Nineties nostalgia

Posted by
Stylist Team
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Gary Barlow, grunge and light-wash denim are back - proving the nineties are now officially retro. We all know Friends, Britpop and the Spice Girls defined the era, so we've revisited those other nineties fads we knew and loved from the world of food, fashion and culture. In the world of PJ and Duncan, let's get ready to 'Rhumble'...

Picture credits: Rex Features

  • Adidas shell suits

    As this picture of Mel 'Sporty Spice' C shows, Adidas sportswear was the height of nineties fashion. The cool kids at school had one with poppers down the side - everyone else settled for the cheap two-stripe knockoffs.

  • The Babysitter's Club

    If you were a pre-teen girl in the 1990s, The Babysitter's Club series were the only books to borrow from your School Library. How we lusted after Claudia's wardrobe and private telephone, sympathized with Stacey's plight with diabetes, and attempted (poorly) to set up a Babysitter's Club of our own.

  • Beanie Babies

    They were cute, cuddly and collectable - and bizarrely, became a $6 billion business in the mid-1990s.

  • Bjork Buns

    Quirky Icelandic songstress Bjork became a beauty icon in the 1990s - as her crazy head of buns became the hairstyle we all tried to copy in the mirror.

  • Adidas Gazelles

    Again with the sportswear (JD Sports did a roaring trade back in the 1990s) - Adidas Gazelles were the Britpop shoe of choice regardless of whether you were team Oasis or Blur.

  • Blossom

    She tap-danced in the opening credits, had a witty best friend called "Six", lived in a house full of dishy men, and wore some seriously zany floral printed jumpsuits - Blossom was our nineties TV idol.

  • Blue Mascara

    Who didn't try blue mascara in the 1990s? It seemed like an oh-so-hip alternative to black at the time - now it reminds us of the Smurfs.

  • Velvet chokers

    An essential accessory for unleashing your inner goth - we thought it was so Interview with a Vampire, or Christina Ricci in Casper. Weirdly, chokers are making a comeback.

  • The Club biscuit advert

    "If you like a lot of chocolate on your biscuit join our...Club." The catchiest jingle of the decade.

  • The Um Bongo advert

    Actually, scrap that - this advert song was even better:

    "Um Bongo, Um Bongo, They drink it in the Congo.

    The python picked the passion fruit, the marmoset the mandarin.

    The parrot painted packets, that the whole caboodle landed in.

    So when it comes to sun and fun and goodness in the jungle,

    They all prefer the sunny funny one they call Um Bongo!"

  • Clarissa Explains It All

    Melissa Joan Hart stole our hearts as plucky teenager with the. coolest. room. ever. We could totally relate to her annoying brother Ferguson, and cute best friend/neighbour Sam, who had no qualms about climbing into her room on a regular basis. We also loved the opening credits - which are cleverly rewound at the end of the show!

  • The Crystal Maze

    Essential Channel 4 viewing - which for a time we rediscovered on Challenge TV. How we longed to enter the four zones on a quest for Crystals with Richard O'Brien (Medieval was our favourite), and to grab the money in the giant Crystal at the end...

  • Daria

    If you were lucky enough to have MTV during this decade, you'll be more than familiar with the acerbic animated teen Daria Morgendorffer and her show, a satire on high school life in small town America. We wanted to dress like her grungy best friend Jane Lane and kind of fancied Generation X slacker Trent.

  • Curtains

    Thanks to David Beckham, wearing your hair parted into two gelled-back 'curtains' became the style of choice for teenage boys across the land - and sales of Brylcreem rocketed.

  • The Bum Bag

    Hilariously known as the Fanny Pack in the US, the Bum Bag was seen around the middle of many a tourist, and men like Hulk Hogan (another nineties legend) during the 1990s. Many designers have since tried, and failed to bring the Bum Bag back.

  • The Fresh Prince of Bel Air rap

    Can you rap the entire theme tune to The Fresh Prince of Bel Air? It's the ultimate accolade for a nineties kid. We also loved Cousin "Daddy, I need $500 dollars" Hilary and Carlton's dance moves.

