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10 Throwback Closet Staples I Secretly Miss


High school students
Photo Credit

Close your eyes and remember a time before Twitter, when The O.C. was on the air, and when you thought all college dorms resembled Elle Woods’ sorority house. You might have had a Xanga blog or a Myspace page, and you definitely had an AIM screen name.

Let’s go back to the 2000s, and those nostalgic years of middle school and high school.

Like everyone else’s teenage years, my sweet triumphs were peppered with plenty of awkward and silly moments. There was the time that my date asked me to homecoming by having the waiter slip a message in a fortune cookie. I was stoked for two weeks, until that same date dumped me the day before the dance. Senior year, my English teacher was less than enthused about a school-wide book project my entire class was required to participate in. I forgot about it until the day it was due, so I spent my lunch hour quickly writing a poem to turn in – and later won $1,500 in that very contest. And I never scored or placed in any of my cross country races – but dang, the initiation sleepover was always a freakin’ blast.

However, one of my favorite things about taking this trip down memory lane is, of course, the fashion.

Whether you just finished high school or you graduated several years ago, we can all relate to cringe-worthy wardrobe moments of our past. Below, I’ve listed ten items you were sure to have in your closet, and a few reasons why I loved them.

After you finish reading, be sure to leave us a comment and tell us what closet staples you miss from your high school years as well.

1. Distressed Flared Jeans

Distressed flared jeans
From the left: 1, 2, 3

Before there were skinny jeans, before it was socially acceptable (and chic) to rock baggy, cuffed boyfriend jeans with a sassy pair of heels, man made flared jeans, and the world was happy. Plus, Kristin and LC on Laguna Beach wore them, which pretty much made them the coolest things ever.

Not just any old pair of flared jeans made the cut, though. The perfect pair of high school jeans included strategic fading, manufactured (therefore, uniform and regulated) scuffs and distressed patches, and – of course – the signature back pocket embroidery, boldly announcing to the world exactly which brand your snazzy pants originated from. Back then, I personally had a penchant for American Eagle jeans, and, well, I still sort of do.

Of course, these bad boys came with a price. The number of detentions I was assigned as a result of wearing “holey” denim is completely astounding and borderline comical. Ladies, let’s have an honest chat: growing up, my curfew was 11:45 sharp and my favorite extra curricular activity was show choir. I drank half of a beer freshman year of high school, and felt so guilty about it that I tattled on myself the very next day.

Yes, being a badass wasn’t my forte, so instead of doing anything actually crazy (like skipping school or sneaking out), I rebelled in much more subtle ways – you know, like wearing ripped jeans to school, playing the snake game on my Nokia during class, and being tardy for an average of one class per day. You know you’re doing something awesomely wrong (or terribly right!) when you set the school’s record number of misdemeanor detentions accumulated within one semester.

2. Birkenstock Boston Slip-ons

Product Info

About the same time that the first Now! CD was released, there was one other thing I was in hot pursuit of – a soft suede pair of slip-on Birkenstocks. They peeked out perfectly from under a (#1) pair of distressed flared jeans, and all of the coolest girls in middle school wore them with bright, patterned toe socks.

Of course, my parents weren’t exactly on board with getting me a pair of name-brand shoes which were sure to be ruined the first time I wore them on a rainy day or across a muddy patch of grass. Instead, I got the off-brand version, which my dad deemed “the Fakenstocks.”

Nowadays, I think I’d rather go barefoot than be seen in a pair of  flat slip-on clogs whose body design was surely the inspiration for Crocs. But still, for a glimmering two years in middle school, my Fakenstocks traveled with me to eighth grade football games, All American Rejects concerts, laser tag games, and countless group hangouts at the local movie theater. Rest in peace, my dearly beloved mud-colored and clunky old friends.

3. North Face Fanny Packs

North face fanny pack
Product Info

This happened well into the ’00s, not in ’93. Every single outdoor specialty shop in 2004 was suddenly inundated with young teen girls clamoring for a North Face…wait for it…fanny pack!

Of course, these fanny packs were not your mother’s fanny packs. Rather than being worn around the waist tourist-style, these puppies were made to be worn across your shoulders (like a bow and arrow quill) and made to function like a purse.

