If you were a child in the '90s, chances are, you had a couple weird things you were obsessed with — obsessions that, in your mind, would make or break you. Your weird '90s obsessions were what you'd spend all of your free time working towards. How many of you had thought something along the lines of, "If I buy those cargo pants at Delia's, all of my dreams will come true, and eventually I'll be dating Jonathan Taylor Thomas"? You're lying if you state that your childhood imagination didn't take you to the most unreasonable places. I mean, everyone at one point in their life thought that they'd be "discovered" at the mall, right?
As an "adult" today, sometimes I wish that my life was similar to how it was in the '90s — where being allowed to buy a Ring Pop at the corner store would make my entire day, or when I thought that a weekly lemonade stand would make me a child billionaire. I miss the feeling that one small change (like wearing blue eyeshadow to school!) would redefine my entire personality, and make me way more cutting edge. I also miss the idea that one item of merchandise could easily make my entire world change.
Here are a few of the things that I really thought would make a difference back in the '90s, alongside other obsessions from the decade.
1. Plastic Tattoo Chokers
Because they just looked super cool. And they made you look like you had a badass neck tattoo that, for some reason, your parents totally allowed you to get at the wise age of 15.
I had a few of these, in multiple colors. The colors matched my ensemble, and choosing one for the "first day of school" look was mighty difficult. In reality, they made you feel like you were slightly choking. Once that thin plastic frayed in any way, or once your jerk friend came over and stretched it out, or once you accidentally sucked it up in your vacuum when you were cleaning your room, it was done for.
2. Plastic Zigzag Hair Hoops
Speaking of plastic, let's discuss the zigzag. These were meant to separate your hair in a "sophisticated" way, which was totally worth the scalp pinching you were bound to be victim of. This was also a big part of my "first day of school" look, and would change everything — when boys saw me last June, my hair looked like a trainwreck. When boys will see me now, in September, they'll be like, "did she see a stylist to get her hair to look so wonderfully sectioned?"
You seriously couldn't visit the mall without seeing a gigantic purple air-couch for sale. Unfortunately, I never had enough spending money to buy one, nor a Clarissa Explains It All friend like Sam who might actually utilize this type of room accessory.
Similar to a bean bag chair, this was always the missing accessory that would turn my drab, childlike bedroom into cool party central. Everything would change if I had the ability to sit on air!
4. Yin Yangs
As an elementary school kid, I barely even knew what the symbol meant. What I did know, was that it was cool. I distinctly remember buying yin yang bracelets at the beach, and obsessing over the trend.
Yin yangs were pretty much best friends with the peace sign. People drew them on their paper bag-covered textbooks, and dreamed of one day having the symbol tattooed on their body. Since, similarly to the music of Paula Abdul, the Yin Yang would never be out of style.
I obsessed over the fact that I never knew how to fold them correctly. Back in the '90s, Google wasn't at our disposal — and it was doubtful that you could find anything besides an introductory origami book at the crusty, smelly library.
I begged my elementary school friends to teach me how to make one, but the lesson either never happened, or didn't stick. This invention was pretty much my iPhone of the '90s. It could give me information I needed, and never get old. Never!
Girls who were way too into fortune tellers also probably dabbled into "witchcraft" spells at some point in middle school. Since you were impressionable and imaginative, you just had to test whether or not mixing basil, a bath bead, and a rose petal would make Bobby fall in love with you.
Pens were banned in my elementary school, which made a lot of sense. However, I took up the art of written correspondence, and had about 40 snail mail pen pals that, in my mind, would be totally impressed if I changed ink color between paragraphs. Maybe I could convince these strangers that I was actually cool.
I wanted one. I needed one! And eventually, my parents purchased one for me — since it was just a pen. The problem with the multi-ink pen was the fact that it never, ever wrote well. Eventually I got over the "coolness" and embraced glitter gel ink, like the rest of my girlfriends. Why write in blue, when you can write in purple sparkles?
7. Virtual Pets
The Tamagotchi phase hit my middle school hard. It wasn't uncommon to see girls with multiple pets attached to their belt loops. Soon after, they were banned — that is, if the teacher caught you feeding your pixelated blob during math class.
My first virtual pet was an 8-in-1, since — like many of these obsessions — it was available on the boardwalk at the beach. While I found this rip-off design to be a lot cooler than a Tamagotchi (I mean, I could raise a dinosaur), it didn't stop me from sampling and obsessing over every electronic, beeping interactive keychain that my grabby hands could find.
Because every girl in the Delia's catalog could be me someday! These girls were the most fashionable, beautiful icons in the world to me when I was in middle school, and I poured over every catalog like mad. The problem was, there weren't any Delia's locations in my immediate area, and my parents refused to mail order clothes. I ended up suffering with plain pocketed women's t-shirts for years.
When a Delia's finally opened in my local mall, it was kind of the biggest deal in the universe.
9. Lisa Frank
Lisa Frank merchandise was like crack. There's no other way to describe it. Once you had the folder with the multicolored dolphin on it, you wanted more. Was it the colors that attracted us? Or, were we lead to believe that these school supplies would help us with our elementary school social status? Maybe we all just took the "You Gotta Have It!" slogan a little too seriously.
Looking back at the designs, I don't truly understand why they were so appealing. But back in the day, you were nothing without your Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper.
10. Wet 'N' Wild
For many of us, Wet 'N' Wild brand makeup was our introduction to the world of beauty products. We didn't know much about nail polish, we just knew that it was colorful and affordable. I was obsessed, since I — like many girls my age — believed in quantity over quality. How cool would our sleepovers be if we had a collection with more than 10 daring colors? If it was neon, it was sure to make an impression!
For more '90s inspiration, check out Bustle on YouTube.
Images: taramara78/Fotolia; Giphy (4)