When school was out for summer in elementary days, the majority of us went mental. Notebooks were thrown in the trash, ice cream money was broken out of piggy banks, and stuffy old school clothes were packed away. There were certain things you wore in the summer in the '90s, and all of them proved to be fun, zany, and more than a little eccentric. There was no room for sensible items during a time like summer break. Things like collared shirts, pressed pants, and nice sweaters were reserved for the school year, when mom chaperoned your outfit choices before you flew outside to catch the bus.
But now that all you had to do all day long was rough house, get messy in the dirt, and tire yourself out at the community pool, you could wear whatever you pleased. Most of us took advantage of that free-wheeling time. Overalls were whipped out, hair accessories were piled on, quirky shoes became our go-to's, and wildly patterned shirts were the norm. And each one of them was play-proof, meaning they could get as dirty, scuffed up, and worn-in as they wanted and the parentals wouldn't bat an eye. It was glorious times.
With summer right around the corner, let's relive those crazy sartorial choices in the hopes of getting inspired with our contemporary seasonal wardrobes. Below are 11 things that were in your summer closet in the 1990s.
1. Goody Barrettes
Snap-Tight Goody Like Kiddie Barrettes, $6.99. ebay.com
They were absolutely necessary to keep the hair out of your eyes as you hung upside down from monkey bars and ran rampant across wood chips. You wild animal you.
2. Jelly Shoes
Jelly Shoes, $12.99, amazon.com
Whether you chose a hot pink pair or a clear glitter pair (swoon), any girl worth her salt in the '90s opted to melt alive in these gummy shoes during the summer. Hey, we learned that fashion is pain early on.
3. Hanson T-Shirt
HUIMIN Women's Hanson Band T-shirt, $14, amazon.com
Because you knew where your heart lied — and you had to share that tenderness and devotion with the world, in the form of a band T-shirt.
4. Lisa Frank Necklaces
Now that you didn't have to listen to the pesky rules of a school dress code, you were free to wear all the plastic beads and charms you wanted! And the more strands the better.
5. Suspender Dresses
Layer-able, usually wildly patterned, and looking pretty as a picture with jelly shoes and frilly socks, this was probably one of the staples of your summer break uniform. It's no wonder they've come back into vogue these last couple of years — we knew what we were doing back in our elementary school days. Join me in a smug hair flip, guys.
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6. High Waist Floral Shorts
They went with everything, were perfect to wear to a kid's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's, and were a no-brainer when it was time to go to the park. These were the work horses of the closet, for sure.
7. Neon Shirts
You were practicing for your raver days and Coachella nights ever since you were a kid and you probably didn't even notice. Whether you got them as hand-me-downs or your mom picked up a neon shirt on her own for you, this automatically gave you cool kid status. And hid popsicle stains perfectly.
8. Bike Shorts
It was like wearing sweatpants, just more stylish. And looked ah-mazing when paired with puffy-paint shirts. Remember those?
Honestly, what could be more '90s than a pair of overalls? Chances are you didn't go as stylish as DJ Tanner did with her off-shoulder blouse (she was a teen and so much wiser than us). Instead, you probably matched your overalls with a simple tee or an insanely patterned geometrical or fish blouse.
10. These Hats
Reasons why you had these hats in your closet: 1. The sun was hot and you had to protect your head. 2. You were just beginning to explore ~fashion~ and tinkering with what your style was. And 3. These bucket denim hats were just plain fabulous.
11. Matching Sets
Your pants matched your top and you didn't have to think about what to put on that morning: The styling had been done for you. Not that this would stop you from putting on rain boots, mismatched socks, or something kooky like that.
While the Hanson tees might have been retired and the Lisa Frank necklaces stored away, it's pretty cool to see that so many of our favorite kid fashions are still in vogue. All we have to do is pop into Topshop or Forever 21 and we'll be back on the playground, begging our moms for enough change for a popsicle.
Images: ABC (6); Amazon (1); Ebay (1); Lisa Frank (1); Nickelodeon (1)