The 1990s have proven to be one of the most unique periods in history, and those of us lucky enough to have been a part of it remember the decade fondly. It was during this ten-year stretch that the world was introduced to grunge music, the greatest sitcoms that have ever graced our television sets, and a complete overhaul in the world of film, thanks to directors Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith. The 90s marked a huge shift in the way things were, and the decade was instrumental in changing things to the way they are now. It was a decade that saw one of the greatest and most infamous presidential controversies, and it also featured one of the most infamous murder cases of all time. The winds of change blew throughout the course of the decade, and the world has never been the same since.
Despite all of the incredible changes that have occurred thanks to the decade, the 1990s was also a time that had some of the most atrocious trends ever. Go ahead and look at some of your old school pictures, and you tell us whether or not we’re lying. For a decade that had some of the most incredible shows and films, there were so many things the decade got wrong. Looking back at yesteryear, we’ve rounded up 15 awful things from the 90s that would never be acceptable today. These trends seemed like the norm at the time, but over 17 years later, we can’t help but look back and shudder at how disastrous these were.
15. Fanny Packs
Fanny packs are as essential to the 1990s as the show Friends, and this was a fad that actually included something that was practical. Now considered the ultimate piece of dad equipment, fanny packs are useful items for those looking to carry around a few things when going about their day. The unfortunate thing about this is that fanny packs look ridiculous, and even the toughest of men have a hard time making this look work. We have pockets on our jeans for a reason, and should you find yourself needing to carry around a few extra items, just use a backpack.
There are a number of people trying to bring back fanny packs as a normal everyday thing again, and we sincerely hope that this trend doesn’t catch. A simple JanSport backpack will save you the embarrassment and the weird looks from going out in public looking like you stepped out of a time machine.
14. Frosted Tips
Gentleman, we’re here today in an attempt to shut down this growing epidemic. During the late 90s, it became a fashionable thing for males to bleach the tips of their hair. Boy bands are the main culprit in this situation, but regardless of who got the ball rolling, this fashion trend swept the country, and men everywhere were guilty of falling for this nightmare of a hairstyle. No one looked cool with frosted tips, and no one will ever look cool with frosted tips. But for some reason, there have been a growing number of men who are reverting back to this absurd trend.
We hate to break it to you gentlemen, but frosted tips are simply not acceptable. No matter how hard you try to look good with this hairstyle, you never will. Some things are best kept in the past, and frosted tips on men is something that should never be resurrected again.
13. JNCO Jeans
Baggy clothes were all the rage in the 1990s, and JNCO jeans were oversized and ridiculous enough to sweep the United States by storm. These insanely baggy jeans were one of the hottest items in the country at one point in time, and the unique designs on the back of the jeans added to the absurdity of it all. This is one fashion trend that I’m thankful to have never taken part in.
While clothes over the last 17 years have grown increasingly tighter, it was apparently important to have absurdly baggy clothes in the 1990s. After all, can you imagine trying to fit a Walkman CD player into a pair of skinny jeans? JNCOs we’re the perfect jeans to house your CD player, and they were also the perfect look to make you look like a cool kid. Thankfully, they haven’t popped up again, and we hope that this absurd look never makes its way back into the mainstream.
Looking back at it now, I can’t understand how these things became so popular, and more importantly, I cannot wrap my head around the fact that I owned several of these. For a brief and terrible point in time, wearing golf visors was the norm, and it was one of the most ridiculous fashion trends of the 1990s. Baseball hats have long been a popular piece of fashion, but the visor is something we still don’t understand, much like the ska and swing music trend of the decade.
Unfortunately, the spiked hair trend of the 1990s made it difficult to wear a hat, and this was the next best thing. High schools everywhere were littered with visor-wearing kids who were trying way too hard. There’s not a person on this planet who looked cool wearing a visor, and most golfers nowadays seem to wear baseball caps, officially killing off this horrendous trend.
