I like making lists and I’m feeling flippant today, so I decided to create a Master List of things that I find incredibly unattractive. I don’t know if I chose to focus on the ‘90s because I myself was a preteen fashion pariah in those days and have nightmarish memories of what not to do, or because I find the ‘90s full of eighties leftovers, drab utilitarian apparel, and kitschy wannabe flower power…among other even worse assaults on fashion.
10. Pasty foundation: was it a rebellion against the beach babe look of the late ‘80s and early ‘90s or an enduring love affair with the gothic spawned by 1994’s Interview with the Vampire? Well, no matter the flimsy justification, wearing foundation and powder that makes your face look two shades paler than the rest of your body doesn’t enhance your face in a good way.
9. Overalls: Once upon a time, over two hundred years ago, “slops” were worn “over all” the rest of men’s clothing to protect them while laboring—i.e. painters and railway workers. I think it’s great it became popular for women to don what was traditionally men’s apparel, but that’s about all the merit I’ll allow them. They’re cute on kids five and under, but on women they erase waistlines and transform curves into ill-defined bulges.
8. THE SANDALS: My step-dad had a word for these: clodhoppers. We know them better as Doc Marten sandals and their knockoff offspring. They make anyone look flat-footed and the off brands (in my experience) could give you massive blisters. To my chagrin, I’m pretty sure I wore these with overalls back in middle school.
7. Helmet head: Now it’s time to pick on the boys. Super-gelled, spiky, slicked-back, frosted tips, or bleached hair was a staple for some guys in the ‘90s. Nowadays only small subsets of men like the guys from Jersey Shore dress their hair with a pound of gel, but back in the ‘90s it was commonplace to see that eyesore everywhere due to offenders such as ‘N sync and Eminem who helped make it mainstream
6. Scrunchies I cringe a little inside when I see one of those oversized, gaudy scraps of cloth. You can still see these museum pieces in a grocery store, seemingly untouched by the masses, and then—behold! You’ll spot one or two women in said grocery store, mostly middle-aged, sporting one. Tragically, they may lose their endangered status due to companies like American Apparel who are marketing them as delightful throwbacks.