The anthropological side of your brain might find itself wondering, “What did a 15-year old in the mid ‘aughts’ carry in her purse?” Well, I’ll tell you – mine contained a tube of roll-on glitter (perfect for one’s eyelids), that fancy mascara that came with white primer on one end, bronzer, and an extra bra strap choker, just in case the one I was wearing mysteriously snapped. Sometimes, I’d throw in a Dr Pepper-flavored Lip Smacker for good measure.

I blame my current obsession with cross-body bags on my North Face fanny pack. Whether you’re at a punk rock concert or doing the cha-cha slide on the dance floor, there’s still something so freeing about having full range use of both of your arms.

4. Graphic Tees

Graphic tees
Clockwise from the top left: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

If someone were to study my closet circa 2006, they would probably assume that I went to a lot of classic rock concerts and worked at a surf shop in Marina del Rey. As we all know, I actually just spent a lot – and I mean a lot – of my allowance money in the t-shirt sections at Urban Outfitters, Delia’s, Paul Frank, and good ol’ mall staples like Hollister, Fossil, Hot Topic, and Abercrombie and Fitch.

I remember being about fourteen and getting into embarrassing, public pout-fests with my mom at Abercrombie because she never let me buy any of their tees emblazoned with (not-so) subtle sexual innuendos. Gee thanks, mom! How else was I supposed to let the eighth grade quarterback know that I wanted to him to ask me to the Snow Ball?  Obviously, stopping by his locker after lunch to talk about The Fast and the Furious while wearing an extra small t-shirt advertising the fictional “Pucker Up’s Lemonade Stand” was my plan A. It seemed like such an efficient method – I mean, if CosmoGIRL! magazine suggested it, it had to have some merit. If that failed, I’d try leaving a cryptic subtext on my AIM away message. One complete with Ashanti lyrics and a few oF ~*thEsE*~ tHinGieS would certainly win him over.

Fool-proof plan, you guys. This is why I had so many boyfriends in middle school.

These days, I still love t-shirts, but now instead of the super tight and wordy variety, I now prefer my tees loose cut and plain. Seriously. My American Apparel white v-neck collection is so vast, even Simon Cowell would be jealous. However, I’m not ashamed to admit that I sometimes whip out my lucky Good Charlotte t-shirt to sleep in. After all, it was the shirt I was wearing when the eighth grade quarterback told me my checkered Vans were “dope.” He SO had a secret crush on me.

5. Hoop Earrings

Hoop earrings
Product Info

Before I had my pearl studs, Michael Kors watch, or lucky Eye of Providence ring, I had my trusty pair of silver hoop earrings, and they’re present in approximately 85% of all portraits of me taken between 2002 and 2007.

Sure, I had a healthy assortment of flashy chandelier earrings from Charlotte Russe, but those always seemed to tangle in my hair or irritate my delicate ear lobes. I owned both shark tooth and puka shell necklaces, but those seemed to only work with pastel-colored Bermuda shorts. And yes, I was not a stranger to rubber bracelets or studded leather cuffs procured from Hot Topic, but there’s only so many days in a row that a girl can wear thick black eyeliner before it starts to take a physical toll.

But, my friends, the hoops were the perfect combination of sexy and cute. They worked with everything, from Roxy sundresses to (#1) distressed flared jeans and a (#4) graphic tee.

Remember the John Mayer song “83” when he wonders what happened to his lunchbox and why no one consulted him before throwing it in the trash? That kind of perfectly describes how I feel about hoop earrings. Suddenly and overnight, these things just fell off a sartorial cliff. CF girls, we’re the taste-makers of our respective campuses. Any way I can talk you guys into bringing these back?

6. Pullover Hoodies

Abercrombie hoodie
Product Info

My pullover hoodies pretty much vanished into oblivion the day I started college, along with Total Request Live, my youthful metabolism, and the fortitude required to wear two polos at the same time. But for a hot minute (or okay, the first eighteen years of my life), I rocked one of these at least once a week.

In college, I turned to yoga pants, North Face pullovers, and Nike Dunks for my lazy days. Before that, though, nothing said “I’m not trying too hard today” like a pullover hoodie, (#1) distressed flared jeans, and a full face of iridescent make-up. Up your cool points by scoring one from your brother or boyfriend – it was very Serena van der Woodsen-chic, but the book version of Serena, not Blake Lively.

