I have a confession: I freaking love the Spice Girls. They were my favorite band in the 90s and they were my very first concert I ever attended when I was 11. My best friend and I were taken by our moms and it would have been the perfect night had my best friend not been allowed to bring her “boyfriend” at the time who spent the whole concert talking about how underrated Missy Elliott was.
In retrospect, I have to say I’m pretty impressed by the Spice Girls. I know some conservative people complained about the skimpy outfits but frankly, that’s a little irrelevant in the face of how much positivity they promoted. The message of “girl power” was pretty empowering to me as a young girl and because I was a big fan of theirs, I was constantly showered with messages that I should love myself because I’m kickass as I am and not to let anyone tell me otherwise just because I’m a girl. Looking back, I also rather like the fact that they wore sexy outfits. Yeah, I acknowledge some of it was marketing, but I liked the fact that they embraced who they were without feeling like they had to change. In the 80s, menswear for women was very popular–we’ve all seen regretful photos of huge shoulder pads (or wore them ourselves) and pantsuits that were designed to make women look more masculine. The Spice Girls embraced their femininity while still demanding respect as people, which I absolutely love.
Looking back on the Spice Girls as an adult, I feel pretty proud that they were some of my role models as a kid. Granted, they did lead me to make some unfortunate footwear decisions (i.e. giant platform flip flops) but I think on some level, the affirmations I received from both their music and their comments in the media contributed to my foundation in terms of deciding that as not only a woman but also as a person, I deserve respect and I need to be proud of who I am. I also like that they enforced the message that women should be vocal about what they want and not have to be quiet or subservient just because they’re women.
Think about their biggest hit, “Wannabe”–they’re basically telling some guy that they’re not going to put up with his bullshit because they have standards:
Is it a cheesy pop song? Duh. Does it have an empowering message that a lot of us need to hear sometimes? Definitely. Settling for some loser who’s rude to your friends is clearly not worth it.
Many a child of the 90s will remember this stupid toy with the catchy theme song that was about as creative as the Hot Pockets jingle.
Essentially, you attached a a weight to your ankle and spun it around, hopping (or skipping, if you will) over the over the string.
The Skip-It was based on a toy from the 1960s called a Lemon Twist, which was basically a lemon-shaped weight on the end of a string. I’m not totally sure why lemons were toys, but whatever. We’ll just chalk it up to being a different time.
Skip-Its as they’re currently known were created in the 1980s but they originally looked like whiffle balls attached to a bungee cord.
They were redesigned in the 1990s to be heavier and with a skip counter so you could keep track of exactly how many times you managed to avoid wrapping the tether around your free leg and whacking yourself in the ankle.
There was another redesign in 2013 to create a spin-off toy called Twister Rave Skip-It which sounds like a ridiculously unnecessary mash-up that even the writers of “Glee” would think is a bit too much.
Rather than try to keep redesigning this toy, perhaps we should just find something else to play with. If we want to do a full throwback to the original Lemon Twist, I’m pretty sure it might be more fun to just throw a bunch of lemons at each other.
Back in the 90s, there was a very popular drink that showed up in many a school lunch: Squeezits.
It was introduced in the mid 80s but really gained popularity in the 90s. Straws were for bitches and instead, we preferred to squeeze a plastic bottle so we could fling away the empty bottle like Thor smashing a coffee cup.
I found a commercial for Squeezits from 1994 and . . . well, just watch it:
There are a couple things I find a little disturbing. The Squeezits appear to be angry, feral, sentient creatures fighting for survival amongst the groceries. The children then twist off the tops of their heads and suck the life force out of them and yet the Squeezits don’t die. Instead, they huddle together, broken, drained, and trying to brace themselves for either another fight or the quiet embrace of death.
The fact that we’re not all serial killers is kind of amazing.
At some point in the 90s, many males looked into the mirror and, apparently feeling inspired by Nirvana’s debut album title, decided their hair was looking a little too dark and melancholy.
Hair bleaching was ridiculously popular in the 90s and even into the early 00s because no one knows how to let a bad idea die. There were many options for the style of hair bleaching one could choose, from an all-over bleach to just the tips (teehee!) to a sort of tortoiseshell effect if you were feeling complicated.
I feel like there is so much to say about this particular trend but I think it’s best that I let these example pictures speak their 1,000 words apiece:
My 7th Grade Boyfriend:
So far, this doesn’t appear to be a trend that is in danger of returning but I’m sure we’re only an Anson Elgort and a bad decision away from a resurgence.
Note: A very special thanks to my 7th grade boyfriend, Judson, who, when I asked if I could use a photo of him with bleached hair, immediately sent me three.
The other day, I was leaving a store I’ll refer to as “Shmarget” after spending entirely too much money (again) when I saw an accessory that I haven’t seen in many, many years: a chain wallet.
What I found funny about the guy wearing the chain wallet was that he didn’t necessarily look like the type to wear this sort of accessory. He wore a button up shirt, pleated front khakis (guys, please never wear these, they don’t look good on anyone), and sensible shoes . . . set off with a chain wallet.
I understand the practicality of a chain wallet for the sole fact that it’s harder to steal. Unless you have bolt cutters of some kind, which would make you a very obvious mugger and people would probably avoid you anyway as the weird guy carrying around bolt cutters.
In the 90s, I certainly saw the need for a chain wallet. With JNCOs as the popular pants of choice, it could be easy for a wallet to get lost in such voluminous pants, necessitating a tether of some sort and let’s be real–a chain looks more badass than that plastic braided lanyard you made at summer camp.
Are chain wallets a thing again? Did I miss some kind of memo? I didn’t personally have one but is this something I can expect to see more often? Is this a way of turning adults into leash kids? Are people just more excited by chains lately because of 50 Shades of Grey?
Whatever the reason, I feel like this is a trend that should avoid coming back into popularity. I know the 90s have been experiencing a resurgence over the last couple years but there’s a difference between a cute girl wearing a crop top and a dude with a chain wallet that’s decorated in blue flames.