Stylewise NinetiesIt was just a few weeks ago when I heard the first Christmas carols ring through the shopping mall, and approximately the same time when gory lawn decorations and monstrous rubber masks reappeared beside the school supplies. Yes, it’s that busying, dizzying time of the year again! And all this anticipation for the holidays and Halloween has got me thinking of my childhood, when such things were the pinnacle of the year—and perhaps still are.

As some of you may already know, I grew up in the '90s, when times were much simple than they are today. Kids didn’t have cellphones (although some of my pals had beepers) and getting online wasn’t a hop, skip, and a WiFi password away (remember the dog days of dial-up?). Facebook hadn’t been invented yet—instead, we got our social networking fix in mIRC chatrooms (many of which were admittedly dodgy). Man, I miss the ‘90s!

In those days, my chief preoccupation was to accomplish my homework, practice my wretched piano pieces, and catch up on all the TV my friends were watching. Oh, and to memorize the respective new albums of NSYNC and BSB (on cassette tape)—all of which would be up for discussion during recess the next day.

I lived and breathed shows like Ghostwriter, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, All That!, and of course, Clarissa Explains It All (show of hands: who else had a crush on Sam?). The girls on these programs—bedecked in tights, crop tops, and light-up sneakers—served as my role models (fine, imaginary friends). I wanted to be like them, talk like them, and dress like them, especially.

But one of my brothers, who is two years older than me, had moved on to other things. He listened to bands like Garbage, No Doubt, and The Smashing Pumpkins, and he watched grown-up movies with titles that intrigued me. Next to his interests, mine seemed too bright, too sparkly, and way too kiddie to be taken seriously—and as a kid, you always want to be taken seriously.

So I parlayed my way into all this cooler-older-sibling stuff, and that’s how I met my real ‘90s fashion icons. By my tween standards, these were women who knew how to dress, even if it was sometimes in that nonchalant, too-cool-to-care style that ran rampant during our era. I was duly impressed, and in my mind, the bar on fashion was raised.

This time of year always gets me feeling nostalgic—I revisit the best of Freddie Prinze, Jr. and I turn up the volume on the old songs and yes, I see all the weird clothes and it makes me laugh. But a lot of it makes me smile, too—especially when I remember how I got to know fashion way back when.

And that brings us to this week’s column: Meet the five ‘90s fashionistas who essentially got me hooked on this whole fashion thing. I’ve never looked back since—except with fondness.

(Photo of Sarah Michelle Gellar from Cruel Intentions courtesy of Columbia Pictures)

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