Although zip-up hoodies survived the test of time, I haven’t seen much of anyone wear a pullover hoodie recently, unless you count Rob Pattinson in the most recent Twilight. (In his defense, sparkly vampires can pretty much pull off anything). The rest of us have cast our cozy, bulky friends aside in favor of fleece jackets and hipster-esque American Apparel zip-ups.

Don’t be too hasty throwing these babies away, though – just as denim vests and leggings have both made comebacks, I have a feeling that pullover hoodies and windbreakers are bound to make a mainstream appearance any season now.

7. Ugg Boots

Ugg boots
Photo Credit

Out of all of my high school staples, Ugg boots seem to be the only item on this list that made frequent cameos on my college campus. Actually, “cameo” isn’t a strong enough word. If my college life was a movie, Uggs would win a Razzie for Worst Supporting Role. But, I digress. This is a list about high school, and when it came to that period of my life, a standard issue pair of Uggs was better than Christmas, Homecoming, Valentine’s Day, and the last day of school combined!

In high school, I was the proud owner of three pairs of Uggs. I wore them both over and under my (#1) distressed flared jeans. I wore these from September to April. I even bought special spray from Saks that made them somewhat water-resistant. I had knee-length ones and a calf-length pair. I even had a hard leather pair, which proved to be extremely useful in the ice and snow.

Now, I’m definitely not a bonafide Ugg hater or anything. There are definitely worse footwear choices, like platform flip flops. There are a few occasions when Uggs are perfect, like a late-night study session in a creaky old library or if you happen to be surfing on a cold beach (you know, what Uggs were originally intended for).

The only time I’m against the Ugg movement is when they’re worn at a ridiculously inappropriate time. For instance, with a dress. Or with Nike shorts. Or in temperatures above 45 degrees. Worst of all, when they’re worn with the next thing on the list…

8. Denim Skirts

Denim mini skirt
Photo Credit

Senior year of high school, I begged my mom for months to buy me a Rock and Republic denim mini skirt. I told her that I would wear it for years, that it was an investment piece. Finally, as a graduation present, my mom bought me the most perfect dark-washed mini, complete with the signature “R” back pocket design and the perfect amount of fraying at the hem. Did I ever wear it again past that summer? Of course not. But in high school, it was at the top of my wish list.

I was a sophomore when my crush Seth, who was a really popular senior and a teacher’s aid in my drama class, told me that he thought it was adorable when girls wore denim skirts with (#7) Ugg boots. From that point on, it was over. I might not have had a designer denim skirt yet, but I rocked my Aeropostale one with Uggs to every single football game, pep rally, or even if I just happened to be within a 3-miles radius of his house. Sure, my feet felt like stuffy and clunky hot messes, but how could I risk bumping into him when I wasn’t dressed my best?

A few months later, he kissed me in the costume closet during after-school rehearsals for the school play, Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Later, I wrote on my Xanga page that it was the best day of my life.

Yeah, I guess I wasn’t one for subtlety back then.

9. Goody Cloth Headbands

Fabric headbands
Product Info

Maybe I liked the pretty color assortment. Perhaps it was because you could pick up a 5-pack for $3 at any Walmart or CVS. Probably it was because I ran cross country, and my oh-so-chic (yet oh-so annoying) cheekbone-length bangs were constantly slipping out of my ponytail and onto my face. Whatever the reason, I rarely left home without one of these suckers affixed to the crown of my head.

Nowadays, I’ve graduated to fancier hair accessories, like hippie hairbands, turbands, sock buns, and even the occasional tape-in hair extension. However, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to missing the good ol’ days of butterfly clips, teethed headbands, and ‘do rags. There’s just nothing in the world that feels quite like being immaculately accessorized, you know?

10. Velour Sweatsuits

Screen Capture | Sony BMG Music Entertainment 2001

You know you secretly sang Avril Lavigne’s “Things I’ll Never Say” at the top of your lungs in your bedroom into a hairbrush microphone. You know you teared up when you heard Bennifer broke up. And you know you rocked a velour sweatsuit with (#5) hoop earrings and (#7) Ugg boots on more than one occasion.

This particular trend took my little suburb by storm. Everyone from soccer moms to teeny boppers had a set! These sweatsuits, however, were not made for exercise. Trip to the mall? Yes. A study date? Sure. To meet grandma for brunch? No, my dad made me change into something less skin-tight. With a pair of (#5) hoop earrings? 100% absolutely. But for anything that required physical exertion? No sir, that’s what Soffe “CHEER” shorts and (#4) graphic tees were for.

