Fashion | Fads | Life | School | 90s

The Back-to-School Essentials for Every 90's Girl

It feels like it was just yesterday that we all packed up our backpacks with our gel pens and lip smackers, hoped onto our bikes and headed to school. While all the kids go back to school, we reflect on what we used to bring to school with us back in the 90's. How many of these did you have? And more importantly, how shocking do you find it that they are starting to come back into style?

Gel Pens

Teachers had to start a "no gel pens" policy in schools because everyone was writing their assignments with the glitter pens that were prone to smudges. Looking back now, I can see how awful that must have been for those poor teachers, but at the time we just wanted to use the glitter pens anywhere we could.


The best way to get that high pony to pop, colorful scrunchies that were carefully coordinated to your outfit were always an important part of the clothing choice.

Floral Embellishments on Hats

Nothing said adorable like a big ol' flower stuck to the front of your floppy hat. You might look back at this now and wonder if these were really all that popular, but I can guarantee you everyone had them - including me.

Bucket Hats for those who weren't into flowers

This is super model Tyra Banks wearing a bucket hat. Does this prove they were cool? They are actually making a resurgence right now which is fairly surprising.

Jean Jackets

Denim really hit its stride in the 90's. Everyone was a fan of the double-denim, wearing their jeans and jean jackets all at once. Bonus points to those who had the cool patches ironed onto the coat!

Lip Smackers

Lip Smackers came in every flavor. Strawberry, Grape, Coca Cola, Dr. Pepper, literally every imaginable flavor. They also had ones that had glitter and ones that went on in a roller. An just in case you were ever worried about losing your favorite one, many had little key chain holes so you could attach it to your backpack. So convenient!


Long before the first iPod came out, we had tape players. You had to carry around your tape player and tapes, and pray that they wouldn't get tangled inside the machine. If it did, you always had a pencil handy to rewind the tape.

Pop Music Tapes

Everyone had their favorite band and would carry it around trying to learn the words in the days before googling the lyrics was possible. If you were lucky, the artist would put the lyrics in the little books inside the cover, but good luck to have it be a font size you could read.

There are even more things we couldn't have survived school without on the next page!

Plaid Skirts

Everyone was rocking the plaid skirts. They were found in every popular 90's show and movie, with all the teen girls trying to mimic their looks.

Platform Sneakers

Blame the Spice Girls for this popular trend, but Platform Sneakers were EVERYWHERE! Totally impractical and from what I understand uncomfortable, but that didn't stop them from being on everyone's feet.

Denim Overalls

If you were alive in the 90's there is about a 99% chance that you owned at least one pair of overalls. The thing is, overalls are back and comfier than ever so this is one trend I can genuinely get excited about its come-back.

Butterfly Clips

Who remembers the painful process of trying to get these things to stay in your carefully twisted hair? The girls who managed to get uniform pieces all twisted perfectly always annoyed me. I never could figure these things out. Usually lasted about 10 minutes and then they all fell out.

Choker Necklaces

Who didn't want a piece of plastic sticking to their neck at all times? These little choker necklaces were often worn 24 hours a day by those who loved them and only came off when they broke.

Circle Headbands

These headbands/torture devices were always annoying to put on and half of the time ended up snagging some hair once they were in place. And if you accidentally scratched your head once they were in place you would likely pull a little piece of hair out and have to start over. Was it really worth it? The answer is no. Not at all.

Crimped Hair

It was a time saver to only crimp SOME of your hair. That way, you can have that cool just braided look without taking the 800 years it took to do this.