The '90s Accessories Every Cool Girl Owned

by Katie Patton

From mood rings to toe rings and knee socks to fuzzy feathered pens, there are few things that bring on the nostalgia feels as much as '90s accessories for cool kids. Whether you were the girliest trendsetter of the group á la Cher Horowitz or you were the queen of grunge and a worshiper of Gwen Stefani, the 10 years before the new Millennium were anything but understated. If nothing else, growing up in the '90s afforded those who identify with the decade a true appreciation for the soothing effects of the mood ring. And I mean, what even is an outfit that isn’t embellished with a choker or some form of body glitter?

The fierce style stars of the '90s knew how to rock on-point kitsch, and while accessories have evolved over the years, few things have rivaled the popularity of the butterfly hair clip, made famous by the aforementioned "it" girls. While we shouldn't turn our noses up at the accessories du jour — statement necklaces and blanket scarves are certainly things to be thankful for — it’s only fair to pay our respects to the accessories that once defined cool girl style. Hey, if we keep talking about them, maybe we can bring 'em back.

1. Single Charm Choker

Velvet Renaissance Choker Necklace, $20,

Cool girls of the '90s would have laughed in the face of today's oversized, jewel-encrusted neck pieces. Whether you were girly or grungy, a choker with a simple charm was the only way to go.

2. Mood Jewelry

Oval Silver Mood Ring, $15.99,

Long before the ladies of 2015 were wearing their hearts on their sleeves through pun-emblazoned messaging tees, '90s babes were showing off their current feels via mood jewelry.

3. Toe Rings

Sterling Silver Toe Ring, $14,

Toe rings were to the '90s what stackable rings are to the current jewelry aficionado. If a girl had fancy feet, she was the freshest.

4. Mini Backpacks

Mini Leather Backpack, $58,

Thanks to the famed Clueless trio, the hippest backpack was the tiniest backpack of the bunch. It didn't matter if you could fit all your books in it. All that mattered was that it was adorably miniature.

5. Body Glitter

Stardust Body Glitter, $6.95,

"Less is more" and "understated" were concepts lost on any '90s "it" girl. Body glitter — the utmost outfit completer for the coolest of cool girls — was the only finishing touch needed to pull a look together. Bonus points if your head to toe sparkle was scented.

6. Butterfly Hair Clips

Kids Pastel Pearlized Butterfly Claw Hair Clips, $3,

Continuing on in the department of "more is more," butterfly clips were basically the Cool Girl Queen Bee crown of middle school and the more you had, the cooler you were. At a certain point, I am pretty sure they didn't serve any actual hair-holding purposes. They were simply status-enhancing '90s hair flair at its finest.

7. So Many Scrunchies

California Select Originals Striped Scrunchie, $7,

A good scrunchie could serve as an on-point hair accessory, a bracelet-replacement, and an oversized T-shirt tie up. From velvet to boldly-colored to patterned, a varied scrunchie collection was a requirement.

8. Slap Bracelets

Smile Face Slap Bracelets, $5.25, orientaltradingcompany

The best jewelry of the decade was all about the no fuss, slap-on-your-wrist-and-go effect. Tradable and stackable, the slap bracelet came in endless iterations and cool girls and their squads had wrists full of them.

9. Smiley Face Jewelry

'90s Smiley Face Soft Grunge Necklace, $15,

In an ironic, Nirvana-esque way, grunge girls of the '90s loved a smiley face accessory. The happy yellow symbol mixed with all black and plaid everything was a staple of the soft grunge trend that defined the decade.

10. Yin Yang Bling

Black and White Enamel Ying Yang Stud Earrings, $3,

The yin yang may be a symbol of contrary forces, but in '90s pop culture, it was also the symbol of fashion realness. And for the coolest among us, breaking the emblem into two pieces and sharing with your bestie was the original #squadgoals.

11. Awesome Anklets

Gorjana "Lucia" Anklet, $50,

Toes weren't the only thing getting that bling treatment. Instead of an arm party, '90s girls were focused on adorning their ankles.

12. Knee-High Socks

ASOS Knee High Socks, $7.50,

The final page out of the Horowitz handbook was all about the knee-high socks. When paired with a plaid skirt and your favorite Dr. Marten's or Mary Jane's, these socks were the jam.

13. Belly Button Rings

14 Gauge CZ Gem Curved Barbell 2 Pack, $14.99,

The belly button ring was a '90s parent's worst nightmare and a '90s "it" girl's most coveted piece of bling.

Could the '90s have been the greatest decade of them all? The accessories sure seem to suggest as much.

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Images: Courtesy Brands