11. Bucket Caps
Equally as ridiculous as the visor was the reemergence of the bucket cap. For those of you old enough to remember, this is the same type of hat that Gilligan wore on the show Gilligan’s Island. Essentially, you take a Dixie cup cover worn by a sailor, and you flip it inside out. For whatever reason, this trend hit the 90s hard, thanks largely to the popularity of the song “You Get What You Give,” and much like the visor, there wasn’t a person on the planet who looked cool wearing it.
For as much love as the 1990s gets as a decade, a lot of the fashion trends were truly horrendous, and the bucket cap is among the worst trends of the decade. A reemergence of 1960s and 1970s styles combined with a modern twist made for some interesting clothing options in the 1990s. Thankfully, the bucket cap epidemic of the 1990s was a relatively short-lived trend.
Practicality has never been the name of the game in fashion, and there have been countless examples of this over the years. People simply wear things because they look cool, even though they really look ridiculous and serve no purpose. During the 1990s, overalls became a huge centerpiece on the playground, and people everywhere were sporting this ridiculous look. Even I was guilty of wearing overalls on a number of occasions, though the pictures of me wearing overalls have since been burned, and they’ll never see the light of day again.
Not only was it incredibly popular to wear overalls, but it was important to only wear one strap on your overalls. Much like utilizing only one strap on a backpack, it was meant to add a little bit of flair to the look, though, in reality, it just made people look all-the-more ridiculous.
9. Chain Wallets
Of course, what good is a pair of JNCO jeans without sporting the chain-and-wallet look with it? JNCO jeans were already a silly item by themselves, but many people decided to take this look to the next level, and their decision to wear chain wallets were meant to make them look edgy. Some would argue that there was a sense of practicality to sporting this type of look, but we would argue that it’s still a foolish notion.
The chain wallet and JNCO jeans went together like peanut butter and jelly, and people looking back at their photos from the 1990s will forever be haunted for looking this dumb. Imagine walking down the street now and seeing someone with JNCO jeans and a chain wallet and wearing a bucket hat. You would have to take a second to refrain from laughing hysterically at this ridiculous look, and you would thank your lucky stars that it hasn’t become prevalent again.
8. Horrendous Catchphrases
This is something that can be said of any passing decade, but the catchphrases of the 1990s were so awful. It was commonplace during the decade to hear someone refer to something as “da bomb” or to regularly call something “tight.” Thanks to the film Clueless, “as if,” being said with sass, was another catchphrase that swept the world by storm during the decade. Thankfully, these types of catchphrases have since gone by the wayside, but they’ve only been replaced with other asinine terms used by today’s youth.
This is something that will continue until the end of time, so expect to see a list talking about the 2000s in 10 years. For every “da bomb” that becomes a thing of the past, a “lit” will always be there to take its place. Maybe we’re just getting old, but these silly expressions seem to get worse as time goes on.
7. Rat Tails And Mullets
This may have started in the 1980s, but both of these looks were incredibly popular in the following decade, and they were egregious enough to make our list. Thanks to New Kids on the Block exploding into the mainstream consciousness, the rat tail became a popular look. It’s as appealing as it sounds, and it became a staple of the early part of the decade. And then, you have the mullet. The mullet is one of the more unique hairstyles in recent memory, and there are a number of different variations on the look.
It’s sometimes referred to as a hockey haircut, though that does little in damage control for the goofy look. Both of these hairstyles ran rampant during the 1990s, and unfortunately, there are still people in the world today with rat tails and mullets. If you’re one of them, please do yourself and everyone a favor and go get an adult haircut.
This trend is more of a case of technological development than anything else, but that doesn’t change the fact that in today’s society, you would be laughed out of any building for suggesting this. Back when the internet was becoming common in households across the country, AOL Instant Messenger was all the rage, and it was a useful tool in communicating with your friends on a daily basis. Instead of spending your time on the phone twiddling your thumbs, you could instantly message your friends on the internet while browsing your favorite websites. It was like magic, and we couldn’t get enough.
