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Top 10 Trends of the 1990s

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Richard Bush. Ready for a flashback? In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 trends of the 1990s. For our series of the top 10 trends per decade, we’re taking a look at the fashions, films, music and more that was popular in a certain era. These are those famous trends that have come to represent that decade, and that have since been parodied to death. Today, we’re covering those ten years when plaid, grunge and coffee were all the rage: the ‘90s. Special thanks to our users jackhammer, Emily Carlstrom, agonstark, Justin Fox, Jerome Magajes, ClaireX, Tony Ferro and ViolaCello for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Transcript
Script written by Richard Bush.

Top 10 Trends of the 1990s


Ready for a flashback? Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 trends of the 1990s.

For our series of the top 10 trends per decade, we’re taking a look at the fashions, films, music and more that was popular in a certain era. These are those famous trends that have come to represent that decade, and that have since been parodied to death. Today, we’re covering those ten years when plaid, grunge and coffee were all the rage: the ‘90s.

#10: All the Rave

Alongside the pop and grunge music trends of the ‘90s came an explosion in electro, techno and acid house that offered up rapid, pounding beats and a unique culture all its own. Though they’d already been popular in Europe in the 1980s, raves became a fixture of American scene through the ‘90s, starting in California. Often kept secret from police because of the illicit behavior that goes on there, these sometimes-24-hour-long packed parties were full of dancing and drugging, all set to an intense house music soundtrack.

#9: Coffee Culture

Though coffee was by no means a new discovery, the ‘90s saw coffee culture take off – in large part thanks to American sitcoms like “Frasier” and “Friends.” Instead of hanging out in a bar, like most sitcom friends did to that point, these comedies moved their social convos to the coffeehouse. Sitting around in trendy coffee shops, drinking trendy coffees was all the rage; but not only did it become fashionable, it was also an integral part of socializing, leading to the spread of chains like Starbucks.

#8: Teen Television

While the ‘80s were all about the Saturday morning cartoons and children’s programming, the ‘90s saw the rise of teen television. That’s the decade when sitcoms and dramas were developed and aimed directly at teenagers, with characters in their age group taking on problems and issues they’re used to dealing with. Thanks to the popularity of shows like “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Saved by the Bell” and “My So-Called Life,” teen problems were finally seen as a viable focus for television.

#7: Urban Culture

The spread of the Internet pushed multiculturalism further than ever before. While hip-hop music was more a product of the 1970s than the 1990s, it was during the latter decade that urban culture worked its way into the mainstream in terms of music and fashion. Rap music became an industry thanks to massive pop rap hits like MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This.” In response, gangsta rap acts like Snoop Dogg, Tupac and NWA brought a more hardcore edge to the game, becoming a lucrative subgenre in the process.

#6: Boy Bands & Girl Power

Amid the ‘90s’ grunge, punk and hip-hop explosion came an opposing musical style: bubblegum pop. Led by the Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, ‘NSync, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and more, these perky teen pop acts charged onto the scene with choreographed dances, squeaky clean images and formulaic but catchy songs that dominated the end of the decade. Targeted to teens with their looks and lyrics, most of these teen pop acts faded in popularity in the early years of the new millennium thanks to over-saturation of the market.

#5: Must-Have Accessories

Hindsight is 20-20, and it’s easy to judge our past fashion mistakes when we look back on them. But the ‘90s had plenty of nifty fashion accessories to go along with it, from fanny packs and tiny backpack purses, to slap bracelets and plastic tattoo choker necklaces to scrunchies and butterfly clips. And so much glitter! Quirky and ubiquitous, some of these fads were practical and some were merely for looks, but we wouldn’t revisit any of them.

#4: Extreme Sports

You can bet those who wore their rebellious attitudes on their sleeves in the ‘90s were into some kind of extreme sport, be it skateboarding, snowboarding, BMX or rollerblading. The skater-boy persona was fuelled by the pop culture of the period, with TV, movies and music making the carefree surfer-type mentality cool. In addition, the X Games launched in 1995, bringing extreme sports to a wider audience.

#3: In the Toy Box

Teddy Bears were yesterday’s news by the time the ‘90s rolled around. So what was all-the-rage in the last decade of the twentieth century? Beanie babies for one, but the toys only got more complex. If it wasn’t a virtual pet like a Tamagotchi you were after, then you were trying to get your hands on a collection of Pokémon cards or even Pogs. Even the it-toy of Christmas ’96, Tickle-Me-Elmo, was more tech-savvy than most. And although these toys and games were all straightforward, they each formed hardcore followings.

#2: High-Tech Communications

With the popularity and use of cell phones still up and coming, the youth of the ‘90s was communicating through beepers and Internet chat rooms. On the one hand, beepers were a convenient way to nudge someone if you needed to get in touch; on the other, chat rooms were a recreational outlet that allowed you to find communicate with like-minded users across the world, essentially establishing the framework for future social media, like MSN Messenger, MySpace and Facebook.

Before we reveal our number one ‘90s trend, here are a few honorable mentions:
- The “Rachel” haircut
- Overalls
- Heroin Chic

#1: Gravitating Towards Grunge

Nothing symbolized adolescent rebellion and individualism in the ‘90s quite like grunge. Also known as the Seattle sound, this musical style took elements from heavy metal, hardcore punk and alternative rock, and added distorted guitars and angsty lyrics. Offering a dirty and gritty sound, with fashion like flannel shirts and thrift store clothes to go with it, grunge ultimately stepped into the limelight thanks to a little band called Nirvana, though they were helped along by the likes of Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and more.

Do you agree with our list? What is your favorite fad of the ‘90s? For more fascinating top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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