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10 More Throwback Closet Staples We All Miss


2005 fashion
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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

tattoo chokers
Product Info

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

Wrist sweatbands
Product Info: 1, 2, 3

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

Roxy ad
Ad Material | Quiksilver

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

tiny coach purse
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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

Hco polos
Product Info

There were three things that I took very, very seriously in high school:

  1. Getting the newest Gossip Girl and A-List books the day they came out
  2. Attending varsity basketball games early enough to get a seat close to the bench
  3. 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

Cr leopard
Product Info

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.

17. Sketchers

Photo Credit

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

Product Info

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

Scrunch shirt
Product Info

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

Peasant blouse
Product Info

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!

Posted on on June 27, 2013 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , , , ,

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43 Responses to “10 More Throwback Closet Staples We All Miss”

  1. 1
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Oh, I hear you on Skechers. I actually kind of liked the heft, and mine seemed to last a pretty long time.

    You mentioned capris, but what about gaucho pants? I had a soft denim pair…so comfy…

  2. 2
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Haha, when I read the last post I immediately thought of those tattoo chokers! Gosh, I even had a rainbow one ’cause those were so cool.

  3. 3
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    YES! I definitely wore all of these at one point, except for the wristbands. Man, I thought I looked cool.

  4. 4
    June 27th, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    your parents wouldn’t let you wear a tie? jeez.

  5. 5
    June 27th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Capri pants are no longer in style? What? I still wear them in the summer, they are wonderful for those not-too-hot, not-too-cold days. And a nice pair is fantastic to wear in summer in a casual office.

  6. 6
    June 27th, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Ok, I just bought a pair of capri pants from Nordstrom and I still buy tacky (CUTE!!!) underwear. Now I feel like a total dork!

    Also, those neck chokers ITCHED like a mofo.

  7. 7
    June 27th, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    I love that peasant top! It looks like Free People, which is my favourite brand! Boho chic for the win. :)

  8. 8
    June 27th, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Haha, yes I’ve had all of these in my closet in the past! I used to think the chokers were the coolest thing ever because my friends mom wouldn’t let her wear one.

  9. 9
    June 27th, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Ok I admit I did beg my mom to buy me a a couple of polos from aeropostal. Looking back on it I thought it would allow me to fit in and now I love standing out. Great post. Keep em coming.

  10. 10
    June 27th, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    I agree with Holly and Carrie, capris aren’t really a throwback because they are still worn by lots of people and even essential for office wear in the warmer months! Bermuda shorts too, depending on the field. So I don’t think anyone should be made to feel a dork about those!

  11. 11
    June 27th, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    TOO FUNNY! Sketchers….the surfer girl phase. Totally me! :) My mom wouldn’t let me wear thongs either, and guess where the first store I got one from was…my mom being with me? Charlotte Russe. Just couldn’t pass up that deal, could we? Oh man, this is an awesome post! Love this. And ahem, some people did not get chokers from the arcade. My friends and I MADE them. Yes, we made them. Out of what? Old nylons. Please laugh as much as you want (: TOO FUNNY!!!

  12. 12
    June 27th, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    I had the wristbands and sketchers…………….. :-/

  13. 13
    June 27th, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    These are all way too accurate. Especially the tiny purses filled with Juicy Tube lipglosses and a Razr cellphone (in pink of course). But I also think one of the biggest trends which is still kinda alive in middle school hallways everywhere is the LL Bean Backpack. Also those like layered cotton skirts that you got at the BP at Nordstrom. And maybe lastly a pair of either Kangaroo “sneakers” (equipped with a zipper on the side for… who knows) or some Floatie flip flops. But maybe that was just my exquisite taste in footwear.

  14. 14
    June 27th, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    hahaha this is great! I still wear polos sometimes….and I think if you find a flattering fit, capri’s can be really cute! oh gosh those chokers…. bad memories. itchy and I always felt like mine was going to snap (irrational;? yes). I love these posts!!!! bring me back. hilarious

  15. 15
    June 27th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    This is so funny! Ain’t nothing wrong with those undies, though. Cotton is better, yeah, but Victoria’s Secret? no! they use slave labor!

  16. 16
    June 27th, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    OMG the tattoo choker!! Had a million of them in every different color. I’ve seen people wearing them even today and now I think they are horrid!

    Thanks for sharing, brought back so many memories. x

  17. 17
    June 27th, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    Not to mention etnies (my mom bought me a pair of boys’ ones; I almost died when my friend pointed that out to my whole sixth grade class in Library Skills), crunchy ‘scrunched’ hair, poofs (I was sooo jealous of my best friend’s Bumpit), leggings with lace at the bottoms UNDER denim skirts, those shoes with wheels in them and the very short, very bizarre skirt over bootcut jeans trend that Hannah Montana rocked in her first few seasons.

  18. 18
    June 27th, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I still adore the peasant tops.