  • Gel pens

    When Gel pens came along in the late nineties, our stationary collection would never be the same again. Ok, so they smudged a bit, but we still rejected boring biros for Gel pens in a rainbow of colours - and crowded WHSmith for the glitter and scratch-and-sniff varieties.

  • Friends memorabilia

    Yes, the sitcom was the biggest TV show of the decade. But what we'll really remember about Friends is all the merchandise that went with it - the posters, the mugs, the teatowels, and the pencil case seen on the desks of every classroom across the country (and in our Christmas Stockings year after year).

  • Goosebumps books

    Despite hilarious titles like "It came from under the sink" and bizarre plots ( a man-eating sponge), we still had to read the Goosebumps books with the light on.

  • Fun House

    A children's stunt show? Presented by Pat Sharp and a pair of cheerleaders? What's not to love about Fun House? This zany gameshow was the highlight of our Friday teatime - we especially enjoyed the Gong crazy! obstacle.

  • Hair mascara

    Another nineties beauty trend - rather than dying your hair, simply brush in streaks with a mascara wand! We loved the purple/glittery variety for School Discos.

  • Gladiators

    "Contenders...READY! Gladiators...READY!" - the dulcet tones of John Anderson signalled the start of Saturday nights. We tuned in every week to see if members of the public could beat the Gladiators - but they always fell down at the 'Eliminator'...

  • Hooch

    Hooch and fruity Alcopops caused a media storm when they launched in the nineties - and became the essential ingredient for any student house party.

  • Jelly shoes

    Jelly shoes (preferably with glitter inside) were the sandal of choice for nineties girls. We had a high-heeled pair from Tammy Girl. The only drawback? Slightly sweaty feet.

  • Kangol hats

    As modelled here by Liam Gallagher, Kangol hats (either a summery hat like Liams, or a furry number for winter) had a bit of a moment in the 'Cool Britannia' era.

  • A Leonardo DiCaprio poster

    After Titanic and Romeo and Juliet , Leo was the big nineties pin-up - and women across the land had some sort of Leo picture/poster on their wall/fridge/in their purse. We even remember now-defunct teen magazine J17 devoting an entire issue to Leo.

  • Kickers

    The coolest school shoes in the playground - chunky Kickers, with or without a high heel.

  • Live and Kicking

    Saturday mornings used to be jam-packed with decent TV shows. Live & Kicking was presented by nineties It Girl and Boy Zoe Ball and Jamie Theakston, had great phone-ins (with a catchy song to help you remember the number) and people got 'gunged' regularly with green goo.

  • Chanel Vamp nail polish

    Worn by Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction , Vamp was one of the first Chanel polishes to achieve cult status.

  • The Macarena

    Don't tell us you don't remember the moves to this cheesy dance hit...

  • Mr Blobby

    Mr Blobby started out as a character on that classic nineties TV show Noel's House Party, but became a star in his own right - and even had a No.1 Christmas single in 1993. We didn't buy it - but we enjoyed his impromptu appearances across a variety of BBC TV shows during the decade.

  • Mr Motivator

    Rising to fame on GMTV with his fitness segments, Mr Motivator will always be remembered for his tight, spandex outfits rather than his workouts.

  • Vice Versas

    Launched in 1991, we were devastated when our chocolately treat of choice was discontinued. Vice Versas were a fancier version of Galaxy Minstrels, with both white and milk chocolate varieties.

  • Plaid shirts

    Thanks to grunge bands like Nirvana, plaid shirts became a style staple in the nineties. We wore ours with DMs, a cropped top underneath and a scowl.

  • Stick on earrings

    Couldn't get your ears pierced? No problem. We wore these stick on gem stones on our ears, on our forehead, pasted them all over our bedroom...

  • My So Called Life

    The ultimate teen angst TV show, we still can't believe My So Called Life was so short-lived. Claire Danes was the perfect awkward teenager, and Jared Leto as Jordan Catalano became our major crush.

  • Troll dolls

    Trolls have been around since the 1970s, but they became a fad again in the mid-1990s, topping pencils, attached to keyrings, and piled high on the shelves of girl's bedrooms. Attempts to market trolls to boys with "Teenage Mutant Ninja Trolls" didn't quite work.

