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I Tried To Dress Only In '90s Clothes

When butterfly clips flew free.

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'90s fashion is making an aggressive comeback.

Flared jeans, floral dresses, clompy sandals, those Calvin Klein logo sports bras, and god forbid, even bucket hats — it's all in again. In the words of Celine Dion: It's all coming back, coming back to me now.

I decided, hey, if the '90s want to come back so badly, why not bring them all the way back in the most hardcore way possible? I decided to see how many '90s outfits I could re-create from thrift stores and my own wardrobe to recapture the magic.

In the '90s, I, like many teens and tweens at the time, had an unhealthy obsession with the Delia's catalog. When a new one came in the mail, I melted into a puddle of joy. (Being a teen in the Midwest was pretty boring. So, yes, getting a catalog was pretty exciting for me.)

So when I revisited '90s fashion, I tried my best to recreate those Delia's model poses. Seeing myself as a Delia's model, my 14-year-old self would be...hmm, "proud" is not the word. Maybe mildly horrified? But that's OK. She can just deal with it.

Ellie Sunakawa / Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

A. Choker

I tried to get into chokers when I was 13. Especially the hemp chokers, but boy were they itchy.

B. Sunflower Dress

The sunflower times were an intense time for us all. I had a denim hat with a giant fake sunflower on it that I wore everywhere to look cool in second grade.

C. Canvas Sneakers

Just some rip-off Keds.

Ellie Sunakawa / Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

A. Bucket Hat

I can't wear a bucket hat without feeling like the lead singer of the New Radicals. You've got the music in you! The '90s references are coming fast and hot here!

B. Ringer Tee

I remember when having a T-shirt with a contrast border around the neck and armholes was important. Usually they'd have some kind of logo like "Mr. Bubbles" or something. And I get that the ringer tee is originally from the 1960s. 1990s fashion was really a reminder that time is a centipede eating itself.

C. Ball-Chain Bracelet

Ball chains were kind of a Hot Topic goth thing, and yet, there was a period where they were HUGE in the Delia's catalog. They were pushing the ball-chain jewelry hard. The models wore like five at a time.

D. Flared Jeans

I know a lot of people still like flared jeans. I was obsessed with them as a teen. But seeing these photos makes me so glad they went away, at least for a few years.

E. Platform Sandals

I miss wearing shoes that made me somehow trip even when I was just standing still. That sounds like a joke, but I mean it. I miss them.

Ellie Sunakawa / Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

A. Blue Sweater

I just chose this sweater because it looks almost identical to an actual Delia's sweater (pictured below) that I owned.

B. Cargo Shorts

Cargo pants changed us all forever.

C. Clunky Shoes That Weren't Clunky Enough

As a short person, the late '90s were a golden age of just walking on the hems of your pants until it created little ratty fabric tails that just dragged behind you. And that seemed fine for some reason.

Ellie Sunakawa / Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

A. Children's Hair Clips

I remember the day in eighth grade when it occurred to me that looking trendy was as easy as going to the hair accessories section of the drugstore and buying little-girl hair clips. My mom was like, "Why are you doing this?"

B. Tattoo Choker

This year I saw many of my friends wearing these and I was so confused. And then I realized, Ohhhh, this is a trend again somehow.

C. Cardigan

From 1998 to 2008 cardigans felt so important.

D. Long Denim Skirt

I don't think Delia's used the term "maxi skirt" at the time.

E. Crisscross Platform Sandals

I found these sandals at a discount store. I had shoes JUST like these in 1997. Except mine were taller. And shinier.

Ellie Sunakawa / Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

A. More Sunflowers

This was shooting for a Drew Barrymore vibe.

B. Overalls Dress

I wore this outfit to work once and everyone said I looked like Rachel from Friends.

C. Canvas Sneakers

See p. 1.

Ellie Sunakawa / Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

A. Choker

I always feel like I'm not edgy enough to pull off a choker. Twelve-year-old me felt the same way, but did it anyway.

B. Flannel

I was shooting for Rayanne Graff from My So-Called Life with this look.

C. Tank Dress

I feel like this is something an early-'90s minimalist cool girl would wear.

D. Witch Boots

I begged my mom to buy me lace-up boots like this in fourth grade because I thought they would make me look like a pioneer.

Ellie Sunakawa / Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

A. Butterfly Clips

Perhaps the most iconic '90s hair accessory ever. Plastic butterflies (and let's be honest, sometimes dragonflies) took over our lives.

B. Ball Chain Bracelet

Metal ball bearings — dress them up for any occasion!

C. Babydoll Dress

I was trying to channel Baby Spice. This "dress" is actually a nightgown I got at the Salvation Army and wore backwards to try to capture that 1998 school dance feeling.

D. Platform Sandals

I think I genuinely wore shoes like this to a funeral once as a teen.

Ellie Sunakawa / Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

A. Hair Chopsticks

These would always fall out of my hair. I lived in constant fear. In fact, I think I did end up losing one and that was it. I was done with them forever.

B. Tattoo Choker

OK, fine, maybe this plastic choker thing is growing on me.

C. Spaghetti-Strap Tank

In the late '90s, strapless bra technology definitely wasn't where it is today. Spaghetti straps: so cool, and yet, such a confusing bra situation to navigate as a teen.

D. Shiny Skirt

I had a skirt similar to this that I wore to clarinet recitals.

E. Ball Chain Bracelet

See p. 2.

F. Crosscross Platform Sandals

See p. 4.

'90s Forever

I wore heavy glitter eyeshadow for several of these looks. Even after washing my face multiple times, glitter remnants stayed on my face for FIVE DAYS. When I was wearing the glitter and purple-and-blue eyeshadow from look seven, a stranger asked me if I was a professional makeup artist. She was either trolling me or I'm VERY good at smearing glitter on my face.

Posing like a Delia's model was extremely difficult. It's hard to make a weird face look cute. Many times I was asked, "Are you trying to look scary? Did you mean for that to look creepy?" I swear I wasn't. I gained a newfound appreciation for those models. Looking quirky but NOT scary is hard. At least for me.