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School | Life | 90s

10 Back-To-School Essentials We All Begged Our Parents To Buy

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So, here's a little secret about me: I used to love back-to-school season. No, I didn't love actually going to school, but the process of buying a bunch of new outfits or school supplies was my favorite time of the year.

Maybe it's because we didn't really buy a lot of clothes any other time of the year, so it always felt like my one big chance to try out those cool new styles, but it was always the best time.

I think I had more fun picking out my binders and pens than anything though, which always made me feel kind of nerdy, but I didn't care. A lot of care and consideration had to go into which pencils I would use everyday.

Now that I don't need to buy new stuff every August, I get a little nostalgic thinking about it. How many of you remember buying these things when you went shopping?

1. New Overalls


I think we can all agree that overalls were a staple in all of our wardrobes as kids. Granted, I still have a pair that I wear now, but they did go out of style for a bit.

As a kid, I think about 90% of my pants were actually overalls. I just didn't own any real pants. It was more comfortable I guess? Who knows. I loved them though, still do.

2. Tear-Away Track Pants

The other pants that we all owned were likely the tear-away pants. Bonus points if they had the white stripes along the sides!

Did we ever actually tear them off our legs? Probably once, but then it took fifteen minutes to snap it all back together so we never did it again.

3. Milky Gel Pens

Sure, they were probably a very light pastel color that made them incredibly hard to read, but boy were we all obsessed with them.

I remember the one year I specifically got black paper so I could see my writing, and then the teachers banned them from the class.

4. Lunch Box with matching thermos

You needed some kind of lunch box kit, and if it had a thermos that was ideal. Did you ever actually use the thermos? Probably not, but that's okay because you just wanted to have it.

5. Scented Markers

Some people thought these were just for little kids, but those people were fools. They were perfect for making the best bristol board presentations or book reports. Just make sure you don't need to write on the back of the paper you use them on, because you absolutely will not be able to!

Honestly, I still buy these every once and a while and use them to make birthday cards or other crafty type things. They make me feel like a kid again.

6. Scrunchies


If you were going to school in the 90s, there is no doubt in my mind that you needed to buy a few new scrunchies every year.

Not because you wanted them, because you NEEDED them. It was a requirement. How else were you going to put your hair up in a high side ponytail?

7. Five Star notebooks or binders

I don't know about you, but my mom would never let me get these because they were so overpriced. But man, did their commercials really work.

Every year I would try, and that was what made the one year I was allowed to get the name brand binders so special. I quickly learned they were exactly the same as every other binder or notebook I ever had, but at least I learned my lesson!

8. Plaid everything

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Shirts, skirts, dresses, sweaters, and pants, basically every single one of us owned a million different items of plaid clothing.

9. Multi-colored push up pens

Were they comfortable to write with? No, not at all, but we claimed we loved them anyways! Push-up pens gave us the power to write in a bunch of different colors at the click of a button, instead of having to dig through our pencil cases like some kind of fool.

10. Erasers in all kinds of shapes

Personally, I had a collection of cow erasers that I got as prizes from our milk stand, but those weren't to actually use. They were way too cute.

Instead I would beg my mom for a bunch of different erasers, some that looked like other animals or even snacks, and then obviously you needed one really good eraser that actually worked.

What were your essentials for back-to-school in the 90s?