Last week, we brought you a list of the top 10 Throwback Closet Staples from middle school and high school that we all secretly miss just a little. There’s something so fun about thinking back a few years and reminiscing about both happy memories and the cringe-worthy ones. Oh, my teen years – so awkward, yet so awesome!
Thanks to the amazing response we received on our first post on the subject, this week, we’re bringing you 10 MORE throwback closet staples suggested by last week’s reader comments! Grab a pack of Gushers and a Capri Sun, pause TRL, and let’s jump right in:
11. Tattoo Chokers
Does anyone else remember buying stretchy chokers with the tickets they earned at the arcade? At arcades (or you know, movie theaters with large lobbies) I was always partial to playing Skee Ball. Unlike regular video games, they were easy to figure out, and unlike the game where you slam gophers in the head with a puffy bat, you didn’t look completely ridiculous playing it. Plus, hello – the ticket payout dividend was always substantial, comparative to the number of coins required to play. Who knew that at the age of 13 I’d already be thinking like an economics major?
Stretchy tattoo jewelry came in black and rainbow designs, beaded or plain, for both your neck and for your arm. Of course, I was 4’8″ until ninth grade, so the chic ones that were made to go around your wrist only fit my ankles. Stupid #latebloomer problems!
Now, I’m not going to say that this was the most awful accessory I’ve ever owned. (Just a few years ago in my freshman year of college, I did once wear a plastic baby barrette in my hair.) But why we were all so obsessed with stretchy necklaces that resembled tacky drawn-on tattoos is completely beyond me.
12. Wrist Sweatbands
Confession: in 8th grade, I went through a bit of a punk-rock phase. Avril Lavigne had just been introduced to the world, I adored watching Sum 41 and Simple Plan on TRL, and the only boys who paid attention to me all wore those weird pants with straps criss-crossing loosely along the back of them. (Sidenote: how is it that I never saw any awesome accidents resulting from carelessly wearing those?)
I experimented with black eyeliner. I used “pieces of flair” I bought at Hot Topic to cover up the Abercrombie logo on my jean jacket. I begged my mom for a pair of chunky skateboard shoes and could never really remember the difference between The Hives, The Vines, or The Strokes. I knew that people would see my studded belt and black fingernails, and automatically assume I was a badass.
My parent’s wouldn’t let me wear a tie to school (à la Avril Lavigne), so instead I completed my look with a sweatband on both of my wrists. I had one pink Hello Kitty design, and the other was blue and white striped. Now, I have no idea what I did that could possibly work up enough physical exertion to require a sweatband, but nonetheless I was more than prepared for the occasion.
Oh yeah, I decorated said wristbands with a couple of extra-large safety pins. I was hxc.
13. Surfer Chic Attire
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After 8th grade, I wasn’t nearly as angsty and soon decided that if I wanted to get a boyfriend I could take home to my parents, I had better start dressing like a girl you could take home to your parents. Not wanting to totally give up my non-mainstream style, I settled in on punk’s sweet and friendly cousin – surfer chick chic.
Now, I grew up in Oklahoma. I was completely landlocked, but you would have no idea by the way I dressed. I owned slip-on Vans and board shorts. I though lounging on piers in your swimsuit while snacking on popsicles and checking out a bleach-blonde guy’s surfboard was a completely normal activity. My new wardrobe was pretty convenient, because it gave me an awesome excuse to proudly rock distressed (#1) denim flared jeans from a “preppy” store with (#12) wrist sweatbands acquired at Hot Topic.
I worked at PacSun the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school, but rarely took home an actual paycheck on account of taking such advantage of my employee discount. Puka shell necklaces? Check. I also unsuccessfully tried to salt spray scrunch and Sun-In my hair on multiple occasions. This is pretty embarrassing too, but my very first AIM screenname was some derivative of the phrase “FoxyRoxy.”
Whether you preferred Roxy or Hurley, Hollister or Paul Frank, you know you were just drawn to the bright colors and breezy feel of surf-style clothes at some point in your teen years.
14. Tiny Purses
In high school, I didn’t even realize that this was a fashion trend. I just thought all purses were teensy and made to wear over your shoulder, right under your armpit. Now, I realize that these purses became popular because they were the most inexpensive model that designers offered, therefore the only ones your parents were willing to pay for.
Nowadays, my wallet is so big that it won’t even fit into any of my night clutches. I have a gigantic purse now, and it still barely contains everything I need on a daily basis. How did I possibly survive with such a minuscule purse? I mean, iPhones weren’t even invented yet, so you had to somehow fit a digital camera in there too! Plus a brick-like cell phone…keys with several large keychains attached…and a full make up case (you know, just in case of emergency). Craziness.
15. Colorful Polos
There were three things that I took very, very seriously in high school:
- Getting the newest Gossip Girl and A-List books the day they came out
- Attending varsity basketball games early enough to get a seat close to the bench
- Making sure I had a polo representing every single color of the rainbow
Perhaps it was my obsession with Gossip Girl that made me so interested in obtaining a polo shirt from either Ralph Lauren and Lacoste. Sure, I had your run-of-the-mill American Eagle and Abercrombie brands, but to me, that tiny little embroidery was more like a mighty badge of honor. I remember going to Saks 5th Avenue after school, praying that an Easter egg-colored polo in my size would end up on the sales rack. Sadly, my prayers went unanswered.
