9 Iconic '90s Trends That Made Us Too Cool for School

The ’90s produced a lot of greatness: Nirvana, AOL Instant Messenger, and CDs, to name a few. Sure, the latter two aren’t exactly around anymore, but they were revolutionary when they arrived on the scene. (I will argue that Nirvana is still “around,” since their music will live in infamy.) But whatever happened to those ’90s trends that people swore by? There were so many fun details in our everyday lives that are completely unknown to kids of today.

If you enjoyed any of the things on this list, chances are you were pretty cool in the ’90s.

Mood Rings


It was always important to check your mood ring to make sure it was following your emotions to a T. Mine was almost always dark, meaning I was under “mental or nervous strain.” But I’m not sure how accurate this thing was. It was pretty exciting when it would turn a vibrant blue or green, but I don’t think that happened to anyone very often.

Chain Wallets


Chain wallets were basically synonymous with skater kids, straight-edge kids, and fans of ska music. If you wore one, you probably also owned some cargo pants and a pair or two of Vans. And yeah, you knew you were pretty cool too.

Dr. Martens


Doc Martens were the THING to have on your feet for several years in this decade. I owned at least three pairs, as did most of my friends. They went best with the whole grunge look (see flannel shirts below), or the baby doll dress look (also see below). I pulled them off with both fashion statements, and I’m positive my parents cringed every time I left the house.



How cool was it to be able to play your CDs on the go? You didn’t need to fast-forward or rewind manually, like on a Walkman with cassette tapes. You could jump right to your favorite songs. The only problem that everyone endured was the skipping. And it was BRUTAL. You could barely walk from here to there without your song jumping around and your CD getting potentially scratched. And you could completely forget about going jogging with one. Great idea in theory, but terrible in execution. I think I used my Walkman for jogs until the early 2000s, when it was time to jump ship to the iPod.

Eddie Bauer Backpacks


I’m not completely sure why these were popular — it’s not like we were going camping or anything. But I do remember that there was a lifetime warranty on the bags. So every couple of years when one would inevitably get a hole, I would happily march right into the Eddie Bauer store at the local mall to pick out a new color for the upcoming school year.

Baby Doll Dresses


Yeah, this was not a good moment for fashion, but we thought we were pretty cute in baby doll dresses. Maybe it had something to do with the fashions we saw on Beverly Hills: 90210. I think we all wanted to be Kelly. And as I mentioned above, I expertly paired mine with Dr. Martens for ultimate irony.

Reebok Pumps


Boys actually thought that they would get more shots on the playground basketball court after pumping their sneakers. It was pretty clear that this did absolutely nothing. But that didn’t stop us all from wanting a chance to pump them on our friends’ feet.



I didn’t own a pager, but I had friends who did. (And I had to endlessly explain to my parents that “beepers” weren’t just for drug dealers.) We hardly ever paged our friends so they would call us back. Instead, we would figure out how to write messages using only numbers. 07734 upside down said “hello,” but you probably already knew that because you were doing the same thing.

Flannel Shirts

We loved Nirvana and Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots for their groundbreaking music (and their hot lead singers). But we also loved their fashion — or lack, thereof. Flannel shirts were comfortable and cool, and went spectacularly with all the Dr. Martens we already owned.