Pop Culture

Late ’90s Pop Trends I’m Secretly Nostalgic For*

Disclaimer: I am not saying any of these trends were ever actually good, but they do warm the cockles of my adolescent heart. And if you want to bring bulletproof-style vests (a la B4-4) back, who I am to judge?

Apparently I’m part of Generation Y, and I’m already nostalgic. At least the New York Times says so. Pining for 1998 may seem preemptive, but those were the days of Girl Power, a young Harry Potter, and Friends when Friends was still good. Here are some of my favorite “trends” that late-’90s pop music gave us and then common sense took back.

1. Workout Clothing as Regular Clothing

Long before wearing yoga pants to Starbucks, Sporty Spice, S Club 7, and Britney showed us that the word “sweat” in a piece of clothing’s name shouldn’t stop you.

2. Floppy Hair

Ah, the days of wearing your hair long, floppy, and parted right down the middle. Here, Stephen from Boyzone will show you how:

See? Easy.

3. The “Schoolgirl” Look

Brit Brit. She also rocks the workout gear look in this video. If only she had floppy hair, she would be the ultimate trifecta and we would call her Queen.

4. Spiky Hair

If you didn’t have floppy hair (or the “Caesar,” but we’re not going there), you spiked the heck out of it. Jersey Shore“˜s Pauly D totally got his hirsute inspiration from the likes of 5ive and *N Sync.

This video gives you spiky, floppy and the Caesar! Everything wrong in one place.

5. Adorable Brothers Everywhere You Turned

Hanson? I know Hanson.* And you, Jonas Brothers, are no Hanson.**

*No, I don’t :(

**They grew up and I feel old.

6. Chest-al Fanny Packs*

*I just use my bra.

I don’t know why this look didn’t catch on more”¦

7. Standing Out in the Rain

I couldn’t resist.*

*That’s a lie.

Video evidence here and here. So many pop stars, so many cases of walking pneumonia.

8. Half-Naked Guys on Treadmills

Really just an excuse to show this Boyzone performance again. But, honestly, this should never have gone out of style.

I’ll admit to having several tiny backpacks. What ’90s trends did you embrace? Bonus points if they included half-naked guys on treadmills”¦


* “For Which I’m Secretly Nostalgic”? Do we still care about prepositions? [Editor’s note: nope!] [Copyeditor’s note: Well, sometimes. But not at the end of a sentence.]

[Editor’s note: This lovely crosspost is brought to you by our fantasmicalorical, superexpontialially awesome friends at Interrobangs Anonymous, where smart is smexy.]

10 replies on “Late ’90s Pop Trends I’m Secretly Nostalgic For*”

Someone else remembers B4-4!! This makes so ridiculously excited; I loooved them when I was 12 and I still listen to their music on occasion(all the time). Now, though, it is mostly because of how ridiculously dirty their songs are. The song “Get Down” is also my motto about the ol’ oral sex: if you go down on me, I’ll get down on you. :)

I couldn’t resist.*

*That’s a lie.

This made my afternoon. This and the accompanying gif, of course.

I did not remember chest fanny packs, but now I do. I was going through puberty during this time period, so more than anything I remember the terrible clothes. Mostly I remember stuff being made out of plastic or some Lycra blend that felt plastic (seriously, belts, shirts, and some pants, ugh) and I don’t just mean the work out clothes. Oh, and the fact that ALL the shirts were way too short. In fact I believe my generation embraces long-long shirts today because we have such terrible memories of the belly shirt.

The thing I secretly loved were those mini-claw clips and how people used to style their hair with them. I had super frizzy hair but it still looked better when it was down and framed my face so these clips saved me, while this look was acceptable. The look in question is this one –

Every girl in my school did this in 1998.

How did I miss chest-al fanny packs? Not that I would have worn one — too much going on in the chest-al region already — but I have zero memory of it. That’s so weird. I totally expected #2 to be accompanied by a picture of Rider Strong. Like, braced myself for it and everything.

Don’t forget frosted tips! They were very popular on the boys back when I was in 8th and 9th grade. They looked awful, and they will forever be lodged in my brain as late 90s “style.”

I also secretly miss the well-produced boy band sound. I want it that way again! At least they didn’t sing about the club all the time.

Oh my gosh, frosted tips! There are so many things this post has brought up that I’d forgotten about, notably groups like Boyzone and 5ive.

I remember having a friend who wanted his tips frosted (which just sounds dirty now). And that was in 1998. FYI, the at-home frosting attempt didn’t work :(

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