs pants this big. Ever.

     

    Buy from eBay, $73

  • Arm Bands 16 of 25
    Screen-Shot-2013-07-13-at-5.03.35-PM1

    When I think of the arm band trend, I immediately think of 90s pop star Monica. (Although, to be fair, she was just covering up a tattoo. And the tribal band tattoo is a different type of 90s tragedy.)

     

    Yet there was plenty of decorative arm band wearing in the 90s. Would you wear one today?

     

    Buy from Urban Outfitters, $35

     

  • Plaid Mini Skirts 17 of 25
    plaid-skirt

    Considering "Clueless" has a special place in my heart, I don't totally hate this trend. But now, as a mom, the whole "sexy schoolgirl" style feels a leeeettle icky.

     

    Buy from Forever 21, $16

     

  • Crushed Velvet 18 of 25
    crushed-velvet

    Which should be worn with combat boots/platforms and black lipstick. This chick nailed the 90s look.

     

    Buy from Etsy, $28

     

  • Ruffle Shirts 19 of 25
    puffy

    Identified by ruffles, bell sleeves, and puffiness — 90s fashion victims include everyone from Brenda Walsh to Jessica Simpson to Seinfeld.

     

    Buy from Etsy, $28

     

  • Chokers 20 of 25
    choker

    These 90s tattoo chokers were HUGE in the 90s.

     

    Ha-UGE.

     

    Buy from Etsy, $9.30

     

  • Ying Yangs and Daisies 21 of 25
    ying-yang-daisy

    Chokers were also made from daisies, shells, and thick strips of fabric. And don't forget the ying yangs. 

     

    The ying yangs!

     

    Buy from Etsy, $9.30

     

  • Retro Windbreakers 22 of 25
    90s-windbreaker

    Triangles are back, as are neon colors. But in windbreaker form? This can happily live in the past.

     

    Buy from Etsy, $25

     

  • Sweater Vests 23 of 25
    sweater-vest

    Part Cher Horowitz, part Chandler Bing.

     

    Will they make their way back into fashion? (Probably.)

     

    Buy from Etsy, $12

     

  • Mini Backpacks 24 of 25
    snick-backpack

    The mini backpack purses were raging — just big enough for our lipgloss, roll-on glitter, and Walkman. 

     

    Most 90s girls wore leather or canvas mini backpacks (like these), but bonus points for the SNICK shout-out. 

     

    Buy this vintage mini backpack from Etsy, $36

  • Chain Wallets 25 of 25
    wallet1

    If you wore a chain wallet in the 90s, odds are you were fiercely protecting about 10 bucks. 

     

    Buy this 90s chain wallet from Etsy, $20

See all of the ’90s fashions that are BACK in style!

And check out the hottest summer trends, from A to Z.

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