From our favorite games and television shows to the worst (but secretly the best) fashion choices, there are a million (or just 90) things that pull at the heartstrings of any true ‘90s kid. Though our golden days of reading the very first Harry Potter book and jamming out with boomboxes are behind us, we can still reminisce about everything that made our childhood so “da bomb!” We’ve compiled a list of our 90 favorite ‘90s trends, toys, and totally hip things that rocked our scrunchies off and had us saying “boo ya!” and “as if.”
Fashion (Faux Pas?)
1. Butterfly Clips: We had them in every color, so therefore we felt the need to wear them… all at once.
2. Scrunchies: “I cringe every time I see someone wearing them now. They were possibly the worst fashion idea ever.” - Hillary Johns, Ohio University 2013
3. Best Friend Necklaces: Friendship circles changed by the lunch hour, so best friend necklaces flew off the shelves at Claire’s… because you’re not true friends if you can’t declare it on a necklace.
4. Slap Bracelets: These were the most dangerous of accessories—I’m hoping these went out of style due to government banning.
5. Tattoo Chokers: It’s still up for debate whether these were fashion forward do’s or fashion police-worthy don’ts, but I must admit, I can be seen rocking this look in a majority of my elementary school class photos (and I’m sure it’s true for the rest of you, too).
6. Jellies: “Although I thought jellies were super cute when I was younger, they weren't exactly the most comfortable shoes... so maybe it's a good thing they were left in the past!” - Michelle Lewis, UNC-Chapel Hill 2013
7. Light Up Sneakers: As ‘90s pre-collegiettes, we needed to be entertained from head to toe… emphasis on the toe.
8. Stick-on Earrings: If you could go five minutes without losing a stick-on earring to your mane of hair, I crown you Queen of the ‘90s.
9. Frosted Tips: Seeing as Justin Timberlake sported frosted tips for the greater part of his *NSYNC career, there was no stopping that horrific trend.
10. Lip Smackers: From watermelon, kiwi, and mango to cotton candy and Dr. Pepper, it took true determination to keep from eating these lip balms during snack time.
11. Mood Rings: Without a mood ring on, it was completely unclear how you were feeling on a given day. It was a known fact that if you left the house without it, you’d be stuck in emotional limbo for the rest of the day.
“I'm just happy that ‘90s fashion is over—most decades have at least a few redeeming trends, but the ‘90s were a couture wasteland!”- Danai Kadzere, Harvard University 2014
Television and Movies
12. The Secret World of Alex Mack: If you could have any superpower, it would definitely be the ability to transform into a radioactive puddle, right?
13. The Mickey Mouse Club: Who could resist the adorableness that was a pre-pubescent Ryan Gosling?
14. The Adventures of Mary-Kate & Ashley: Solving every crime, by dinnertime—they were more efficient than any high-tech, 21st century detective.
15. Bill Nye the Science Guy: To a ‘90s kid, he was the smartest man to walk the planet; everything and anything could be learned from his TV show. And on the plus side, watching an episode of Bill Nye usually meant there was a substitute teacher that day.
16. The Magic School Bus: If you didn’t learn it from Bill Nye, then it had to come from Ms. Frizzle and her wacky field trips into the digestive system, to outer space, or even to the Arctic.
17. Nickelodeon Game Shows: Wild & Crazy Kids, GUTS and Global GUTS, and Legends of the Hidden Temple—not only did these shows incorporate a sense of worldly competition and teamwork, but they also had us all desperately wanting a piece of the glowing Aggro Crag.
18. Beverly Hills, 90210: It was the show that went beyond the boundaries of television to portray high school students in their unique environment. Not to mention, “Donna Martin Graduates!” will forever be the best protest this world will see.
19. Clueless: As if.
20. The Amanda Show: Judge Trudy, the Girls’ Room, the dancing lobsters, and stalker Penelope had us lol’ing (which was totally ‘90s AOL instant messenger terminology).
21. Doug: Going into the imagination of a teenage boy, we all got to experience the wonder that was Quail Man—to this day, no superhero even comes close to his excellence.
