When the air gains a slight chill, leaves begin to fall, and children are suddenly filling the handbag section of the local department store, the signs can only mean one thing: it's back to school time. While the mere thought of returning to a classroom after months of racing around the great outdoors may fill the average grade schooler with dread, a fresh set of spiffy back-to-school clothes is somewhat mollifying. What could be cozier than pairing a little plaid skirt with a nubby wool sweater and some tights? Or picking out the perfect pair of Converse to match those great jeans?
However, it is statistically improbable for one to achieve an utterly adorable first-day-of-school ensemble every single year from kindergarten to middle school. And those of us who grew up in the '90s are acutely aware of how simple it is to accidentally shift gears from sweet and yearbook-appropriate to cringeworthy. While I look back fondly at the majority of my own back-to-school ensembles, I acknowledge my former reliance on not-so-cute trends: tee-shirts with oversized, glittery inscriptions, so many scrunchies I can't even count them all, and even a pair or two of colorful cotton leggings. Here are seven back-to-school trends that thankfully remained in the '90s — though looking back, I personally wouldn't change a thing.
1. BRIGHTLY COLORED SCRUNCHIES
Though Cressida Bonas appears to be on a campaign to bring them back into vogue, and according to The New York Times they're trending for this season, but brightly colored scrunchies are a trend that should remain in the '90s. Unless you keep them within the confines of your own home.
Gymnastics Scrunchie, $3, amazon.com
2. NEON LEGGINGS
Leggings seem as though they would be a godsend for the parents of active children: they're movement-friendly, can be thrown in the wash at day's end, and simply look adorable on. However, the neon version that hit in the '80s and '90s are best left to the under-ten set, or simply as fond memories in your photo album.
3. BAGGY, COLORFUL OVERALLS
Does anyone over the age of seven look attractive in baggy, colorful overalls? The plain denim version is trending for fall 2014, but when you add an uber-slouchy fit and a dose of vibrant color, the effect is more than a bit juvenile.
4. OVERLY EMBELLISHED DENIM (AND NOT THE SUBTLE PATCHWORK TYPE)
Yet another trend that has resurfaced in a more manageable incarnation, embellished denim rides the fine line between cute and kitschy. The versions ubiquitous in the '90s were doused in all manner of decoration from patches and buttons to glitter, and to those antiquated versions I say good riddance.
5. THE MULTICOLORED STRIPED TURTLENECK
If you owned a multicolored, striped turtleneck as a child, you're not alone: the dubious trend has somehow survived the decades to fight another day. Of course, its continued existence doesn't make it chic.
6. ANYTHING EMBLAZONED WITH GLITTERY WRITING
At one point in my adolescence, my closet was filled with tees and sweatshirts covered in sparkling script as a result of my infatuation with glitter. However, the trend faded and I was left with a fine film of shimmer across most of my clothing. Not only is the trend ostentatious, it also happens to be incredibly high maintenance. Unless you enjoy finding sparkles in your hair, on your face, and in your laundry basket, it's safe to say the trend is better left in the past.
Etsy Workout Tank by strongconfidentYOU, etsy.com
7. VELVET BELL-SLEEVE BLOUSES
Velvet bell-sleeved blouses are a '90s back-to-school trend I could easily live without, but modernized versions of the silhouette are back in style as demonstrated by Selena Gomez. If you're set on attempting to bring bell sleeves back, just make sure to choose to leave velvet versions to the history books.