Much like what happened with my designer (#8) denim skirt, by the time my mom caved and bought me a Juicy Couture tracksuit, I went off to college and this baby, along with my StuCo t-shirts and track spikes, vanished into the oblivion of my high school closet. Still, you can’t help but appreciate the novelty of this item. My Juicy suit is practically in mint condition – I know it’s going to come in handy one day for a “Jenny From The Block” Halloween costume, or even several years down the road as an authentic vintage ensemble!

Did you own these pieces? Or did we leave off one of your faves? Tell us about it!

I just shared my high school and middle school closet staples, but now I want to hear all about yours! What was your favorite outfit in HS? What was the most cringeworthy thing you loved as a teen? If you’re currently in high school, what are the big trends you’ve noticed? Did you have a North Face fanny pack, or a Juicy sweatsuit? What about a pair of Birkenstocks? Are you ready for flared and boot cut jeans to come back in style?

Leave us a comment and share some of your funny, awesome, or embarrassing fashion stories from your teenage years. We can’t wait to hear you spill!

Posted on on June 20, 2013 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , , ,

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78 Responses to “10 Throwback Closet Staples I Secretly Miss”

  1. 1
    June 20th, 2013 at 9:40 am

    Denim skirt, flared jeans, hairbands and hoops, oh! I miss these babies so very much. Fashion was functional and comfortable at that time.

  2. 2
    June 20th, 2013 at 9:40 am

    I personally remember the early 2000s as the worst era of fashion history ever! Definitely right about the CHEER shorts plastered on your bum, the whole OP/roxy/ripcurl surfer cool mania, those mini layered flippy skirts, boleros, mini under the arm handbags and CHOKERS (what were we thinking??)

    Just rewatched the first few seasons of the OC a couple of weeks ago (since they were the ultimate trendsetters back in the early 2000s) and it was honestly laughable at what they were wearing.

    I think most people are more than happy to burn off any trace of the fashion dark ages of the early 2000s from their memories, but thanks for the funny and slightly nostalgic article :)

  3. 3
    June 20th, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I kinda miss my fakenstocks too. They were velvet and loud and made me extra clumsy :/ I also miss my cargo shorts, plaid bermudas, and wrist warmers

  4. 4
    June 20th, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Surely you’re not stating that these items are considered taboo to wear anymore. I still rock pullover hoodies and uugs on cold evenings a denim mini when it’s super hot outside and graphics tees when I go to class.

  5. 5
    June 20th, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Everyone still rocks these things. It seems my school is stuck in the early 2000s (none of us can remember anything before 9/11. that’s how young we are) and haven’t yet discovered trends :)

  6. 6
    June 20th, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I can’t even. This is the BEST post in forever. Made me die laughing several times.

  7. 7
    June 20th, 2013 at 10:27 am

    This is such a fun piece. I remember wearing bright rainbow toe socks with flip-flops during the winter. I can’t believe my mother let me out of the house. And I had a pair of platform sneakers… Ahhh… It’s why I’ll never get into this current wedge sneaker trend; it’s just too familiar! Haha

  8. 8
    June 20th, 2013 at 10:54 am

    Died laughing – I totally rocked the fakenstocks. I was super-cool (in my mind) because I had them in tan, dark brown, and black. After all, unflattering and clunky shoes are THE measure of the popular and fashion-savvy girl.

    Needless to say, I would not consider it a horrible occurrence if all the photos that contained me in the middle school years were accidentally burned to ashes.

  9. 9
    June 20th, 2013 at 10:56 am

    Chelsea, this is hilarious! I loved reading your article. You cracked me up!

  10. 10
    June 20th, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I laughed so hard at this! It’s a great article! I miss my distressed flared jeans and the huge scrunchies.
    Platform sneakers (something i don’t want to revisit AGAIN), and as Monica said, CHOKERS. WHAT WAS I THINKING? I begged my mom to let me buy them whenever we were at the store – not just the basic black ones, but also the rainbow colored ones and the ones that had beads on them. I even bought matching bracelets!

  11. 11
    June 20th, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Great post. I love this.

    I wasn’t the most trendy person in high school (think home-made peasant skirts and t-shirts), I do remember this weird fad that took hold in the eighth grade where every girl who knew ANYTHING about fashion rolled up the cuff of their baggy sweatpants and paired it with t-shirts. Even I did that.