In college, I feel like most girls either LOVE polos – frequently accessorized with pearls and red lipstick – or completely hate them. I was in the latter camp – I guess my Lacoste lust in high school wore me out!
16. Tacky Underwear
This is awkward, I know…but my mom refused to buy me thongs growing up (this was right at the peak of the thong trend – thanks Sisqo!), so I used to buy the 10 for $25 thongs from Charlotte Russe, stash them under my bed, and hand wash them in my sink. No one but me and the girls in my gym class knew I had them, but I felt so cool just knowing I had them on. Man, I was freakin’ rebellious back then.
It didn’t stop at thongs, though – if it was lacy, neon, sequined, or made from polyester and could be called underwear, I was in. Same story when it came to bras and camisoles.
Nowadays, you couldn’t pay me to wear anything besides cotton down there. Thongs, though sometimes necessary, in my heart of hearts have never, ever been something that I’ve enjoyed wearing. The only tub full of underwear you’ll ever see me dig through now is the bikini-cut pile at Victoria’s Secret PINK’s semi-annual sale.
Before TOMS and Sperrys were all the rage, I was wild and crazy about my Sketchers.
Sure, they were too clunky to actually run or do anything athletic in. I mean, just look at them – they look more like rubber hiking boots than they do running shoes. This was especially true when it came to the slip-on athletic and canvas styles. Slip-on tennis shoes? Those were little more than comfortable fashion statements. But, a fashion statement they were. Most people had the standard baby blue pair, but I bought mine while on a family trip to Dallas, so my Sketchers were pink and navy. And let me tell you, I cherished the heck out of those puppies.
Somehow in 8th grade gym class, I got away with wearing my slip-on sneakers every day. It was middle school gym class, so we pretty much stuck to playing kickball or watching the boys play touch football. One fateful day though, I left gym class, stashed my shoes safely in my trusty Gap drawstring backpack, and promptly left them laying on my lunch table on my way to choir class. To this day, I’m still a little heartbroken over it – and well, I think my mom is still ticked.
18. Capri Pants
For those days when it was too unbearably hot for pants but too frigid inside of your classroom, you had one awesome alternative to turn to…the capri pant.
These came in an assortment of styles, most classically a skinny denim pair, or a loose-cut khaki cargo pair. (P.S., just typing that sentence made me cringe!) Another awesome option – you know, just in case you wanted to be fancy – was the flowing, bell-shaped Palazzo style, best worn with a pair of heels and a wooly turtleneck sweater. Wait, that was just me? Dangit!
We also shouldn’t forget about the capri’s not-so-distant relative, Bermuda shorts. If your school had an iron-clad shorts inseam policy, you probably loved them as much as I did. Marissa Cooper made plaid Bermuda shorts look so breezy and (#13) Surfer Girl Chic when she paired them with a (#15) polo and a sporty pair of slip-on Vans.
In college, you still see tons of capri pants – but of course, only in the form of Lulumon yoga tights. I can’t say this trend is one that I really miss. I had huge calves when I was young from ballet, and rather than being proud of my strong legs, I was weirdly ashamed of my presumed “cankles.” Yeah, I was an odd kid.
19. Puckered Shirts
There’s no cutesy way of framing this one. I have no funny anecdotes connected to it. When I think back and remember puckered shirts from Limited Too, all I wonder is why the heck my mother let me buy one!
Of all the fashion faux pas from my past, this is the one I’ll look back on with the most awkward sense of shame and regret. Its odd, shapeless construction was hardly flattering, and seemed to only highlight the fact that I didn’t start puberty until I was 15. The ombre design (before ombre was cool) looked like a bad tie-dying job. Plus, people would constantly come up to you and want to rub your sleeves or pull at your collar. There is literally nothing redeeming about these shirts that I can think of.
This, my friends, just might be the silliest thing our generation brought to the masses.
20. Peasant Tops
Around the time we were in middle school and early high school, ’60s and ’70s fashion had a bit of a Renaissance. Bell-bottoms were everywhere, platform shoes were super hot, and any shirt with puffy sleeves and made from gauze-like material became the coolest thing on the block since Even Stevens.
Speaking of the Disney Channel, it was none other than Hillary Duff herself rocking peasant tops on Lizzie McGuire that made me beg my parents to take me to Old Navy to snag one for myself. She always wore them with a perfect pair of foamy platform sandals, a (#11) tattoo choker, a knee-length skirt, and her bangs pulled out of her face in a perfect single braid along the side of her face. Kudos to the Duffster – out of all of my childhood icons, it kind of seems like she was the only one to grow into a mature, functioning adult without getting into too much trouble along the way. Plus, her husband and baby are completely adorable. What a class act!
So, they might be a little too flower-child-esque to pull off at the moment, but I’ll give credit where credit is due. These shirts could be pretty flattering if you had the right style! The looked awesome with a (#18) pair of capri pants, and helped give off a cool, Californian (#13) surfer girl vibe.
What Do You Think?
Did we cover your favorite high school throwback this time? What else did we leave off? Did you own a pair of Sketchers, or a puckered stretchy shirt? Did they make you change clothes before gym class too? What was your favorite memory of high school or middle school? What was your worst memory? Did your mom forbid you from wearing thongs also? Add the the conversation by leaving a comment and telling us about your favorite (or worst) fashion moment from your past!