22. Saturday Morning Cartoons: It was a time when we all enjoyed waking up just as the sun began to rise. With a bowl of Cap’n Crunch cereal and a carton of milk, the only logical thing to do was pop in front of the TV for cartoons… on cartoons on cartoons.
23. Recess: Recess invoked a sense of mischief and adventure in all of us, not to mention had us all on the lookout for a group of kids like T.J., Spinelli, Vince, Gus, Gretchen, and Mikey to befriend.
24. Sabrina, the Teenage Witch: I won’t lie, on my 16th birthday, I anxiously waited for my parents to tell me I was a half witch and I had to go live with my two quirky aunts to learn about “the other realm.”
25. Boy Meets World: If you didn’t learn it from Bill Nye or Ms. Frizzle, you certainly learned it from the world’s greatest teacher, Mr. Feeny. And if you wanted to learn about romance, Cory and Topanga were the obvious couple to turn to for relationship advice.
26. The Face of Nick Jr.: “I definitely miss Nick Jr. when [the] face used to tell you what show was coming on next.” - Mariah Moses, Virginia State University 2016
27. SNICK: Before Saturday nights consisted of parties and hanging out with friends, it meant a night curled up on the sofa watching Nickelodeon and envying the SNICK orange couch.
28. Are You Afraid of the Dark?: Hands down, still one of the scariest shows to ever grace our television screens.
29. Full House: Besides being the Olsen twins’ starting point into their celebrity empire, Full House had us all wishing we lived with a straight-laced dad, cool Elvis-wannabe Uncle Jesse and his kooky friend Joey. On top of all that, Kimmy Gibbler definitely gave us a lot to laugh about.
30. All That: The less funny, more kid-friendly version of SNL featured stars such as Kenan Thompson, Kel Mitchell (who loves orange soda?), Lori Beth Denberg, and Amanda Bynes.
31. Saved by the Bell: Zack Morris and Kelly Kapowski were that ‘it’ couple everyone was rooting for, and in the end, we all got to see our wishes come true in their series finale wedding.
32. Jonathan Taylor Thomas: The star of Home Improvement and Man of the House had a seemingly bright future in show biz. But without anyone realizing it, he fell off the map. Even Perez Hilton is asking, “JTT, where are you??????”
33. Power Rangers: Did any girl not dress up as the pink power ranger for Halloween as a child?
34. Sister, Sister: A series based on identical twins separated by adoption who eventually randomly meet each in a mall and then have their families move in together most definitely makes for quality television.
36. Hey Arnold: “Nothing screams childhood like the good ‘ole Nickelodeon shows. No matter how mature I become, I will always love a good episode of Hey Arnold.” - Kelsey Mulvey, Boston University 2014
37. The Powerpuff Girls: Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup defined girl power (outside of the Spice Girls, of course). Saving the world in kindergarten—piece of cake.
38. Rocket Power: It’s completely unfair that a group of kids can be so athletically talented at every sport ever. I mean, seriously, is there anything they can’t do? Look for Team Rocket at the London Olympics competing in… well, everything.
39. Salute Your Shorts: A true testament to sleepaway camp… and all the antics that go hand in hand with being a camper.
40. Skip-It: “I loved playing that game in the summer!” - Erica Avesian, University of Michigan, 2013
41. Super Soakers: If it was summer, it was time to whip out the super soaker—no other water gun stood a chance in comparison.
42. Koosh Balls: Has anyone yet to determine the purpose of koosh balls, besides looking awesome on top of pens?
43. Silly Putty: It bounces. It flows like liquid. It can break apart. Silly Putty’s strange dynamics had every ‘90s kid mesmerized for hours on end.
44. Moon Shoes: When you were bouncing down the block, moon shoes not only gave you a few extra jumps to your step, but they also added on a few inches, making every kid feel like a giant.
45. Paper Fortune Tellers: There was no better feeling than hearing that your future held a marriage between you and Leonardo DiCaprio.
46. Milky Way Pens: When drawing all over yourself during Social Studies was socially acceptable, Milky Ways were the only way to go.
47. Stickopotamus: Sticker collecting (especially those scratch-and-sniffs) was made easy with the sticker binder that held them while keeping your fuzzy stickers perfectly organized.
48. Pokemon: Gotta catch ‘em all.