Instant messaging was a complete game-changer in the 1990s, but with the rise of texting and cell phones, this is now nothing more than a dated technology. For those who didn’t have AOL Instant Messenger accounts, MSN offered a very popular alternative, though both are nothing more than a distant memory now.
5. Dial-Up Internet
Let’s face it: we’re incredibly spoiled with the speed of internet that we’ve grown accustomed to, and a lot of us take it for granted. During the 1990s, virtually everyone was using dial-up internet, and those of us old enough to remember can tell you how painfully slow the process was. If you were lucky enough to log on to the internet in the first place, you would have to patiently wait for each website to load while chatting away on AOL Instant Messenger.
The speed of dial-up internet wasn’t the only problem. If someone had the audacity to make a phone call while you were on the internet, you were quickly booted off and left wondering what had happened. The rise of DSL gave way to the cable internet that we’re accustomed to now, and thankfully, future generations will never have to know the pain of using dial-up internet. Imagine going over to someone’s house now and seeing them use dial-up. Having such a slow internet speed would never work in today’s society.
4. Pinball And Solitaire
When we were rudely booted off of the internet when someone was attempting to make a phone call, the majority of us were relegated to find other ways to kill time on the computer. If you didn’t have any PC or regular console games, you were forced to spend many hours playing both solitaire and pinball on your computer. The alternative to this was spending time outside, and many introverts elected to play on their computer instead. Each PC that came out had several games attached to it, but few were as fun and interesting as solitaire and pinball.
Minesweeper was always an option, but most people didn’t know what in the world was going on while playing that game. Thanks to the rise of mobile gaming, most people in today’s society will never be relegated to playing either pinball or solitaire on their computer again. Cell phones have truly been a huge game-changer in communication.
3. Napster Mixtapes
Streaming services for both film and music are all the rage these days, and the services are completely altering their respective industries. It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t have a Netflix subscription, and it may be even rarer to find someone who doesn’t use Pandora or Spotify for their music. Because streaming is so popular, music sales have slowly dwindled over the last 17 years. During the tail end of the 1990s, Napster became a major player in the music scene, and millions of songs were illegally downloaded daily.
Having the ability to download any song you want at any time you want meant that you could create the coolest CD mixes for you and your friends. With the development of streaming services and the use of auxiliary cords and Bluetooth on the rise in cars, it’s rare to see someone having a slew of mix CDs at their disposal. Dusting off an old Napster mix to pop into your car stereo is a quick way to get ridiculed by your friends.
2. Jelly Shoes
What in the world were you ladies thinking back in the 1990s? Jelly shoes were easily one of the dumbest fashion trends during the decade, and yet they were incredibly popular, especially with teenage girls. You would see these girls with their Lisa Frank backpacks and folders wearing these horrendous jelly shoes at schools across the country, and it’s one of those random fashion trends that will never make sense. The point of this list is finding trends that work in the 90s and are no longer acceptable, but you have to wonder why these things were acceptable in the 1990s in the first place.
Plenty of girls across the country wore these things on a regular basis, and we hope that this is a trend that doesn’t come back. We would be more excited to see Light Up sneakers come back than seeing these absurd jelly shoes.
If you’re a doctor on call, sporting a pager nowadays make sense. It allows someone to get in touch with you when they need to, and it can be instrumental in potentially saving someone’s life in the event of an emergency. However, before cell phones became affordable and popular, tons of grown adults rocked pagers for no particular reason. It was a convenient way to get in touch with each other, but it was such a ridiculous trend. Admittedly, I always wanted to own a pager growing up, but in hindsight, these things were so over-the-top.
The majority of people that used pagers did so because it was a popular fad. We can’t help but be thankful that cell phones eventually pushed pagers out of the mainstream. If you’re not in a field that requires you to have a pager on you in case of emergencies, please refrain from trying to bring back this silly trend.
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