Considering the ‘90s aesthetic has clawed its way back into vogue and appears to be here for the long haul, there should be a 1990s Fashion Guidebook to help lovers of nostalgic style ensure their outfits are always on point. After all, there were things nobody wore in the ‘90s that many of us definitely didn’t want to be seen in during our youth. What can I say? Fashion is a fickle beast.
Style is undoubtedly cyclical: Things you once deemed highly unsightly often come back to bite you in the butt, while others are trendy one minute and old-school the next. Just think about jelly sandals. After the '90s, most of us wanted to eschew those plastic blister-inducing monstrosities for good. But 16 years later, we're pairing them with socks and wishing we'd never given 'em up in the first place. It might be safe to say that trends that are five to 10 years old are usually earmarked as unfashionable. But give them another half a decade or so, and they’ll likely be back again.
Even though some fashion and beauty trends leapt from the ‘90s to the early ‘00s — here’s looking at you, butterfly clips and hair mascara — there are some that most of us wouldn’t have touched with a 10-foot pole in the '90s. So here’s a selection of things nobody wore in the decade of our childhood.
1. Shirts That Covered The Belly
During the '90s, crop tops were the shirts of choice. Anything that covered our stomachs made us feel super conservative, old, and boring.
Your parents probably always insisted you never leave the house without a coat on. Naturally, you ignored them — even if it meant catching a cold after being caught in a rainstorm in your spaghetti straps.
3. Sensible Shoes
Novelty fashion ran riot in the 1990s and this extended to footwear. There were so many crazy kicks out there — from Spice Girls-style platforms to hard clogs — and any shoes made by John Fluevog were all the rage.
4. Pink Lip Liner
Brown lip liner reigned supreme back then. Some may say it was all Cher Horowitz's doing, but we didn't point the finger because we adored this trend.
5. Statement Eyebrows
Thin eyebrows were in and most of us considered ourselves masters of tweezing. However, the reality was that we often got too pluck-happy and some of us are still paying for it now. Meaning our contemporary dreams of achieving Cara Delevingne's big, bold brows are out the window.
6. Contouring Makeup
In the 1990s, you might have questioned whether "contouring" was a new type of workout or dance move, because this decade was all about the natural beauty look and not trying to make yourself look like an entirely different human.
7. Flash Tattoos
Temporary tattoos were all the rage in the '90s — as seen in this picture of Demi Moore flaunting a Planet Hollywood temporary tat. But it wasn't until recently that metallic temporary tattoos, otherwise known as flash tattoos, came into vogue.
8. Natural-Looking Hair Extensions
Vintage Deadstock 1990s Cutie Hair Comb Extensions, $1.50, etsy.com
Nowadays, hair extensions usually blend right in with the wearer's own locks, whereas in the '90s, the more plastic fantastic your hair looked, the better.
9. Regular Hairspray
Multi Glitter Hairspray, $5.50, claires.com
Because why would you use normal hairspray when you could have glitter hairspray?
10. Intricate Nail Art
Lisa Frank Beauty And Cosmetics Lot Of 3 Sets, $15, etsy.com
We had nail stickers and gems or the Sabrina's Secrets Magazine nail art pen and that was our lot. We didn't really care, though, because the go-to nail trend was a French manicure.
11. Ties Over Tees
Avril Lavigne made the loose tie-over-tee combo popular in the early '00s, but in the '90s, we didn't even know who this oddly-dressed sk8er girl was — not to mention her bizarre way of wearing ties.
If you were a '90s fashion follower, you wouldn't have been seen dead wearing any of these anti-trends, unless of course you wanted to be the epitome of Hagsville.
Images: Paramount Pictures (3); Courtesy Brands