Pop Culture | Life | 90s

The '90s Are Making A Comeback, But These Things Can Stay In The Past

For the past few years, everything '90s has been becoming cool again. So many things that we loved and thought were gone forever have been making a comeback. Most of our favorite drinks, snacks, shows, movies, and fashions from when we were kids are finally getting introduced to a new generation.

'90s kids reacting to all the awesome things getting brought back.NBC

But for all of its greatness, not everything in the '90s was totally awesome. There were some things that we all did that, honestly, should probably just stay in the '90s. We might have loved them once, but that doesn't mean we want to see them ever again.



There were plenty of terrible hair choices we all made in the '90s (and yes, there are more than just one on this list), but none of them can really hold a candle to the "Rattail."

I hate literally everything about this.Hairstyle Camp

Rattails are what happen when you want the fashion statement of a mullet, but instead of "party in the back" it's more "sad small gathering in the back." It's not a good look for anyone, so let's just go back to pretending we never thought it was a good idea.

Laugh tracks

Please, God, no.NBC

While laugh tracks weren't invented in the '90s, it was really the last decade to use them consistently. I guess after decades of being told when to laugh, we had finally learned how to laugh for ourselves.

We've finally learned how to have a sense of humor again.Citizen Sociolinguistics

Now hearing that sound of canned laughter while watching TV gives us the same feeling as nails on a chalk board. Laugh tracks have become more and more rare in recent years so hopefully soon we'll live in a world where the only time we hear one is in our nightmares.

Inflatable furniture

Not featured: the horrific squeaky fart sounds that would happen every time you moved.Buzzfeed

Inflatable furniture was the ultimate accessory for any '90s bedroom. Seriously, who didn't dream about sitting in their inflatable chair and chatting with their friends on a clear phone by the oozy glow of a lava lamp?

What could be more comfortable than a wrinkly bag of air?The Mind Circle

The reality was not at all how we imagined. Inflatable furniture, as it turns out, is a terrible idea. It was always losing air, they would make truly awful fart sounds if you shifted at all, and if you made the mistake of wearing shorts while sitting in one you would almost immediately become temporarily fused to it. Just getting a regular bean bag chair is a much better option.

Tear-away pants

Truly the height of athletic fashion.Pinterest

It's easy to see why these would become popular. If you were sporty, it was so handy to be able to go from "warm up outfit" to "ready to play" without having to fight with pulling your track pants over your shoes. And if you weren't sporty, those little snaps made being lazy so much easier since you could just whip your pants off whenever you pleased.

Such class, such grace.coolthings.com

But now we know better. Not only do you look like a pervy lunatic when you rip your pants off, but tear-away pants also made it 3000% easier for other people to pants you. Just keep your pants on like a normal person.

Bowl cuts

And to think, we all had a crush on him at some point.Super Pop Magazine

While not nearly as eye-gougingly awful as a mullet or a rattail, the bowl cut is definitely an example of a hair cut that looks flattering on absolutely no one.

"It looks even better with a center part," said no one ever. Buzzfeed

Almost every '90s kid was subjected to this monstrosity at one point in their childhood. While we're all terrified of the day that those photos of us get discovered, we can at least rest easy knowing that literally everyone else from our generation also has equally awful bowl cut photos somewhere out there.

Puka shell necklaces

Oh lord, not these things again.Amazon

Both guys and girls loved wearing Puka shell necklaces back in the day. What better way to show the world how cool you were? With one of these around your neck it was obvious to everyone that you were just a super laid back person, who probably just returned from surfing some sick waves at the beach.

Is this really something we'd like to go back to?DeMarge

Truth is, these looked stupid on pretty much everyone. We should really just leave the "surfer vibe" to people who actually surf.

Shell suits

I...don't even know what to say...Blue 17

While these were technically a gift from the '80s, we all had at least one pair of super stylish, matching windbreaker and pants. The brighter and crazier the pattern, the better.

It really didn't.Throwbacks Facebook

While wind was apparently a big problem in the '90s, the only reason to be rocking a shell suit now is if you're headed to a '90s costume party. Because while the shell suit fabric might feel awful, it's at least a comfy outfit.


Everyone in the '90s, apparently.New Line Cinema

While it wasn't quite as hardcore as the '80s, smoking the '90s was considered both completely normal, and totally acceptable. Everyone smoked pretty much everywhere, and while we knew it was dangerous we were too cool to worry about something like dying of lung cancer.

Not even the kids were worried about it.New Line Cinema

Luckily times have changed and no one really thinks smoking is cool anymore. Let's keep it that way.

JNCO jeans

God forbid anyone ever see our shoes.JNCO

For a while in the '90s, the wider your pants, the cooler you were. We didn't care that it made our legs look wider than they were tall, we were cool, dammit!

No way we could have foreseen this problem Imgur

Turns out wearing comically large pants can cause all sorts of issues. Like gross frayed hems from where they drag on the ground, or how it became impossible to walk as soon as it rained for more than 5 seconds. As bad as today's absurdly tight skinny jeans are, JNCOs were so much worse.