    There’s also the super-nostalgic coloured-skinnies-and-fake-Converse-trend that everyone followed.

    And STILL have Goody cloth headbands, thank you very much.

  12. 12
    June 20th, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Omg, I loved this post. It’s absolutely true. I had so many denim skirts – I especially loved those with a sparkly pocket! Lol. I also had the UGGs, and so many more of the things you posted. I also wore plaid bermudas and converse like they were going out of style (cause my school had the shorts/skirt length policy). Oh, the memories :)

  13. 13
    June 20th, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Pullover hoodies aren’t in style anymore?! I still wear mine, oops :/

  14. 14
    June 20th, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    This post is so well-written and funny. Although I graduated a year ago, I still browse CF (mostly out of habit) and this article is the best thing I have ever seen on the site.

    Due to a strict uniform dress-code at my schools, never caring about fashion until college, and being surrounded by other nerds who had no clue what was or wasn’t on trend, I didn’t participate in most of these wardrobe phenomena (exceptions: graphic tees, distressed flared jeans, and the occasional pull-over hoodie). Despite that, I found the nostalgic references (Xanga!!) in this post so relatable, funny, and spot-on. Thanks for making me smile today!

  15. 15
    June 20th, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    I’m slightly worried that I still own and wear quite a few of those things – printed T shirts for my down days, Ugg-esque boots – not proper Uggs, I was too cool and ‘alternative’ for that – denim skirts of varying lengths and a pullover hoodie (that I wear after I’ve been to my outdoor fitness class for something warm).

    My worst thing from my teenage years? At the risk of showing my age, those really baggy skater jeans. I wore those, with some kind of printed T shirt (I know, I know!), big chunky trainers, perfectly straightened hair and a ton of black eyeliner. And occasionally a choker as an accessory. I thought I looked amazing, but oh how wrong I was…

  16. 16
    June 20th, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    A very interesting and nostalgic walk through the not that distant past. Even if the time has passed I still wear my pullover hoody and it is about as comfortable top I have. The article made me run over to my box of old pix to see what I looked like and how much I didn’t care about fashion, although I clearly did.

  17. 17
    June 20th, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    I wasn’t very fashionable until last summer, after my first year of college. Before that, I rocked flare jeans, skinny jeans (exclusively for tucking into my Payless-bought Ugg rip-offs), hoodies, and an attitude that tried to say, “I’m too confident and pretty to wear makeup!” but actually said, “I don’t want to look like all of the popular girls I make fun of by wearing too much makeup.”

    My fake Uggs were worn so much during high school and my first year of college that the sole tore off, and I was unable to wear them all-together. But man, did I get my $10 out of those. I only own one pair of flare jeans now (actually bought in the past year), but I own 5 pairs of skinny jeans, 6 pairs of leggings, about 4 or 5 skirts, and even some shorts. Oh my! My hoodie collection has been banished to the top shelf of my closet, only to be taken out on lazy days or days when I want to make it look fashionable. As for my no-makeup attitude, that one’s long gone. I am proud to say I am far happier with my even skin tone and flattered eyes in my Urban Decay Naked Skin Weightless foundation (after trying a few drug store foundations that didn’t really do much and trying this on at Sephora, I can honestly say I will never buy a different foundation again), Urban Decay Naked Pallete (with a go-to of Toasted on the lid and Hustle in the crease), and benefit BADgal waterproof mascara, along with a couple of drugstore companions such as blush and concealer. Boy, how times have changed!

  18. 18
    June 20th, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    Still have a denim skirt, uggs (which I wear sparingly and have lasted me 4 years), and flared jeans (but darker ones)! Definitely remember the days of those graphic tees and hoop earrings, both of which I was wearing in my 9th grade yearbook picture with skinny jeans and those really fat skater shoes. LOL

  19. 19
    June 20th, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Wow, with the exception of the UGG boots (thankfully I NEVER liked those), I owned (and may still own…) all of these things! haha these definitely brought back memories!

  20. 20
    June 20th, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    what?! someone please tell me that juicy sweatsuits are still in in college… I wanna buy some but idk now!

  21. 21
    June 20th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Haha, wonderful post! I didn’t really follow the trends during my middle- and high-school years, (OK, so I wore knock-off Uggs) but I definitely remember seeing these around.

