5 worst fashion flubs of the '90s

Relive the biggest style mistakes of the grunge decade

Author: Trent Lorcher, Contributing writer
Published On: Nov 18 2011 12:39:06 AM CST   Updated On: Nov 22 2011 01:24:33 AM CST
Bell Biv DeVoe album cover

As 1989 wound down, the world rejoiced. The decade that brought about the turned-up collar, feathered hair, and pastel pink shirts for men was coming to a close.

If only the world knew that the 1990s would have its own set of horrific fashion trends, the New Year's Eve parties would have ended and Dick Clark would have retired.

Identifying the five worst fashion trends of the '90s is comparable to finding the nakedest person on a nudist beach. A complicated measuring device, therefore, had to be utilized in order to rank the worst of the worst. It involved attaching electrodes to vital organs of individuals who lived through the decade and reveled in its fashions. The measuring instrument recorded the shock and embarrassment each individual felt while being shown photos of him/her donning '90s attire.

Well, not really. But since we think such a fashion litmus test would be more fun than a "House Party" movie marathon or a Bell Biv DeVoe reality show, start up your imagination, zip up your Starter jacket, dig your "Blossom" hat out of the closet and join us ...

Zubaz zebra striped pants

No. 5: Zubaz pants

You remember Zubaz right? These were the pants that appeared to be the result of zebras mating with fashion designers, producing colorfully striped sweat pants with an elastic band.

Although Zubaz pants were actually invented in the 1980s, it wasn't until the early 1990s that this fashion blunder became a big hit with the steroid-using, gym-going, fashion-blind crowd.

In 2008 a group of washed-up football players and weight-lifters were sequestered and forced to watch archived videos of themselves lifting weights while wearing Zubaz pants. Two-thirds of the participants wept.

Zubaz pants are making a comeback, at least that's what the guy selling them on eBay says. Nobody, however, under the age of 35 has been seen wearing them in public in more than seven years. And that's a good thing. Trust us.

Vanilla Ice's hair, on the other hand, is not ...

Vanilla Ice To the Extreme CD cover

No. 4: The Vanilla Ice look

The Vanilla Ice look began with white rapper Vanilla Ice. Unfortunately, it didn't end there.

The look is characterized primarily by the Vanilla hair style. The rapper's look appeared as though the result of several experiments with untold amounts of mousse products, some Vaseline and an egg beater. The look caught on and eventually reached a large portion of the white teenage community.

A hundred former white wannabe rappers (you know, the ones who still own a CD single of Snow's hit "Informer") were sequestered and forced to watch archived videos of themselves draped in Vanilla Ice attire. Most of them laughed, thinking it was Halloween footage. A few found the videos inspiring and relaunched their dormant careers.

Vanilla Ice himself helped eliminate the look forever during a 1999 MTV special in which he used a baseball bat to smash a tape of his hit video "Ice Ice Baby," along with much of the set.

At least he wasn't wearing rolled up jeans while doing so ...

rolled up jeans 1990s fashion

No. 3: Rolled-up pants

Nobody's really sure who started the roll-your-pants-up phenomenon. Some speculate it was a conscious decision made by people with muscular calves. Others claim it originated accidentally when floodwaters consumed St. Louis.

Most people don't care. They're just glad it went away. Really glad.

The rolled-up pants catastrophe engulfed young people of all races. Traces of the catastrophe can be found in music videos, movies, and graduation photo albums. For some it wasn't even enough just to roll up the jeans, they had to -- bear with us here -- pin them up just right too. The horror.

A hundred graduates of the class of 1997 were sequestered and forced to watch archived videos of themselves at a high school dance wearing the aforementioned fashion faux pas. Most dropped their heads in shame. A few uttered lame flood jokes while looking nervous. This fad is now only found when there's rain and clouds.

Of course, it's always cloudy with this next group ...

Kurt Cobain Nirvana MTV Unplugged

No. 2: The Grunge look

Depression, suicide, and messy hair have been popular for centuries. They didn't become a fashion trend, however, until Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden popularized it with depressing music, anger, and really bland clothes.

No single group embraced the flannel shirts, dingy-colored clothes, and unkempt hair more enthusiastically than maladjusted teens. Maladjusted adults still find it cool for that matter.

In fact, a group of 100 adults still living in their parents' basement were sequestered and forced to watch archived videos of themselves in a mosh pit at a Pearl Jam concert. All but seven of them threw something at the TV. The remaining seven wrote a mournful song about the experience.

After earning millions, the bands who made grunge popular were no longer angry and began producing crappy-happy music, all but ending the fashion trend.

Feeling sad? This next fad will pump you up ...

retro Reebok Pumps shoes

No. 1: Reebok Pumps

Dominique Wilkins of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks began wearing Reebok Pumps toward the end of 1989, priming them to become the most popular shoe of the early 1990s.

After Dee Brown won the NBA's slam dunk contest in 1991, the high-priced shoes became a status symbol on inner-city playgrounds and in suburban high schools. Reebok produced a version of its popular shoe for tennis, football, and track.

A group of 100 adults wearing Air Jordans were sequestered and forced to watch archived videos of themselves bent over on a track trying to impress the opposite gender by pumping up their shoe during PE class. Over half the group was slightly turned on. The other half stared at the floor uncomfortably until they eventually untied their shoes and scratched their feet.

Reebok now sells an updated version of the classic shoe. Nobody's buying it.

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