It's funny: We don't really realize we're following “trends” until we get old enough to know what that means — which, frequently, isn't until we're fully-grown adults. Take, for instance, all those things the perfect '90s girl had: From jelly shoes to Beanie Babies, we didn't think of them as “trends”; we just knew our friends had them, and since we thought they were super cool, we wanted them, too. Put all that together, and voila — you've got the anatomy of the so-called perfect '90s girl.
But perhaps by “the perfect '90s girl,” what I really mean is the quintessential '90s girl or the Platonic ideal of the '90s girl. To be honest, I don't really believe in the “perfect” anything; life is, by nature, imperfect, and so is everything in it. Maybe perfection is really in the eye of the beholder — which means that whatever your definition of it is, it can definitely include things that aren't perfect, too.
My point is this: If you didn't have these things? That doesn't mean you weren't a perfect '90s girl (or guy, for that matter, because toys, accessories, and fashion statements are for everyone). You will, however, probably look back nostalgically at them all, because that's what we do with our childhoods — we remember the best parts of them as ideal, even if the time period itself was anything but. And hey, since science says nostalgia can be good for us, let's get a little indulgent, shall we?
Here are 28 things the perfect (or imperfect) '90s girl (or '90s boy) had (or didn't have). Because you know you want to go dig out your old copies of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark this weekend.
1. Stick-On Earrings
Purchased from Claire's with your allowance, because you weren't allowed to get your ears pierced until you turned 12.
2. Jelly Shoes
There's a reason they've made such a huge comeback for adults of a certain age.
3. A Zillion Scrunchies
In your hair, on your wrist, stacked up, in every color of the rainbow...
4. At Least One Slap Bracelet
Until your mom took it away because of that whole “hey, there's actually a sharp metal strip hiding in the middle!” thing.
How else were you going to keep your homework assignments organized?
And while we're on the subject...
6. Lisa Frank Everything Else, Too
Your room definitely looked like Young Mila Kunis'.
Do you ever wonder how your Neopets occupied their time after you abandoned them? I sure do. I'm sorry, Neopets. That was unforgiveable of me.
8. An Impressive Vocabulary
Largely gleaned from pop culture, because there is no response better than “As if!”
9. An Enviable Stationary Collection
Jelly Roll pens, Mr. Sketch markers, and those neat-o mechanical pencil boxes featured prominently.
Claudia, Stacey, and Dawn may have been the flashiest members, but I always stuck with Mary-Anne.
11. An American Girl Doll
And whichever one you had spoke volumes about your personality.
You were particularly proud of the “retired” ones in your collection.
13. Lip Smackers
In every flavor. (But Dr. Pepper was the best.)
14. Something With Your Name On It
Maybe multiple things. If your backpack was monogrammed, your miniature lock box had your initials on it, and you kept your keys on a metal representation of your own name, you were the coolest.
15. A Polaroid I-Zone Sticker Camera
So you could wallpaper the inside of your locker with tiny little stickers of you and your friends.
16. Lunchables In Your Lunchbox
17. A Discman
The fact that it skipped like a mofo mattered not.
18. Tiger Beat In Your Backpack
Or Bop, or whatever your favorite magazine was. If you were really dedicated, you were a walking periodical section full of all things fun and informative.
You were a champion skipper.
Because Lisa Simpson was (and is!) definitely worth looking up to, foibles and all.
21. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark At Your Sleepovers
Those illustrations, though.
22. A Preferred Method of Fortune Telling
MASH? A “cootie catcher?” A Fortune Fish? Your choice!
23. A Push Pop You Were Saving For Later
Or a Ring Pop — but Push Pops were a little less messy to save, thanks to that handy-dandy cap.
24. A Favorite Spice Girl
Confession: I was not, in fact, a Spice Girls fan. However, I did have a favorite, largely based on one hilarious sound byte from some random interview I read when they were just starting to get big: When asked what actual spice they'd be, Posh replied paprika purely because she liked the way the word sounded. That's an answer I can get behind.
25. A Tamagotchi
26. A Closet Full of Delia's
Sorry, I mean dELia*s. In the days before online shopping, few things were more exciting than the moment your parents finally made the phone call to place an order for you.
To stash everything from your Hard Candy nail polish to your stick-on earrings in.
28. Big Hopes and Dreams for the Future
Something everyone should have, regardless as to whether they're a '90s girl or not.
Images: Claire's; MissGuided; deovolenti, angys_collection, june_gem20, nicolexelocin, lipgloss_kiwi, madmcferrin, pedro_sando, jessika_234, saraheliz4beth, elvishchick, gollylagger/Instagram; buying4five/eBay; Lillian Vernon; Capt Kodak, Stephh922/Flickr; Giphy (10)