  22. 22
    June 20th, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    this post made me laugh, so hard. Birkenstocks definitely and chokers!! Like Monica said earlier, what WERE we thinking… my oh my(: thanks for the post!

  23. 23
    June 20th, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    this is hilarious!! i’m still holding on my juicy velour tracksuits just in case they ever come back! (i doubt it but a girl can dream). i owned a million graphic tshirts and wore them with baggy black capri pants and converse and thought it was the coolest thing.. oh memories! thanks for a great post

  24. 24
    June 20th, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    My mom bought me two pairs of authentic Birkenstock clogs my freshman year of high school. I still have them as a college senior. It’s pretty hard to kill them. I was never one for distressed jeans or graphic T’s, but my Birks will have to be slid off my cold, dead feet. They’re comfy as hell, and nothing feels better after trotting around in heels all day than slipping on that supportive cork footbed.

  25. 25
    June 20th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard reading a CF article! And yes, let’s bring back the giant hoop earrings that your PE teacher would make you take off before class so you wouldn’t accidentally get your ear lobe ripped apart!

    Being a short one (or as the graphic tee would call it, “fun-sized”), I rocked those platform flip flops with my denim minis and distressed flare jeans all the time. I had fake Uggs for swim practice but steadfastly refused to wear them otherwise.

    Funny, I grew up in Orange County, but I’ve yet to see a single episode of The O.C. or Laguna Beach! I do wonder if the Birkenstocks and North Face fanny packs were an East Coast thing, since I don’t recall ever seeing either brand worn until I moved to Boston for college.

  26. 26
    June 20th, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    The shirts from limited too that were one size fits all. They faded from a light color to dark. When you took the shirt off, it was tiny.

    Loved my classic Adidas tennis shoes. You were so cool if you had metalic pink stripes

    Loved my denim skirt- especially if it was jamba juice day

    Glitter eyeshadow from charlotte russe.

    5/15 thongs at Charlotte russe

    Velour tank tops. Often had sparkles at top or bottom.

    Wind suits from Abercrombie.


    Panty hose chocker

    Some still wore white eyeliner… Won’t say who.

  27. 27
    June 20th, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Good God. I think I still have two or three velour tracksuits tucked away in the back of my closet that I can’t bear to throw out. What if I need them for er.. Halloween costumes?

  28. 28
    June 20th, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Ok I understand the Ugg boots (never ok in my eyes ever!), fanny pack, velour sweatsuits, ripped denim and skirts, but graphic tees and hoodies will never die. Yeah, Iowa gets made fun of for being 5 years behind everyone else (not true). I just broke down and bought my first pair of skinnies (vera wang). Iowans enjoy “old school”- flying confederate flags, wearing ripped flannels with a bad farmer’s burn…maybe the older generation. But jeans, tees, and hoodies are essential in Iowa weather. Fanny packs were never ‘in’ btw. my mom wore them on vacation and i nearly barfed every time.

  29. 29
    June 20th, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    More of an elementary school thing, but I just remembered those pants that zipped off so they could be short shorts, bermudas, capris or full length pants. I begged my mom for a pair from Limited Too for ages!

  30. 30
    June 20th, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Um, I still wear a pair of large gold hoop earrings. I didn’t know that wasn’t in anymore…Maybe it’s a city thing?

  31. 31
    June 20th, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Best article ever!! I love articles like these, they’re great. I definitely rocked chokers and raccoon eyes (I’m canadia, blame Avril) and the denim minis. Dorina jeans anyone?! (–shame–)

  32. 32
    June 20th, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Fanny packs were never a thing at my school, but the rest is dead on!
    The last time I wore a denim skirt was in 8th grade. I always cringe now when I see people wearing them.

  33. 33
    June 20th, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Flared jeans! I really miss those but I just don’t seem to pull them off like I did. But just a few weeks ago I decided there was no good reason to do not wear silver hoop earrings anymore and I wear them regularly now. Apparently I can still pull those off :)

  34. 34
    June 20th, 2013 at 6:09 pm

    Well… I still wear flared (more like bootcut) jeans, uggs, birkenstock clogs, and hoodies… my bad apparently haha.

