I remember my childhood holidays thanks to all the crap I've held onto since going on them: The toys, the trinkets, the accessories, and all the clothes I bought on vacation in the '90s. Memories may come and go, but things last forever, after all. Some of my favorite memories actually come from learning about my memories: From finding my old clothes and toys from the 1990s and having my mom explain them all to me. I may not be much of a '90s kid in my recollections, but I have an attic full of clothes, accessories, and junk to prove that I was there.
Some of the fashion I remember from '90s vacations aren't even my own, but my older brother's, who, although born in the '80s, managed to nail every stereotype of '90s kids throughout the decade. While I vaguely remember playing with a Tamagotchi, he bleached his bangs and spiked up the rest of his mane with gel. I played in the '90s, but my bro dressed himself during them.
Thankfully, I never have and never will wear some of the more embarrassing items on this list. But what I'm even more thankful for is that we have plenty of photographic evidence of my brother wearing them on every family vacation. Without further ado, her are some of the universal sartorial gems so many of us just had to get on vacation in the days of our youth.
1. Tie Dye T-Shirts
Palm Beach Tie Dye T-Shirt, $13.99, etsy.com/retroera
Was there anything more '90s than tie dye T-shirts (whether on or off vacation)? Bonus points if your holiday tie dye tee featured the name of the place you were vacationing at written on it, like this Palm Beach one.
2. Baseball Cap With The Location Name
'90s Team Mickey Snapback, $19.99, etsy.com/guskillahresaleshop
Hold on tight, folks. Baseball caps were a big thing in the '90s, so how better to show off your vacation time than by getting a baseball cap that told everyone where you'd been?
3. T-Shirt With The Location Name
OK, this will be the last item to mention the location name. But I swear that everyone's mom bought all her kids matching T-shirts on holiday, each proudly proclaiming where you'd all vacationed that year.
4. Flip Flops
Red Leather Flip Flops, $8.90, etsy.com/fynds
Three days into your two-week vacation, your favorite pair of jelly sandals probably broke. Your mom wouldn't let you take another pair because of the weight of your luggage, so you were confined to gift shop flip flops for the rest of the holiday. It sucked, and a truer story has never been told.
5. Puka Shell Necklace
Vintage Puka Shell Necklace, $8.95, etsy.com/retrorevivalboutique
Every time I see one, I can't help but laugh. How did anyone ever think these were fashionable?
6. Color Changing T-Shirts
Vintage Working Hypercolor T-Shirt, $50, etsy.com/toughluckvintage
Color changing T-shirts, or "hypercolor T-shirts" were heat sensitive and changed color due to the temperatures. Thus, they became a pretty awesome holiday T-shirt to take back to school after vacation.
7. Platform Sandals
Chunky '90s Platform Sandal, $38, etsy.com/veronavintagejewels
If you didn't have these during the '90s, I'm sure you begged your mom for a pair while on holiday. After all, you kind of need sandals on vacation. So your mom had to get them for you, right?
8. A New Friendship Bracelet
'90s Friendship Bracelet, $2.95, etsy.com/shopbodacious
A brand new friendship bracelet from your brand new holiday friend who you'd pen pal with for less than a month and then kind of forget about was an essential. The truth is, you probably still have that cute braided bracelet at home.
9. Graffiti T-Shirt
'90s London God Save The Queen T-Shirt, $28, etsy.com/bobovintage
I still think these are rather cool, but I'm pretty sure everybody did in the '90s. And for whatever reason, you could only ever seem to get them in tourist stores.
10. Funny Sunglasses
'90s Sunglasses And Toy Pager, $12, etsy.com/ghostflowersvintage
The sunglasses you took with you would always mysteriously "break," so your parents would have to buy you some brand new, and way more awesome, holiday specs.
'90s Looney Toons One Piece, $28, etsy.com/buffalogalsvtg
Just like the sunglasses, you'd often mysteriously lose your boring from-home swimsuit and demand that your parents buy you a super cute Disney two-piece instead.
Looking back on '90s style and how it has evolved and revived itself is always fun. But it's even more fun when we can associate certain styles with specific memories from our own past lives. I hope you've left this list feeling as nostalgic about family vacations as I have.
Images: NBC (1); Courtesy Brands