When I was a kid in the '90s, I wore leggings basically every single day of my life. I pinned my hair back with butterfly clips or tied it up with a scrunchie. I owned a glitter stick (swag) for my skin, and I lightened my hair with that completely unnatural, ubiquitous spray that turned your hair orange.
In other words, I was living the peak '90s life during my peak awkward years.
I often wish I was a teenager in the '90s like my brother. He and his then-girlfriend (now-wife) could really embrace all of the hallmark '90s fashions. Old pictures reveal, in addition to the OG trends I've already mentioned, hair parted down the middle, patterned sweaters, hoodies, slip dresses and jeans so baggy they could only be held up with chunky belts.
Of course, in fashion, everything is cyclical, which is great news for me. Now I know I didn't have to be a teen in the '90s to really get the chance to own that style. Nineties fashion is back, baby, and we're all feeling good about it.
Here's why '90s trends will forever be our favorite.
Because '90s trends are about what you ARE wearing, not what you AREN'T wearing.
Remember when it wasn't so popular for celebrities and other famous people to bare it all when they were on the red carpet or starring in movies and TV shows? It's hard to conceive of a time when anything was left to the imagination, but that's what the '90s were all about.
People would wear midriff-baring shirts, sure. But they weren't called crop tops; they were called belly shirts. They weren't form-fitting; they were flowy. And they almost always had a flannel shirt over them for modesty (and sartorial) purposes.
It was the same way with baby-doll dresses. Were they short? Sure! But you HAD to wear knee socks with your baby-doll dress, otherwise the trend wasn't complete.
The '90s were great because it was about the trends that you were wearing, not everything you weren't wearing.
Because pink and red are the MOST boring nail colors.
Before the '90s, nail polish was all about the reds and the pinks. If it wasn't super girly, it wasn't going to happen.
But the '90s brought us options! The '90s encouraged us to follow our hearts and embrace colors like blue and green and purple and even — gasp! — black. We could finally change our nails to match our moods. We could mix and match with a different color on every finger if we wanted. It was amazing.
Because CHOKERS. Period.
This year we all have at least one thing to be thankful for: Chokers are back. While the name may not be the most flattering for a piece of jewelry, chokers were maybe the most versatile pieces in our ballerina-themed jewelry boxes.
Think about it. They go with every neckline you could possibly wear (except for the turtleneck), AND they can be easily paired with other types of necklaces. Yassss chokers!
Because FLANNEL looks good on everyone.
Flannel shirts are society's approved way of wearing pajamas in public. They're soft. They're comfortable. And they're flattering.
They are the Triple Crown winner of the fashion world.
Plaid somehow looks good on both genders, on every body type, and now that it comes in so many varieties and colors, there is truly a flannel for everyone.
Because JEANS are always more chic with RIPS in them.
It doesn't matter if we're talking about baggy jeans or jean overalls. The key is that your denim has GOTTA have holes in it.
It seems counterintuitive to buy jeans that are already damaged, but it works. It looks edgy. It gives your legs some natural air conditioning. There's just never a reason NOT to wear ripped jeans. (Men, just be sure the rips aren't in your back pocket where your wallet goes.)
You get bonus points if you're wearing your jeans backwards to REALLY harken back to the '90s.
Because Adidas TRACK PANTS were the bomb.
Sure, women could wear yoga pants when they're running errands and men could wear gym shorts when they're grocery shopping. We could. But why would we do that when we can be just as comfortable in a sweet, jazzy pair of Adidas track pants?
Those stripes down the side of Adidas track pants are absolutely everything. They're like a path straight back to the '90s and that shabby couch you grew up watching Friday-night family TV shows on.
It just feels right. Especially when paired with a matching Adidas track jacket.
And because REFLECTIVE SUNGLASSES will always be more fun than wayfarers.
When I found a pair of my brother's purple reflective sunglasses, it was like I struck '90s gold. I couldn't have been more excited.
Reflective sunglasses come in all kinds of fun colors, and they provide an easy way to check that your backwards hat is on point or your sparkly lip gloss is on fleek.
Because COMBAT BOOTS were actually easy to walk in.
I wore combat boots to my first middle school dance. THAT is a '90s read.
Combat boots will always be easier to walk in than heels or riding boots (though platform sneakers are probably a close second). Besides, if they're cool enough for the Spice Girls, they're cool enough for all the rest of us.
Zigga zig ah.