  35. 35
    June 20th, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Maybe it’s just because we went to the same schools, but you just detailed my life from about 2002-2007 or 2008. I would add post- north face fanny pack, the obligatory TINY (by today’s standards) coach purses, then the GIANT metallic cross body from gadzook’s or wet seal. And while it isn’t strictly clothing, I don’t think I went to school a single day in those years without my hair pin-straight. Thanks, chi!

  36. 36
    June 20th, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    My roommate still wears the distressed jeans and the birkenstocks- I’ve tried to talk her out of it, but I think I’ll just link her to this post and hope for the best.

    What showchoir were you in?? I’m from Fairfield! :)

  37. 37
    June 20th, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    The footwear choices above are bad,but not any worse than the neon socks, athletic sandals,and boot cuts they do now. Even worse- the guys who wear them with calf-high black socks and shorts. How is this ever a good idea tan lines in the summer and soggy socks the other 9 months each year…

  38. 38
    June 20th, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    Small fitted t-shirts and elephant pants. Did anyone here remember wearing elephant pants?

  39. 39
    June 20th, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    I definitely still wear a pair of Birkenstocks, but they’re the sandals and I will never give them up! Otherwise, I was never a big trend-follower. I hated denim skirts, graphic tees, juicy suits, etc. They made me cringe then just as much as now. Although I still have my uggs I bought myself in high school- they are so comfortable, I can’t bear to part with them! Although I hate getting caught wearing them.

  40. 40
    June 21st, 2013 at 12:03 am

    I still love my Birkenstocks, they are freaking comfy and great with my pullover hoodie on lazy days.
    (I type this while wearing a lovely graphic tee)

  41. 41
    June 21st, 2013 at 12:44 am

    I miss flares so much. I have too much hip for skinny jeans and flares seemed to balance out my proportions best.

    And my jean skirt is still my favorite thing to wear in the summer. Not with Uggs! But I rock it with a graphic t and flip flops all the time! And how can something as simple and classic as hoops go out of style?

  42. 42
    June 21st, 2013 at 1:29 am

    I didn’t own any of these things back in high school. I look ridiculous in any form of headband or wrap. I had plain t-shirts from the 3 for 5 store what were meant for males and my mom’s fleece zipped mocked turtleneck things/fleece vests cause she was into the whole mock-turtleneck thing. I basically looked as poor as I was. But you’re dead on about the other things going on with the other kids.

    My ears still aren’t pierced and I’ve never worn makeup. I graduated from uni last week. I lack these memories. >_<

  43. 43
    June 21st, 2013 at 9:56 am

    OMG haha I died reminiscing. My (terrible) highschool photos have WAY too many oversize tshirts with animals printed on them, flared jeans that were too big for me and made my butt look saggy, and CLOGS. My highschool required you to wear sandals with backs so the only thing I ever wore were either sneakers or these clog shoes with a back strap that kept falling under my heel and I always got scolded. I was obsessed with Japan and manga/anime so I followed their fashion before it ever hit the US. So I was rocking boots with leg warmers, mini skirts, and dresses worn over jeans. I also wore only hoop earrings and the puka shell necklace that made my neck look short and my face fat. Way too many roxy tees later, I discovered the dreaded platform flipflop ($1 at walmart) and walked everywhere in them. I didn’t have iridescent make up but my friends all did *ugh*. I wore the cheesiest graphic tees with dragons and chinese letters plastered all over because that was “in” and then senior year I got obsessed with 50s fashion so I wore a lot of circle skirts and cardigans. Yep it was a tumultous experience.

  44. 44
    June 21st, 2013 at 3:26 pm


  45. 45
    June 21st, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Ahahahaha YES. Secretly I miss denim skirts so much, ha. And um I still wear hoodies…although I suppose they’re for lazy days or whatever now, rather than than an actual fashion thing like I thought they were in 9th grade. ;)

  46. 46
    June 22nd, 2013 at 9:42 am

    I have one pair of flare jeans that I will never get rid of. I’m a curvy girl, and they seem to flatter my body. My hair is also buzzed very short, and I like to use hoops and big, dramatic earrings to play with that look.
    Graphic tees, pullover hoodies? They’re not exactly “throwbacks.”

  47. 47
    June 22nd, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    this is literally one of the best articles I have read on this site. VERY FUNNY. I def remember a lot of people in my high school wearing most of this stuff (although my everyday uniform was an aeropostale/american eagle hoodie + flared jeans+ graphic tee) I did always hate uggs and juicy tracksuits. The silver hoop earrings remind me of the scene with Gretchen and Cady in the bathroom where Gretchen is crying and saying that Regina told her that hoops were her thing and that she (Gretchen) wasn’t allowed to wear them anymore. Anyways I totally agree we should bring those back!

