Most of us can’t argue that the ‘90s were some of the best years of our lives. From the amazing television programming — where’s the “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” reboot? — to the unbeatable music artists and songs — “No Scrubs” still has applicable advice — it’s hard not to pine for the greatest decade in recent memory.
But the ‘90s really aren’t that far away. In fact, you’re probably carrying some descendants of your favorite ‘90s accessories right now. While it may seem like you left your Walkman in the past with your Jelly shoes and Scrunchies, your favorite accessories are really not all that dissimilar from the goofy ornaments of the past. Check out how your ‘90s gear as evolved into the indispensable items we have today.
The Baby G and Bold Watches
In the ‘90s, if you wore a Baby G watch, you were the most popular girl on the playground. If you can’t quite remember these beauties, think chunky plastic frame and band, bright pastel colors (particularly pinks and purples), and digital displays featuring not only the time, but the day of the week as well. This arm candy wasn’t really used for its intended purpose — telling time — but rather for showing off one’s status among the school hierarchy.
As an adult of the 21st century, you probably would feel ridiculous sporting a Baby G — but if you look closely at the watch on your wrist right now, you might see some similarities. Most watch designers are no longer trying to craft delicate or small-faced watches, because fashion consumers who grew up in the ‘90s don’t look for subtle.
Instead, most designer watches today feature big, bold features, like huge faces with unusual number styles or else non-traditional frame and band materials, like plastic or rose gold instead of the standard leather or silver. While you may think the Baby G is in the past where it belongs, your accessory choices are saying otherwise.
The Cigarette and the Vaporizer
Smoking was everywhere in the ‘90s. While D.A.R.E and the War on Drugs tried to keep tobacco products out of kids’ hands, plenty of young adults saw cigarettes as the coolest fashion accessory. It was hard not to see tobacco products as the gateway to popularity, especially when big-name celebrities like Winona Ryder and John Travolta smoked in almost every movie they starred in.
Now, with the price of a single pack reaching well above $7, those of us who still maintain our nicotine addiction have found an alternative to the tobacco cigarette. E-cigs and vaporizers cost pennies on the dollar in comparison to traditional nicotine delivery systems, like cigarettes, patches, and gum. However, the cost cut is only a small aspect of the benefits of e-cigs. With customizable options like burn temperature, nicotine content, and a huge catalogue of flavors, e-cigs are the future of smoking. We’re definitely glad we have this gadget in our pockets instead of the furry-tipped friends we had in the ‘90s.
CDs and Smartphones
In the ‘90s, we saw technology expand and diversify at an alarming rate. Coming out of an era when computers were just for offices and cassette tapes and floppy discs were the norm, we were amazed and excited when CDs started becoming the norm for music and data storage. A true ‘90s kid had stacks and stacks of albums, from Nirvana to Alanis Morisette to Brittney Spears — so many it seems impossible now that we really listened to every song. Having a CD collection you could show off to your friends was a key status symbol in the ‘90s world.
Now, we only use music CDs when our car radios break or we need something to stop a table from wobbling. CDs are barely even used to store data, with most programs and games available for download through the Internet. Instead of having shelves of albums to show the world our music preferences, we keep our tunes closely guarded in our smartphones. In the ‘90s, we couldn’t have even conceived of a device that would be a phone, a music player, a gaming system, and a computer all at once — but that’s technology for you. Most of don’t even bother with owning individual songs or albums anymore, choosing instead to use smartphone apps to stream music from the Internet.
While these accessories were a necessary step to get technology to where it is today, they remain in our lives only as once-great precursors to the awesome items we have today. Plenty of other ‘90s tech and accessories linger on in our culture, and some are even making a comeback (crop tops and chokers come to mind) but while we celebrate the ‘90s for what it was, we must still remember to let technology and fashion progress at its natural rate.