Sometimes I just don't understand my teenage daughter? Talking to her makes me sometimes question if I was ever a teenager, if I was ever popular, if I was a fashionista, and did I even have friends? The type of music she listens to, the time she spends straightening her hair, why she would want to wear such tight jeans with holes all through them and her lack of communication other than through Snap, text, Tik Tok and instagram. As a mom, I feel totally ”extra” and not eligible for her to “spill the tea” with me and I swear I was never so excluding with my own mother. Then one day a spark of a connection starts to heat up and I tread lightly because I do not want to extinguish the familiarity right from the start. I have to keep my cool, if she finds out…it is game over!
All of my teenage years spanned the length of the 90s decade, which really was not that long ago. It was the best time of my life and I was, in my eyes, the model of what a teenager in the 90s should look, walk, talk, dress and converse. What a time it was! It was a time of dial-up internet, call waiting, Delia’s, Saved by the Bell, Sun-In, Rachel/Monica hair cuts, Boyz 2 Men, Destiny’s Child and even Cotton-Eyed Joe. So when my daughter started hinting around that it was time for a mom/daughter shopping trip, I was intrigued. It only took her sharing with me what she would like to purchase to send me back to 1995, sitting on the window sill of the high school cafeteria.
My daughter: “Mom, I would really like a pair of these super trendy new sandals”.
Me: “Oh, what type of sandals?”
My Daughter: "Well, they are a bulkier sandal with two leather straps across the top and the sole conforms to your foot the more you wear them. They are called Birkenstocks”.
It took me a minute to process and I must have looked confused or maybe elated because she preceded, “Mom, can we look at them?” Immediately, I wanted to share that at one time I had those very same “trendy” sandals in every color. But the moment I say that, the trip down memory lane would take an unwanted detour and I want to go along for the ride.
Isn’t it funny how things come full circle? It is also interesting how styles are “reinvented” and introduced to teenagers as “original.” Here are a few of my favorite trends of the 90s that I caught my daughter sporting!
These sandals were the staple of my wardrobe in the late nineties. The more you wear them, the more comfortable they become and it was one pair of shoes that you and your BFF did not share. They became unique to your foot, so sharing was not practical. Looking through my shoe collection, you might have found Mary Janes with a chunky heel, shoes with a platform, and utilities boots.
I might have had a few tears in my jeans, but by no means were my jeans considered “skinny.” Sometimes the bottoms of my jeans completely covered my shoes and my figure was lost in the material. Having a tapered jean was unheard of in my day. Yes, skinny jeans are popular today, but I caught my daughter in a pair of jeans that looked like they were not painted on! Amazing! One day, I will break out some pictures of me in the late nineties and share them with her.
The only thing better than a scrunchie in the 90s was the banana clip in the 80s. A year ago, I would reminisce about the infamous scrunchie and laugh out loud of how ridiculous they looked plopped on top of my head or tied around a loose ponytail gathered at my neck. More importantly, I would have several hanging off my wrist just in case one of my friends asked, “Can I borrow a scrunchie?”
#4 Doc Martens
Alongside my “birks” were strategically placed Doc Martens. Picture utility boots that you see on construction workers or on members of the military, but super shiny, black leather with stitching lining the outside sole to the boot. They look perfect with a pair of my loose fitting jeans. Not very feminine, but you could walk through anything. So when my daughter was perusing the Birkenstock rack, I was not surprised that she tested out a pair of Doc Martens. Oh, the Joy!
#5 Puka Shell Necklaces and Bracelets
The 90s was full of “extra” including extra gaudy Puka shell accessories, but we all loved them. After the routine of getting dressed for school, came the routine of adding scrunchies and Puka shells to our neck and wrist. Maybe even an anklet for fun. When I noticed my daughter purchasing a single leather strand with one, white pearl, I knew the Puka shells would be surfacing soon.
#6 Friendship Bracelets
Another fun accessory was on the inexpensive side and most the time came in the form of a gift. Friendship bracelets consumed many hours of the 90s teenager’s lives as they weaved, braided, tied or patterned with three strings, candy stripes, or some other creative design. We would tape the one side to the kitchen counter and let our creativity flow. Wouldn’t you know it, woven embroidery thread has been found throughout my house and my kids know how to macrame.
#7 Oversized T-shirts
Now that I think of it, the 90s were just comfortable. Wide-legged jeans, soft scrunchies, comfortable shoes and to top it off, oversized tees. It did not matter what the t-shirt design or the color, it just had to accent Puka shell necklaces and cover all the areas that present day Yoga pants accent. My favorite was a navy blue U.S. Navy shirt that was super soft. I do not know where I found it but I think one of my friends ended up claiming it. It was fun to share in the 90s too! Several years ago, I never thought my daughter would approve of me leaving the house with anything screen printed but now we coordinate.
#8 14 Karat Gold
Coin ring anyone? Along with the junky jewelry came the Gold Rush. Nothing subtle about this trend. Rings on every finger, large hoop earrings, herringbone chains, and chain linked bracelets, oh my! This trend I have yet to see my daughter explore but I would not be disappointed if she asked for a gold dolphin ring.
#9 Beverly Hills, 90210
Maybe the recent reboot jogged my memory but I sure did love meeting friends weekly for 90210 night. I believe I cried for days when the 10th season ended. Believe it or not, when the network auctioned off props and furniture from the set, I was live on the Internet placing bids for Donna’s wedding dress (we were the same size back then) and the cow print oversized chair in Donna’s and Kelly’s beach house. So yes, I watch the reboot with my daughter, but she is not getting the true picture of what it was to love the bad boy style of Dylan.
So now you know my excitement for my daughter’s sudden urge to go shopping with me. A trip down memory lane was much needed and knowing that my daughter’s fashion sense is not much different from mine, I consider it a mom win! Well Played!
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