12 Reasons Late '90s Nostalgia Represents The Best Of The Decade

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It's no secret that '90s kids are generally pretty pumped about the entire decade. We love to take walks down memory lane to get to the glory days of our youth. But here's the sitch, party people: not all '90s years are created equal. Don't get me wrong — generally speaking, they were all nice. However, there are plenty of reasons late '90s nostalgia is the best. Those last few years heading into the early '00s really represent the best of the decade.

By the late '90s, many of us '90s kids were old enough to have part-time jobs and afford all of the fun fads to be had. Plus, we could finally start to take part of the time-honored tradition of dating all the wrong people. The combination of these things directly contributed to the late '90s being a hella cool time. Think about it: when you think back now, doesn't your mind's eye tend to gravitate to things during the tail end of the decade? It's only natural. Those days were the bomb-dot-com (hey-ooooo), my friend.

If you still need further convincing that late '90s nostalgia reigns supreme, join me on a quick jaunt back in time as we explore a few reasons.

1. The Music

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Hanson's "MMMBop"? Check. Spice Girls "Spice Up Your Life"? Check. Brandy and Monica "The Boy Is Mine"? Check. LFO "Summer Girls"? Check. "Baby One More Time"? "Genie in a Bottle"?! Check, check. The late '90s gave us enough musical ammunition to last a lifetime.

2. The Scents

There were the Bath & Body Works original scents (Cucumber Melon was my jam), the five Gap fragrances (holla, fellow Dream lovers!), Clinique Happy, Tommy Girl, Sunflowers... when someone said they smelled like teen spirit in the late '90s, it was most definitely a good thing.

3. The Discman

The days of the Walkman were coming to an end, heralding the start of a new era: the Discman-meets-mix-CD era. Good times.

4. AIM Updates

AIM in and of itself was a major game-changer for '90s kids. But when got the little animated emojis (my favorite was the cowboy), it was like getting a hug from the '90s gods.

5. One Word: 'Titanic'


Don't be coy; you know you love it every bit as much today as you did back in 1997 when you went to see it with your Leo-crazed BFFs.

6. The Gameboy Camera

It's no wonder we're so damn good at selfies now! The advent of the Gameboy camera in 1998 spawned a revolution of pixelated self-portraits.

7. The Libations

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One word, people: Surge. Not only did we have that nectar of the gods to fuel our adolescent shenanigans, but we also guzzled a steady flow of Hi-C Ecto Cooler, Clearly Canadian, and Fruitopia. Thirst quenched.

8. The Light Up YoYo

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I mean, this one is self-explanatory, right? It's a yoyo... THAT LIGHTS UP. Oh, late '90s, the bounty of your brilliance knows no bounds.

9. Claire Daines: It Girl


Claire Danes was in some of the best screen gems of the entire decade, most of which just so happened to occur in the later years: Romeo + Juliet, The Mod Squad, Brokedown Palace. She was the It Girl for the late '90s, and someone all "thinking" girls were happy to aspire to.

10. Evolving Cellphone Technology

We hadn't quite reached Razr status yet, but we did upgrade from the bulky Nokias of old to, well, less bulky Nokias. We also had the Motorola StarTAC 75, which made you feel like such an adult. Tbh, I sometimes still wish I had this classic flip phone.

11. The Polaroid i-Zone Camera

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They gave us the instant gratification of Polaroids in a cute sticker form we could use to adorn our notebooks, letters, lockers and basically anything that would stay still long enough to get sticker-ed.

12. The Iconic Couples


Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe, David and Victoria Beckham, J. Lo and P. Diddy... sure, Posh and Becks are the only ones left standing, but that does little to tarnish our memories of hanging on these iconic late '90s couples every word.