Some fashion trends are awesome, chic, gotta-have-em…until, suddenly, they’re not. As soon as a passing fad has passed us by, whatever show-stopping shoe, bank-breaking bag, or sensationally stupid skirt of the moment can suddenly go from the only thought on your mind to “what was I thinking?” These ten trends from childhood may have seemed totally tubular at the time, but now all that remains are some truly hilarious pictures—and a whole lot of regret. Do you remember wearing any of these ridiculous styles as a child? Grab an old photo album and find out!
1. Bubble shirts:
Right around 2001 these took the tween world by storm, selling out at every Limited Too across the country. Also known as “popcorn shirts”, this terrifying sartorial creation starts out small enough to fit your American Girl Doll (anyone else try to fit theirs on the actual doll?) and stretches to fit any size. They’re cropped, tight, weirdly puckered, and one of the most unflattering garments in existence—but they’re almost too fun to resist!! ALMOST. No one wants to revisit their sixth-grade school picture more than they absolutely have to.
2. Bike Shorts:
As their name suggests, these supremely heinous shorts are for ATHLETIC PURPOSES ONLY—that is, they’re long and tight enough to wear on a bike without chafing, riding up, or getting caught on anything. That said, they have no business whatsoever off the bike trail, and yet we all wore them as children. They hit a few inches above the knee, too long to be cute and too short to be considered cropped leggings. Back in the 90’s they came in all sorts of tacky patterns and colors, and for us lucky children there were MATCHING SHIRTS. Anyone else own a pair of bike shorts with tiny flowers and a t-shirt with a giant matching flower in the middle? Luckily, by this decade the bike-short silhouette lengthened to the much more flattering legging. Let’s hope it stays that way!
3. Slap Bracelets:
Once a coveted fashion accessory, now a dangerous and tacky weapon, these bracelets swept the nation throughout the 90’s, making it as far as our elementary school classrooms before they were largely banned for their potential for physical violence (things could get pretty crazy on the playground, after all). They’re made of layers of flexible stainless steel, and they start out flat but snap to fit your wrist when you slap them on. They came in such classy incarnations as neon, animal print, sequins, and my personal favorite—fuzzy. Only problem was, it really hurt to keep slapping yourself! But fashion is pain, after all.
4. Platform Sneakers:
Clunking onto the scene in the early 2000s, these shoes look like they belong on the feet of “Hey Arnold”, but somehow they found their way into the wardrobes of millions of middle schoolers. Offered primarily by the classiest of shoe retailers, Steve Madden, and available in classic, clog, and rhinestone-encrusted styles, the ubiquitous shoes made the wearer six inches taller—SIX INCHES—but offered absolutely nothing in the way of fashion. Oh well, they looked totally cool with our knee-length madras Capri pants and bubble shirts, right? Right???
5. Body glitter:
And body spray, body butter, body rhinestones…tacky, shiny, heavily fragranced body decoration was all the rage during our transition from childhood to adolescence (aka, right when Limited Too and Claire’s became the primary fashion authorities in our lives). We all glommed it onto our ten-year-old necks, legs, even eyelids, and hit the town like the fashionistas we thought we were—and caught the light wherever we went out like Christmas ornaments. The fad OFFICIALLY died when Karen Smith put her rhinestone K on backwards before Spring Fling, but hopefully we knew by then that everything that glitters may not be gold—or at least trendy.