  19. 19
    June 27th, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    I wore capris today to the office – seeing as we’re not allowed shorts, capris are the only hot weather option other than skirts. I think a nice pair of tan or black capris is still a staple in most working women’s wardrobes, and I have a jean pair that I wore frequently throughout university.

    Also, I still only use small purses that fit under my arm, as does my 50-something mother. I can’t stand the huge satchels that are “in style” right now, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to say something mean to the next person who whacks me in the side with one. I don’t know why women need the huge bags – I can fit my wallet, phone, keys, sunglasses, a container of assorted medications, work ID card, touch-up kit, pens, personal hygiene kit, bus pass, and a small notebook in my 10″W/6″H/4″D purse and still have space for a small bottle of water if I want it.

  20. 20
    June 27th, 2013 at 6:59 pm

    The baggy skater jeans.
    Had several of those and I thought I was sooo cool going into gadzooks and buying my hurley colorful sneakers.

  21. 21
    June 27th, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Colorful polos are a classic! I remember the peasant tops; there was a time that a lot of girls in my high school and even some of my teachers wore one.

  22. 22
    June 27th, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Oh goodness. All of these remind me of middle school. Like you, #19 the puckered shirts have to be what I regret most. I actually had a few. Shame on me.

  23. 23
    June 27th, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Basically this was my life. Those horrible, horrible stretchy ombre shirts!! Yeeechhh, what was I thinking?! And I loved peasant tops.

  24. 24
    June 27th, 2013 at 10:53 pm

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! This is so on point. I may be a bit too embarrassed to confess which ones I was suckered into. Thanks for the ultimate #tbt! :)

  25. 25
    June 28th, 2013 at 1:45 am

    I agree with Rebekha , as soon as I saw the last post I immediately thought of those chokers ! I think capris are great but I only stopped wearing them because I realized that they didn’t look great on a short (and not so skinny) gal like myself , but they are great for not-so-hot / not-so-cold weather , but I do now wear them in the form of yoga-pant-material. Sketchers ! Yes ! They did nothing for actual athletics lol ! I agree with everything in this post, it bring back memories !

  26. 26
    June 28th, 2013 at 2:51 am

    Gimp! And anything aero. Also how about anything made by MUDD. Little hair clips. Next u should do one on what we wore in elementary school (jumpers, leggings with stirrups, overalls, turtlenecks)

  27. 27
    June 28th, 2013 at 2:54 am

    Shoes with wheels(have a hilarious story about them). and razor scooters and phones. O and the lg env and chocolate

  28. 28
    June 28th, 2013 at 11:07 am

    haha, I love these posts!!! so awesome and I owned at least half of these things a well :D

  29. 29
    June 28th, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    haha I loved the Hilary Duff shout-out at the end

  30. 30
    June 28th, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    You can see Tiny Purses, Tacky Underwear, Sketchers and Capri Pants everyday in my country. Damn it, Roxy, Colorful Polos and Peasant Tops are even FASHIONABLE here.

  31. 31
    June 28th, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    You can see Tiny Purses, Tacky Underwear, Sketchers and Capri Pants everyday on 30-SOMETHINGS in my country. Damn it, Roxy, Colorful Polos and Peasant Tops are even FASHIONABLE here.

  32. 32
    June 28th, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    I never even thought about the reasoning behind tiny purses! Very clever, parents.
    And oh boy, those tattoo chokers. I only had a bracelet one because I quickly realized that I can’t stand the feeling of anything too tight around my neck. (Boo, turtlenecks!) Remember gaucho pants and the sequined boleros?
    P.S. Yay Hilary Duff! Poor Amanda Bynes…until the last few years, she was doing so well!

  33. 33
    June 29th, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    Tattoo chokers: check (I had the studded ones as well, oh dear!). Sweatbands: check. Surfer chic: check. Chunky trainers: check (although mine weren’t Sketchers – I think I stole them from my big sister). I was so uncool!

  34. 34
    June 29th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    It’s Lululemon not Lulumon.

    But great article :)

  35. 35
    July 6th, 2013 at 12:20 am

    I’m still in denial about capri pants going out of style. HAHAHA. I used to always fold my pants up to create them.

  36. 36
    July 13th, 2013 at 7:34 am

    These posts are amazing!! But what about platform shoes?? I know I wasn’t the only one who dressed like Baby Spice haha.

    Reading these comments made me remember other things and also miss my childhood!
    wristbands, chokers, MUDD clothing, ETNIES!! I wasn’t able to take part of most of the trends because we didn’t have much money but I don’t really feel too jealous lol

  37. 37
    July 13th, 2013 at 11:14 am

    I tried the chokers once and hated the experience. I liked seeing other people in them though.
    I miss those polos!
    My mom went crazy with Sketcher’s. I had at least 3 or 4 pair, even though I wasn’t a big tennis shoes fan [I’m still not a tennis shoes fan].

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