Tanya Ruiter

Life | 90s

What Growing Up In The 90s Actually Looked Like

Tanya Ruiter

I was born in 1988, so I spent most of my prime childhood years in the 90s. That meant that I was at the perfect age for the big Disney renaissance, a large percentage of the clothing I owned was either floral or neon, and of course, scrunchies were my go-to.

Here's the extra fun part about my childhood: my mother was an avid photographer, so most of it is caught on film - yes, film - and now I have these old film photos digitized so I can help you remember what it was like to be young and carefree in the 90s.

My sister and I were raised in a small town with two hard-working parents, and while they claim we didn't have a lot of money, we never noticed. We were way too busy biking around the block, playing with our Barbies, and memorizing the clock stretch from The Big Comfy Couch.

Our childhood was maybe not as glamorous as all those kids you see in the movies, but it's a lot more realistic. How many of these things do you remember?

Let's start with one of our favorite toys. When we were young, we had these dolls called "Jammie Pies" and we were completely OBSESSED.

Jammie Pies
Tanya Ruiter

The purple one was Pittipin, and mine was the yellow (even though she's holding it) and her name was Ditty.

I still have mine, granted she's in a box in my basement, but I'll keep her forever. I just did a quick eBay search though, and now I'm second guessing my need to keep them because they are both worth over $150 apparently?!

Matching outfits were a requirement, one my mother claims was always us demanding it, but I sincerely doubt it.

Matching dresses 90sTanya Ruiter

I think we owned every matching floral dresses imaginable. It worked out for me, because as I grew out of mine, I could just get my sister's hand-me-downs.

Also, please note the opaque knit tights and the little buckled shoes. We called all of them "tap shoes" and I know we can't be the only ones.

We were the first grandkids in the family, so we were absolutely spoiled by our grandparents, aunts, and uncles.

stuffed animals 90s
Tanya Ruiter

Our toy collection was pretty outrageous. We did have a lot of garage sales though, so these collections got culled fairly regularly. At least as much as our greedy little kid-brains would allow.

I do vividly remember that weird Minnie doll though, why she was in a shiny silver dress is beyond me, but I remember thinking it was weird even when I was that age!

Neon was so important to the 90s look.

Neon dresses
Tanya Ruiter

Please note the matching bows in our hair too, and of course one of my prized possessions: My Pony Bride My Little Pony that I believe I got for my birthday one year.

Homemade sweaters from grandparents or, in our case, great grandparents.

90s Sweaters
Tanya Ruiter

That dinosaur sweater was literally my pride and joy. I remember wearing it all the time, and the day I grew out of it was the saddest day imaginable.

I was so jealous of my sister's though, because it was so over-sized that it honestly would still fit her today. What I would give to rock that dino sweater again now...

Snow days were a treat, especially when you had a big ol' snowsuit to wear.

90s snowsuits
Tanya Ruiter

You had to help make a big mountain in the yard so you could toboggan down, but it's best done while wearing a one piece snowsuit.

Tanya Ruiter

Bonus points if it was fluorescent.

Christmas dresses had to be on point, obviously.

Christmas 90s
Tanya Ruiter

Witness the glory of our floral 90s dresses please. My sister and I spent every Christmas Eve with our cousins, who were also around our ages. We all look fantastic. Look at all those layers involved in the collars, look at those puffy sleeves.

We were true fashion prodigies. Also, we had those iconic Beauty and the Beast mirrors that made noise when you pushed a button. Absolute perfection.

Having family nearby meant a lot of fun play dates.

90s kids
Tanya Ruiter

Face paints, overalls, and those little ruffled socks, could this photo be any more 90s?

Also, we were all obsessed with Batman, so every single time we hung out, we would cut out Batman masks and run around with sheets around our necks.

Batman kids 90s
Tanya Ruiter

I can't quite tell if I am wearing pajamas or if I owned a My Little Pony sweatshirt dress, but either way, it's great. Please note, this was not Halloween or anything, we wore costumes a lot.

When I said we did this a lot, I mean a lot. We wore costumes at every chance that we could.

Ninja Turtles Kids
Tanya Ruiter

This is once again not Halloween. We were just hanging around in our matching velvet sweatpants and Ninja Turtle sweatshirts and our mom painted our faces for us. Look at that excellent sword my sister has! We were so tough.

But on Halloween, we took it a different direction...

Halloween 90s
Tanya Ruiter

Those plastic masks were all the range in the 80s and 90s, and honestly the part that confuses me most, more than the fact that small children are being asked to run around in the dark without being able to see or breathe, is that you wear the face of the little mermaid that is on your plastic dress sheet...

Why would it not just look like a mermaid? Were we being mermaids, or were we being weirdos in creepy masks...

Cabbage Patch Dolls were better than ever though.

Cabbage Patch Dolls
Tanya Ruiter

I would apparently drag all my blankets into the living room so I could watch movies in comfort, but while I did, I would play with my new Crimp 'N Curl Cabbage Patch doll.

It makes sense that I brought blankets though, because my sister and I were always falling asleep. Especially on our fuzzy chairs.

Fuzzy 90s chair
Tanya Ruiter

Don't ask me how I slept like that, I honestly don't know. Maybe it explains why I have such a bad back now... I wasn't the only one though, my sister had her own chair to nap on.

90s fuzzy chair
Tanya Ruiter

Such a comfortable chair, they should make them for adults... I guess that would just be a regular chair, huh? Maybe more chairs should have big googley eyes on them.

Our mom once took us to the zoo and as you can see, she was the epitome of 90s.

90s zoo family
Tanya Ruiter

I think it's very important that I inform you that this was after my father attempted to give her a haircut. As you can see, it did not go well. Mom's short bangs-mullet combo may not have lasted long, but it taught us an important lesson: Never let dad cut hair.

As we got older, we still attempted to stay with trends for a bit, I mean look at this stylish jean bucket hat/dress combo.

Bucket har 90s
Tanya Ruiter

That denim dress and hat came as a set, and I thought it was just the absolutely coolest, most fashionable thing.

As I got older, I was allowed to pick out my own clothes though. Cut to a whole lot of backwards hats and over-sized t-shirts.

90s backwards hat
Tanya Ruiter

Want to know what the hat had on the front? It said "Lawn Mower Rodeo Champ 1997" and it was from an event my dad organized at our local fair. It was my favorite hat and I wore it almost everyday for a year.

Growing up with a sister was always a little rough. You don't always get along, but at least now we can look back and commiserate over all the ridiculous outfits and photoshoots we were forced into. Including this one:

90s overalls
Tanya Ruiter

We had to wear matching overalls and go to a fancy park so our mom could take our pictures. Why? There was literally no reason, she just wanted to and we had no choice. However, it granted us this picture, which I think you can agree is pretty hilarious.

Anyways, the 90s were pretty awesome if I do say so myself. Although the scene behind the camera was often pretty intimidating.

90s cameras
Tanya Ruiter

The level of photographic evidence of my childhood is pretty outstanding, but at least I can share it all with you!

Do you have a lot of pictures of your childhood? Do any of these experiences seem familiar?