  48. 48
    June 23rd, 2013 at 1:30 am

    I remember my friends hated any stores they deemed “preppy” (Hollister, American Eagle, Abercombie and Fitch) so I jumped on that bandwagon. We frequented Hot Topic a lot, and they always bought band tee’s but because of my allowance I couldn’t buy 20$ band tee’s every week.

    I loved graphic tee’s with dinosaurs,rainbows, hearts, cupcakes, bows with skulls or any sort of cutesy design. I also wore flared jeans (which are weird for my body type), and I didn’t like UGG’s. My favorite stores were F21 and Charlotte Russe!

  49. 49
    June 23rd, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    I’m positive that flared jeans will make a comeback, haha. And pullover hoodies are the best for ultimate comfort. (:

  50. 50
    June 25th, 2013 at 12:58 am

    Aaaand then there are those of us who thought that this was fashion hell in high school, and wore dark skinnies with kitten heels…yah. I would rather die than bring back any of this except for graphic tees, which never went away.

  51. 51
    June 25th, 2013 at 7:03 pm

    I miss Birkenstocks! I went to a private high school and all of the girls wore them there because they looked good under our boot-cut Hollister or Abercrombie khakis.

  52. 52
    June 27th, 2013 at 5:56 am

    OMG soo many memories!
    I also thought OC was THE thing^^

    But I think there’s a difference between classic silver hoops like mentioned in the gretchen scene and the ones on the picture – these oversized, plastic bling-bling thingies.

    I looooove my platinum silver hoops, they’re classy, discreet and I wear them to work everyday. If I wore those hoops as shown above, my boss would probably make me take them out..

  53. 53
    June 28th, 2013 at 6:19 am

    I’m currently in high school and the sad thing is, most of the things on this list are still popular at my school.

  54. 54
    June 30th, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Haha I was so uncool in middle school. Cargo capris, three graphic tees, (Pepsi, Mountain Dew, and Ford) gaucho pants (sooo ugly), fabric headbands, velour tracksuit, Sketchers, this weird flipped out bob haircut, granny glasses, braces…at least I had the good sense to dislike Uggs.

    Although where I live at least, certain kinds of graphic tee: hipster (think mustaches and pop culture references), the flowy distressed tank (love my soft blush pink tank with the Amsterdam skyline on it), colored skinny jeans, and Converses are still in style on my campus.

  55. 55
    June 30th, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Are pullover hoodies not “in” anymore? I still see a ton of people wearing them in the winter.

  56. 56
    July 5th, 2013 at 10:19 am

    For graduation, we got personalised pullover hoodies with the names of everyone in the year put on the back. Seriously one of the comfiest things in the world! I would be lost without it!

    And I still LOVE denim skirts

  57. 57
    July 14th, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I’m with ya on the denim skirt!! Those were oh so popular when I was in middle school! Along with the graphic tees and Uggs, everyone “cool” had to have them. However, I still wear my Uggs and am proud of it! But I do agree, anything under 45 degrees is ridiculous… I only wear mine in the winter

  58. 58
    July 24th, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Erm… with the possible exception of the flared legs on the trousers, I still see this stuff everywhere!!

  59. 59
    December 16th, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    I loved this! I laughed so hard! My college and clubbing days to a T!!! I had too many Denim skirts,A&F everything, big hoops, and Velour.original jlo velour!!!! Haha. I would say the only thing missing would be BEBE shirts!

  60. 60
    January 14th, 2014 at 11:33 am

    I remember the Birkenstocks when I was in middle school. I called them potato shoes because they looked like potatoes to me. Everyone I knew wore them with skinny jeans, a tight v neck, and a hoodie.

  61. 61
    July 24th, 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Well – I hate to admit it, but I still actively wear several items on this list… I kind of like the distressed jeans. I am wearing a pear of ugg-like boots as I type this and own a LOT of obnoxious graphic tees….annnd I”m 27. Heh. I”m not sure if that’s cool, or pathetic!

  62. 62
    August 12th, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    I just remember ugly, ugly low rise jeans that had to be pulled up twenty times a day. Glad those things are GONE.

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