The Terrible Side of Terrible/Awesome ’90s Fashion

Emily’s Team Pick

Oh, the ’90s. Remember the ’90s? I do, vaguely. I was, like, 0-10 years old. You might remember some terrible/awesome TV shows (Saved By the Bell, Boy Meets World, 7th Heaven, etc), ‘N Sync before Justin Timberlake was Justin Timberlake, dial-up internet, Britney Spears when she looked like this:

Whoa, that’s hilarious, where can I see more pictures like that? Funny you should ask, self, because here is a website (on tumblr obvs) dedicated solely to providing you pictures of ugly ’90s clothes.

Oh look, here’s a picture of Neil Patrick Harris:

I don’t know, everything on that site looks awesome. The older I get, the more I appreciate the ’90s it seems. Ah, childhood.

Also, I can’t think of the ’90s and not think about Robin Sparkles.

Whatever, just go take a trip down memory lane.

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Emily Choo started as an intern with Autostraddle when she was 18 years old. She's now 10 years older and lives in Toronto with her partner and cat. The defining moment of her career was when Riese said this about her: " I think Emily Choo is a very bright, 'poetically inclined' girl who pays attention to everything and knows almost everything (the point of stuff, how to read, how beautiful things feel, how scary things feel, etc.) but doesn't believe/accept/realize yet that she knows almost everything." She still doesn't believe she knows anything, so, thank you, Riese, for that.

Emily has written 100 articles for us.


  1. Dude, if you’d been a little older in the 90s, you wouldn’t remember it so fondly, BELIEVE ME.
    I was a teenager and it was a time of turtlenecks and sweater vests and all-around boringness. I could see when some of the 80s started coming back – some of it was fun and loud, but for goddess’ sake, DON’T BRING BACK THE 90s!!!

    • Pretty much I refuse to believe that overalls aren’t cool. Even though maybe they aren’t any more. If I could find some that didn’t make me look like a farmer I would still rock them.

    • I want overalls to come back in style so bad. Especially the way the cool kids wore them with one strap undone

  2. I don’t know… I was in high school in the 90s, and I remember it pretty fondly, although I was into a whole different scene…the smashing pumpkins, shoegaze, nirvana grunge one. And hey, flannel is IN!

    • A friend of mine accuses me of being a hipster frequently for being a shaggy haired 30+ year old who wears chucks and docs and flannel and skinny jeans and band t shirts and empire waist dresses with mary janes.

      I tell him I’m not a hipster, it’s just a gen x thing, we haven’t evolved fashion wise since 1997.

  3. Melissa Joan Hart was my style icon. Problem? Probably. In “Clarissa Explains It All” she had such nice overalls, though, and her crop tops in “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” were unbeatable.

  4. See, when I was a kid in the 90s (way back in sixth grade, hello 1995), my mom put me in stirrup pants.

    And everyone made fun of me. :|

    • My parents got so so so mad at me because I traded a pair of jeans of mine with a pair of overalls that my friend had. They liked the jeans but HATED the overalls because I refused to wear it with both straps on.

  5. Why does NPH have a giant ribbon? Did he win the award for cutest baby gay in the gay version of the 4-H awards?

  6. The fashion in the 90s makes my heart smile. It hurts so good. That was my entire childhood. From preschool till, like 7th grade. So not only was a lot of the fashion terrible, but I hadn’t even gotten a chance to develop a keener sense of it yet (especially in a Catholic school with uniforms…normal clothes were only for weekends and holidays anyway). Some stuff wasn’t bad, though. For instance, most of the things Buffy and Cordelia wore on Buffy the Vampire Slayer were at least decent.

    Same story with music. My nostalgia for that is even heavier. I still remember the first time I heard The Sweater Song in Taco Bell and Mother, Mother when my mom was driving me home from school. I’M LOSING MY MIIIIIIND, EVERYTHING’S FINE.

  7. I’m pretty sure I still dance like Robin Sparkles. I can’t decide whether or not that is embarrassing.

    Also, was anyone else crushing way hard on the Spice Girls? Especially during the golden age of 96-97 before they all started to look way too skinny. I’m pretty sure Ginger started my love affair with redheads.

    This performance is the best. My fave is the vajayjay thrusting at 1:40. I totally remember all the outfits.

    P.S. Can we all agree that Sporty totally should have been a dyke, even if she isn’t IRL?

    • THIS is what the 90s were all about! I def had a thing for the Spice Girls…I think I remember watching this performance on TV. Either that or I’ve watched it online before.

      I wasn’t mad crazy over them but I knew all the songs and dance moves and had their concert on VIDEO! I still know all the words…is that sad? or cool? I don’t care lol

      And I totally agree, Sporty spice should have been a dyke..I always found myself being more interested in her than the others, perhaps that was my younger self telling me I was gay…

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