Dial-up internet

Ah, the good old days.Giphy

In the early days of the Internet, we were just so excited at the possibility of the world wide web that we weren't too bothered by how slow it was, or how we had to log off if anyone needed the phone.

How did we ever survive such hardship?Imgur

Luckily, technology has changed a lot since then, so we'll never have to hear that ungodly screech that would happen while you were connecting.

Try not to screech yourself when you see what else is on this list...

HyperColor clothing

Instant tie-dye for sweaty peopleSmithsonian Magazine

We all thought the idea of a shirt that changed color when you touched it was the coolest thing since sliced bread. It was like a mood ring, but as a shirt!


Unfortunately that not only encouraged people to basically manhandle you, but the second you began to sweat at all anyone with eyes is going to know about it.

The word "phat"


There was all sorts of weird and crazy slang in the '90s, lots of it we wish we could still get away with using. One word we're happy to be rid of is "phat." Depending on who you ask, it either means something cool or "Pretty Hot And Thick/Tempting." But really there's no way you can say it out loud and not sound like an idiot.

What you sound like calling anyone, or anything "phat."NBC

If there's one '90s slang word that's definitely not all that and a bag of chips, it's "phat."

Flame shirts

Anyone wearing this is obviously The Coolest.The Hunt

Patterned button up shirts were all the rage in the '90s, but there was one pattern that was a must-have for anyone who felt like they were too cool for school: Flames.

You could even have shoes to match your outfit.Pinterest

However, the old "flames on black" thing haven't really aged well over all these years, so unless you're Guy Fieri, maybe just don't.


But where are the slammers?Children of the Nineties

Pogs were one of the many massive fads that we all became obsessed with during the '90s. The story of how they came to be is pretty wild, but it led to all of us collecting them obsessively, then forgetting them entirely within a few years.

No matter what you were into, there was a Pog for that.Giphy

But when it's all said and done, pogs were actually pretty useless. Most of us either didn't know how or couldn't be bothered with playing the game, so they were little more than cardboard disks taking up space in our childhood bedrooms.

Mom jeans

So stylish.NBC

We didn't call them "mom jeans" back then, and they weren't just worn by moms, pretty much everyone was rocking the high-waisted jeans in the '90s.

Even the hot people wore them.Fox

For some reason, people have been trying really, really hard to bring back high-waisted jeans. I guess having no butt and looking like you're wearing a diaper is cool again. Sir Mix-A-Lot would be very disappointed.


The go-to love song for angsty teen boysRockfield Studios

Ah, yes, the song that guys who think they can play guitar will always bust out at parties to try and impress girls by showing them how "deep" and "sensitive" they are.

We all know that's the only song you can play, "Matt," you're not impressing anyone.Know Your Meme

Even if you actually liked this song (which I did), it's become enough of a joke that it's hard to listen to it without wanting to roll your eyes so hard they fall out. Anyway, here's "Wonderwall."

Pacifier jewelry

We all had one, don't even pretend you didn't.Beau-Coup

If you were a girl growing up in the '90s, you 100% had at least one of these (but probably more). They started appearing in the rave scene, supposedly to keep you from chewing your tongue while you were on drugs, but their popularity quickly spread to the mainstream.

The '90s, ladies and gentlemen...L.A. Weekly

Let's be real, using anything meant for babies as fashion accessories is more than a little weird. Unless you're actually still a baby, it's probably time to grow up.

AOL discs

Artifacts of the dark agesWikipedia

Remember the first time you got one of these CDs in the mail? It was actually kind of exciting, because who wouldn't want some free access to the internet? At a time when a lot of people thought the internet was just another fad, having AOL's discs just show up in your mail was actually a pretty clever marketing idea to get people to sign up.

You've got mail, indeedWarner Bros.

But the novelty wore off pretty quickly, and soon it started to feel like there was another disc arriving every single day. While they're apparently pretty valuable now, considering CDs themselves are almost obsolete, it's better to leave these in the past.

Frosted tips

No. Just, no.Pizza Bottle

This is possibly one of the more controversial things on this list, probably because they weren't always terrible. But when they were bad, they were truly awful.

Suddenly I have an intense craving for ramen....no idea why.RCA Records

The '90s can keep its weird ramen hair, because we don't want it back.

Convertible pants

My eyes! They burn!redbook

They seemed like such a great idea. You would always be ready for whatever weather got thrown your way. Too hot? Just unzip them into shorts. Too cold? Just zip the legs back on. So practical!

There's no way to look cool while unzipping your pant leg.eBay

Truth is, as convenient as these pants may have been, they always looked ridiculous. What were you supposed to do with the "legs" once they were off? Stuff them in your pocket? While we didn't have weather apps in the '90s, we do now, so just check the weather forecast and dress appropriately. You'll be a lot more comfortable and you won't look like an idiot.

Make sure to zip your pants back on, then.Warner Bros.

While not all of these things would now be considered socially unacceptable, that doesn't mean we need to bring them back. Let them stay in the last millennium where they belong.