I am not the most fashionable person in the world. Unlike women on TV, I have four pairs of shoes. Yesterday I went out wearing my boyfreind’s tracksuit (although I was only going to Games Workshop, so…)
The point is that I am perhaps not suitably qualified to judge fashion. However, I am qualified to petition for the return of a time where everyone looked shit, so it didn’t matter.
I understand that 90s fashion is making a modest comeback. This is news to me, because the things that are apparently just back in fashion I never stopped wearing. Apparently, things like scrunchies and dungarees were out of fashion for a long time, and are only recently allowed again. I wish someone had told me.
Anyway, here are nine fashion and beauty items from my younger years that we could maybe work with these days. We might have to make some of them work by only wearing them to a room full of blind people, but that’s a minor detail.
1. Bermuda shorts
To be proper and authentic, the Bermuda shorts have to be A) neon/floral neon/polka dot neon, B) worn with a T-shirt featuring a dopey looking dog and the slogan ‘don’t worry, be happy’, and C) worn on holiday to Butlins in 1990.
Worn by a very specific type of ladies’ man in the 90s, particularly those ladies’ men who were teenage boys without girlfriends. Inspired by greasefest-cum-testosterone-factory 90s boy bands such as Backstreet Boys, the centre parted hairstyle was every guy’s ticket to lady bits heaven. The only flaw in this theory was that the hairstyle was crap.
3. Hair mascara
Not allowed/too chicken to dye your hair? The crap-in-a-packet ‘Shaders’ and ‘Toners’ from Wella not working, on account of how they’re just food colouring in a bag? Never fear, the answer is here! Or so we thought, before we actually tried hair mascara. According to the blurb, hair mascara was supposed to give you this look –
In reality, you got this look –
Yes, it changed the colour of your hair slightly, but the trade off was that you ended up with three big greasy strands of hair, and nothing else. We should have known – after all, cheap eyelash mascara leaves women with about three massive eyelashes, so we really shouldn’t have been surprised to find this stuff was just coloured glue.
4. Global Hypercolour
You know what I miss? Having clothes that let everyone around me know when I’m sweating. Or having clothes that let everyone know some guy’s just been feeling me up. Or worse, that I’ve been feeling myself up.
5. Velvet Paddington hats
I did genuinely love these when I was younger. Inspired by Michael Bond’s famous marmalade eating bear, Paddington hats were the perfect mix of glamour and understated tatty cool. It was a 90s girl’s way of saying “yeah I know this hat looks good, but I don’t really care that much, I’m too busy thinking about poetry and stuff”.
These days I probably couldn’t get away with one of these hats; they’d probably just make me look like an exceedingly camp pig farmer.
6. Sweater Shop
The Sweater Shop is still going, which is news to me. Back in the day, they were inexplicably the height of fashion. Teenagers everywhere would flock to buy their overpriced jumpers that looked like they’d been knitted by some old woman who could only knit while listening to Val Doonican. These jumpers were the calling card of every child bully and ‘popular’ girl in my school. I guess the equivalent now would be wearing a beige car coat and a blue rinse, but apparently that never caught on.
7. Mood rings
In the 90s we used to rely on these cheap novelties to tell us what our mood was, because we were too stupid to figure that out for ourselves. As far as we were concerned, these rings were some kind of magic, and would give us insights into our personalities and our secret wants and needs that we never could have gained otherwise.
Do you have trouble recognising when you’re feeling “calm” or “average”? If so, give me your money, because you obviously can’t be trusted not to spend it on tat like this.
8. Shell suits
A classic for a reason, although I’m not entirely sure what that reason is. Shell suits were the ultra stylish, ultra neon, ultra flammable staple of my formative years. They were practical too – they kept you warm in summer and cool in winter. Also, they were useful for keeping those pesky relationships away – partly because no one would be able to stop laughing long enough to go out with you, and partly because rubbing up against a shell-suited love interest would cause a static inferno of apocalyptic proportions.
9. Sun Moon Stars stuff
This was the 90s version of the free love movement – except that instead of sex and drugs, 90s pioneers chose to drape their settees with a load of cloth featuring creepy, anthropomorphic gas balls. The people who loved Sun Moon Stars stuff were the same people who bought mood rings, I’m sure of it. Relaxing, mind-altering, hippyish décor that left the owner with a sense of cosmic wellbeing, at least according to their mood rings.