  • Beverly Hills 90210

    The show we like to call "Bev" was the original teen drama, with its hunky (and slightly too old) male stars, real-life drama queen Shannon Doherty as popular girl Brenda, hilarious nineties fashion, and boundary-breaking scripts that dared to cover social and political issues. The remake of this classic show is just no comparison.

  • Platform trainers

    Along with Union jack dresses, the return of the mini skirt and Scary's terrifying cone buns, the Spice Girls started a multitude of micro trends. Platform trainers (preferably Buffalo) were our favourite.

  • Pinky and the Brain

    Forget Ren and Stimpy, our nineties cartoon of choice featured two white mice - one a genius, the other insane - who wanted to take over the world.

  • Plastic Cartoon lunchboxes

    Were you a nineties schoolkid? Chances are you carried your lunch in a plastic box emblazoned with a cartoon character - we were loyal to Disney throughout Primary School.

  • PJ and Duncan

    Before they hosted glossy gameshows like Red or Black, Ant and Dec were PJ and Duncan, the lovable duo from TV series Byker Grove, and pop act most known for Let's Get Ready To Rhumble . We'll never forget the shocking Byker episode when PJ was blinded in a freak paintballing accident.

  • Push Pops

    We loved Push Pops purely for the amusing "Push a push pop" commercials - pure nineties advertising at its best.

  • Power Rangers

    Bizarre but hilarious TV show that is still airing in the US. We wanted to be the (often overlooked) yellow ranger.

  • Record bags

    Black, nylon record bags emblazoned with a logo were the only thing to carry in the early nineties.

  • Saved by the Bell

    Who could resist the loveable Zach Morris in this cheesy but charming high school show? We also had a style crush on Kelly Kapowski.

  • The scrunchie

    Another nineties trend that designers have attempted to revive. The scrunchie belongs firmly in the nineties - where it complemented our thick fringe and side ponytail perfectly.

  • Smash Hits magazine

    According to the Smash Hits' website, the eighties were its heydey, but we remember the magazine in the nineties for the Poll Winner's Party, handy song cards so we knew all the Take That lyrics, and those Spice Girls inflatable dolls.

  • Slip dresses

    Satin, vintage slip dresses were a major nineties trend, on and off the catwalk. We wore ours with a feather boa.

  • Shag bands

    On the wrists of every nineties kid, you never told your parents what the shag band actually meant - and what you were supposed to do if you broke them...

  • SMTV

    The battle of the Saturday morning TV show commenced in 1998 when Ant, Dec and a pre-LA makeover Cat Deeley came on to our screens with SMTV. "The Beautiful Corrs" and Friends paraody "Chums" were our favourite sketches.

  • The Skort

    The ultimate practical fashion item, this skirt/short hybrid meant you never had to worry about flashing again. We also embraced the "skant" - or skirt over trousers.

  • Sunny Delight

    Sunny D launched in the UK in 1998, and became the third biggest selling drink. But the "orange juice drink" with only 5% real orange came under widespread attack from the media.

  • Tamagotchi

    In a time before Blackberrys and iPhones, we were glued to another electronic device - a virtual pet that ate, slept, and died if you left it in the bottom of your bag.

  • Super Soaker

    Believe it or not, we had some long, hot summers in the nineties - and the Super Soaker was the weapon of choice for annoying little brothers everywhere.

  • Opal Fruits

    We staged a major boycutt of 'these fruity sweets after they were changed to 'Starburst". We're sure they changed the taste too...

  • Whigfield

    Her song Saturday Night was the big summer hit of 1994 - see if you can remember the accompanying dance moves.

  • New West Skin Scent For Her

    When a quick spray of Impulse just wouldn't cut it, this sadly-discontinued perfume was our go-to scent.

  • Spice Girls memorabilia

    The Spice Girls are an obviously nineties band - but what we loved the most was the array of Spice Mania paraphanalia. We may/may not have owned at some point - Spice Girls photos and album, body spray, crop tops and leggings, dolls, a complete stationery set, slippers, the atrocious Spice Girls Movie...

  • Sweet Valley High

    The books and the TV series made us really, really want to move to Sweet Valley, California and have an identical twin sister so we could play pranks on our friends/family/dates. The theme tune to the TV show was also rather epic.